back to article Mr. and Mrs. Boring lose Google Street View tilt

Mr. and Mrs. Boring have lost their quixotic legal battle against Google's Orwellian attempt to spy on the entire planet. Last April, Aaron and Christine Boring sued the ad broker for invasion of privacy after a Google spycar drove down their private driveway, snapped 360-degree, pan-and-zoomable photos of their home and …


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  1. Martin Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Sanity in the courts ?

    So instead of clicking on the report image button, or even just telling the driver at the time - they thought they might get a few $M for the pain and suffering by suing.

    The judge told them they were a pair of idiots.

  2. John Savard

    Physical Trespass

    It's true that people might back into other people's private driveways to make U-turns safely, but the road from the road to one's garage is not a right-of-way. So although there was indeed a remedy for the alleged invasion of privacy, there does seem to be another area in which questionable conduct is involved.

  3. John

    Hang on a tooting minute

    I only vaguely recall this story but Google trespassed down a private driveway snapped 360 degree photographs of the property with the intention of posting on the internet, and yet Google did nothing wrong ?

    Odd because if you walk out with an SLR you are instantly a paedo or terrorist and thats without trespassing to carry out your nefarious task.

    I need to upgrade my DSLR to a full Google style photo car so the law won't apply to me :]

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streisand effect?

    My teeth on edge?

  5. RW


    More like infamous. And moderately stupid.

    If the interface for reporting "bad" images on Google Streetview is at all like that for reporting errors on Google Maps, they might have a case.

    Google seems not to want to hear about map errors at all. Their instructions refer to functions that do not exist on the website. At least not for us who lack Google accounts and block Google cookies because of privacy concerns. (Yes, I am aware that Google logs use of their systems by IP address.)

    Does Streetview use the same we-don't-hear-you-we-don't-want-to-hear-from-you approach?

    Fuck Google. I've switched to Ixquick for web searches.

  6. Andy

    Could they not have prosecuted for trespass?

    Clearly they were being dicks about this, but equally clearly Google shouldn't be driving onto private property and taking photographs.

  7. Pierre

    I don't salute their ideology

    Said ideology is "let's sue some big company over imaginary damages, make gazillions and become TV-grade 'famous' ". Despisable at best. What's the fine for wasting the taxpayer's money in futile lawsuits?

    Even the complete morons at the RIAA fire cease-and-desist letters before filing preposterous lawsuits, which is positive proof that no brain is needed.

  8. Kenny Swan
    Thumb Down


    Normally I'm on the side of the courts in cases like this and love the idiots getting told to get on their bikes, but I might be flip-flopping here. I don't know the details, but if Google drove onto their private property without permission, photographed that private property without permission and then published it without permission, then that's pretty shitty. I'd be angry as hell too if that happened to me. No one has a right to be on your premises without your permission and they can't do what they like when they're there. Lots of private properties such as Airports and onboard aircraft have rules where they can tell you not to take pictures and it's legal to do so. I don't see how these people lost. Whatever amount they were asking for or whatever their claims were is a technicallity, surely what Google did is trespass and it's bewildering how they can get away with it. I hope this couple gets a better lawyer, downgrades the claim and appeals. And wins.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    If a police car had taken these pictures this site would have been alive with sanctimonious noise. But since it is Google the God of Geeks it is OK? Is the consensus here that Google can use this content to make money but has no responsibility for the content itself??? We have to opt-out of having personal information published after the fact? What kind of sense does that make?

  10. David Barr


    Certainly the couple were being dicks about it. It'd be simpler to just ask google to remove them, and I'm sure they would.

    However does this ruling now mean Google can go wherever they want into private property?

    I'd rather the judge awarded a technical victory to the couple, but made sure not a penny of damages was awarded. That way Google get their knuckles rapped, the couple get made to look like the whining fools they are, and the couple aren't rewarded for being dicks.

    I wonder if the judge would have made the same ruling if the couple had said "We feel so strongly about this that we're willing to lose more of our privacy to stop Google doing this to other people. We are not looking for any damages award".

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hold on

    I don't know about American law, but in the UK, if someone drove up your private driveway and started taking pictures, you're within your rights to ask them to leave - and to go to a court to get them moved if they don't move of their own accord. But that's about it. A right to get the photos destroyed? nah. A right to prevent them being published? I don't think so.

    I'm not a lawyer, and there are all sorts of new spurious rights to privacy, but they are a novelty and not well-explored.

    Why can't people stop being so precious? I'm all for not being stalked, but acting as if the appearance of the outside of your house is a state secret is really rather anal.

  12. Andy Barber
    Thumb Up

    Sanity in US courts

    Is this a case of sanity in the US courts? This was just a case to publicise Mr & Ms Boring's totally stupid surname. I get fed up with my surname but normally just say, Barber, as in lack of hair-cut, ( I haven't cut my hair in 15 years!)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Private drive

    From what I remember of the case when it initially came out, the drive is not a private drive for their use only. A better term is a non-public road as its a road to a private estate of which their house is just one. So yes, they do have a slight point about the trespass angle, but they did not take advantage of that and went for the privacy angle instead - and lost.

  14. sleepy


    Google's entire business is the selling of other people's privacy without permission or payment.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ RW

    Thanks for the tip about ixquick. I'm getting concerned about google too, so I'll try it as an alternative.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Reg in unpredictable Google coverage shocker

    The subhead refers to the "Mountain View Chocolate Factory" and yet there's not ONE mention of Oompa Loompas. There's not even one hundred. What is going on?

    I feel cheated.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative approaches?

    How about instead of suing over some privacy or "psychological damages" you paint the front of your house and make it a little unique (put a small signature on the front perhaps). Then, if they publish pictures you can charge them for a re-distribution license for a copyright work.

    Is it a work of art? Well someone recently produced a blank canvas, so I don't see why not.

    Even if you don't get far it would make an interesting test case regarding posting copyright or even derivative works...

    ...or you could just give up and realise the truth, that there is no privacy.

  18. James Condron

    Hang On

    Aren't they the ones with an utter dump for a house? I mean, mine is no masterpiece but come on, lets be sensible and all admit it- if my house looked like that, I'd have it stricken from the internet.

  19. Martin Huizing
    Paris Hilton

    Anyone... a link to their house on Google Earth?


    Paris, cause she is also public property.

  20. kain preacher

    The issue is

    They didn't make an attempt to contact goggle first.

  21. Mike Powers

    Catch-22 in action

    Their grounds for a lawsuit is that they're neither famous nor notable. As a result of filing the lawsuit, they become famous and/or notable. The act of filing the lawsuit results in the lawsuit being declared invalid...

    Part of the issue is that "removal requests" depend on Google's internal review process--which means, basically, that the decision depends on whatever middle-manager sees the email first.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you...

    ...anti-google fanatics sue everyone who drives by your house and looks out the window, too?

  23. GF
    Thumb Down

    Google Does Not Opt Out

    I tried to opt out from Street View, but their procedure only works AFTER your street and house have been scanned and posted on the Internet. Once the photos are posted on Google, the photos are potentially cached everywhere, so opting out is a smoke screen to allow Google to say that they met their Privacy Policy requirements.

  24. Lars

    ehm.. What?

    "They didn't make an attempt to contact goggle first."

    So if someone steals your car you are suppose to contact them first and ask for its return before contacting the police?

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. Ted Treen

    Backroom Boys

    At least SOME of the blame must go to the Legal Leeches who encouraged this action.......

  27. Sergie Kaponitovicz
    Black Helicopters

    UK Cops on Google Earth

    Given the utterly ridiculous new offence of photographing the Bill, it can only be a matter of time before Google Earth falls foul of the UK Stasi, sorry, Police.

    That should be fun. So, look out for any new piccies dated 16/02/09 containing a plod, and report their terrorist activity. It is every UK citizen's duty.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They never said..

    .. that what google did was right or wrong. They rightly pointed out that if the people wanted privacy , they would have jsut quietly used the report feature, emailed google about it maybe and got the images removed.

    Instead they sued so the whle world knew what happened, and counteracted the idea of privacy.

    No matter what google are doing here, the people who sued are the ones being idiots :P

    P.S. if its a private road all the car needed was for one person on the estate to let them in, if one person said its ok, its not trespas.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "reduced the value of their home"

    Judging by the pictures the sheer sh!tness of the building does that alone!!

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