back to article The Borings renew Street View fight

Mr and Mrs Boring have renewed their Google Street View tilt. Late last week, lawyers for the now-famous Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania couple asked a federal judge to reconsider his recent decision to dismiss the privacy suit they filed last April after a Google spycar snapped photos of their swimming pool and tossed them onto the …


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  1. Andy Bright
    Thumb Down

    Eminent Domain

    "Whether the trespass is by a foreign king, or the royalty of big business, does not matter. The Borings, such as our American forefathers in millennia past, are entitled to proclaim, 'Google, Don't Tread On Me."

    Obviously they've never heard of eminent domain and how easy it is to abuse this law. Then again not many people in the US have. It's almost funny how surprised Americans get when they find out how easy it is for a city to seize their homes and give them to a property developer.

    Still I think these people would be better off trying to work out which one of their forefathers stupidly forgot to change his surname, rather than wasting their money on a lawsuit that has no merit whatsoever. Obviously they didn't understand the last judge when he pointed out that if they were truly worried about their privacy, all they needed to do was ask Google to remove their home from Streetview.

  2. Andrew Tyler


    Who's their lawyer, James Stewart?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "This Court's ruling makes our private property a Google Slave; our property is no longer our own: it is forced to work for another, against its will, without compensation, for the profit of another. The Federal Court should free slavery, not create it."

    Oooooooo-kay, then... *backs away slowly*

  4. Anonymous Coward

    When it comes to boredom, take a look at

    Nothing more to say, really... except that I wonder who they expect to venture down their boring driveway anyhow... Please go away, Lord and Lady Boring. Nothing to see here... ho hum... getting a bit sleepy now... I'll take my coat and shuffle off.

  5. Moss Icely Spaceport

    If they discovered oil

    Would they start boring at the Boring's?

  6. Elrond Hubbard

    Elrond Hubbard

    If you go on someone else's property, that's not trespassing, even if it's posted. If you are then told to leave and refuse, that's trespassing. Crossing a fenceline or climbing a gate (if they are posted) are also trespassing. But this case does not involve any kind of barrier, and there was no order to leave. If these people can't be bothered to keep Girl Scout cookie sellers off their property, they have no case.

  7. Magani

    Oh Dear...

    Boring by name,

    Boring by nature.

    And where oh where did they get the legal eagle with the perceived penchant for purple prose?

    You, Sir or Madam, aren't fit to wipe Shakespeare's bottom. In the immortal words of our saviour, Monty de la Python, "I fart in your general direction."

    Mine's the one with the "Ye Compleate Workes of Bill Spokeshave" in the pocket.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Elrond Hubbard

    "If these people can't be bothered to keep Girl Scout cookie sellers off their property, they have no case."

    now that is an interesting stance on the cam-car wielding oompa loompas, please carry on

  9. Nick

    Private Road Sign

    So there's a dispute about whether there was a private road sign. surely the easiest way to settle that is to look on the Google streetview images!

  10. Gareth Jones Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    I've often been told that the Merkins don't do irony. This is surely the evidence. A couple who live on a private road and own a swimming pool claiming to be "the little guy".


    Paris, because she likes her privacy as much as the Borings.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Anyone have a link to the offending street? I'd like to see for myself what all the fuss is about!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As much as I would agree with you.. that's just too sensible!!

    It is the Boring's after all!

  13. Anonymous Coward


    Although they probably have came across as simply money grabbing, the actual heart of the argument is important, that of privacy and protection of that privacy and our data. It is a very important issue.

    Effectively we live in a world where, companies it seems can farm your data (including pictures of your property) and in many countries you have to opt out, rather than opt in to this collection.

    it is upto you to be aware that the farming happens, and have a means to opt out in this case via the internet.

    The responsibility should be with the company, not with the public. Too often business does things because it can, without actually thinking about whether it should and what its moral obligations are.

  14. Daniel

    "American forefathers in millenia, past"?

    How many millenia (pleural), does the case suggest, that there have *actually* *been* Americans around, to defy callous and barbaric invaders?

    Or are they including the Native Americans in this one?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Buy a fence...

    Now if the Gcar peeks over the fence they might have a case...

    hmmm how tall are the sauron eye stalks?

    As for Private Road signs its clear that Google streetview ignore signs.. the Google (note comercial entity) car is technically a commercial vehicle going about its company business.. now look at the road signs on Lombard st. San Fran. it very clearly states 'No Commercial Vehicles' yet there are SV images all the way down.

  16. Steve

    Clearly mental

    They remind me of the "Don't look at me" maid off that naff TV show...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "the Google (note comercial entity) car is technically a commercial vehicle "

    theres a big difference between "is technically" and "is"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Elrond Hubbard

    That doesn't sound right. In the UK, if you're on private property whether unknowingly or otherwise, you are committing trespass; if you are then told to leave and don't, you are committing aggravated trespass. I seem to remember the USA being similar.

  19. Steve

    driveway vs road

    Is it a private driveway or a private road? I've seen references to both terms in various articles.

    If it's a private driveway, it is their property and if they're the sort to complain about people turning round in their driveway then they have a point.

    A private road though is not their personal property, it's just a road collectively owned and maintained by the houses on it rather than the council, and while they might object, other houses on that road may have wanted to be included.

    I can't really imagine a Google car driving up someone's driveway to their house, so I always assumed it was a private road. I could probably look it up on Google Earth, but to be honest I'm not that interested in their boring lives...

    And since they could easily have simply asked for the images to be removed but didn't, it's clear (to me) they're seeing this as a get-rich-quick scheme.

  20. Ron Eve


    Well spotted. I always thought Merikans, as in those with surnames like 'Boring', had only been around for about 400 hundred years, somewhat short of a millennium, considerably destitute for 'millennia'.

    Maybe the lawyer is going for a Pulitzer.

  21. Tim Hale


    But didn't they just have to ask Google to remove the images? I confess I haven't looked into the process but I understand that Google will remove specific SV images on request. No law suit, no 'unwanted' publicity.

    Comparing this to slavery, as they have, is insane. It's good to see Reductio ad absurdum is alive and well.

    Regarde Moi! Non regarde moi!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'Google and the Borings disagree on how private the private driveway is. The Borings have said the road is tagged with a sign that reads "Private Road, No Trespassing". But Google says there was no sign and that the road is shared with other neighbors.'

    Did the Borings point out the location of said sign using streetview?

  23. Andy Worth


    But the whole point the judge made is that if they were really interested in their privacy rather than just being a pair of money-grabbers then they could have just reported to Google and asked them to remove/not to publish the images.

    Instead, in an effort to "protect their right to privacy", they have launched a law suit which has projected them directly into the public eye. Nobody would have given a toss about them or their street pictures otherwise.

    The only way they would have a case is if either the G-Car had to "break in" to gain access to their property or if Google refused to remove the image when requested.

  24. Mike

    Girl Scout cookies.....

    Are they made with real Girl Scouts?

    Anyway, they want to make a quick buck by shouting "privacy", a judge said "you're stupid" so now they are saying "it's for the little person", at the end of the day it's all about greed and more stupidity will make them less boring (but still stupid, greedy and hopefully poorer).

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Easy to resolve

    If the driveway was posted with a "no-tresspassing" sign, then shouldn't the sign show up in the streetview pics? If there is no sign visible in the streetview info, then it is a pretty obvious conclusion that there was no sign visible to Google's driver. Which reminds me -- I need to start videotaping a 360 view from my car; it should be quite helpful in resolving potential lawsuits. Especially those related to people that hit me from behind then claim it is my fault. Could also be useful in disputing traffic tickets. Dang, where do I get one of the streetview cars?

    Stop sign 'cause my wife swears she didn't run the stop sign, but got ticketed anyway, and I don't even believe my wife anymore without video evidence!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streisand Effect

    Anybody in The States care to organize a large flash mob to show up on this "private road" with cameras in hand, to demonstrate once and for all that the best strategy for these Boring people would be to simply STFU?

  27. Stevie


    I'm on the Boring's side on this one. This is the functional equivalent of a web-spider that doesn't bother to check the robot file before crawling all over your site.

    Let's leave the robotic slavery to the machine thing to the Japanese, who seem to love the intrusive and abusive.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Steve - Driveway vs. Road

    It's apparently shared with other residents, so it's not a driveway at least in so far as we understand the term here in the UK. However they do speak a different language in the US, but when reading stories from the US we tend to read them as if they were written in English.

    That, however, is not my point. This is:

    Even if there was a sign I wouldn't assume, on seeing it, that it had any standing in law. I don't know exactly how the law works or people operate over there. Over here, however, such signs are quite common and are often misleading. A couple of hundred yards from my house there is a cul de sac that bears a sign reading PRIVATE ROAD NO PUBLIC ACCESS. However a quick check of public records shows the road to have been adopted by the council about thirty years ago. As such it can not be a private road. Some people want to feel they live in private gated communities when they don't. It seems to give them a feeling of power over the great unwashed, but to my mind there is a simple way to deal with these idiots. The local council, royal mail, etc. should simply stop at the sign and refuse to go further. How would they feel if their post was dumped at the end of the street, the bin men wouldn't collect their bins, the council wouldn't repair the road, the water mains became their responsibility from the main road and so on?

    Within a couple of miles of here there are half a dozen similar examples, indeed such signs are so common that unless they are official looking local authority signs I assume them to be illegitimate.

    Were I in Google's shoes I would set my navigation softare up using the definitive map (or whatever the US equivalent happens to be) and then there could be no reasonable argument.

    BTW in English law I thought there had to be a clear boundary for trespass to be deemed to have taken place, even then the intruder must be asked to leave. Otherwise every uninvited caller to knock on my door would be guilty of trespass. The sign "Tresapassers Will Be Prosecuted" does not mean (even in Winnie the Pooh) that by being on the land you are trespassing, it means that if you trespass on the land you will be prosecuted. A subtle but important difference.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Web 2.0

    Has anyone yet set up:

    - A dedicated website - ?

    - A MySpace group?

    - @Twitter?

    - Google earth kmz link?

    Give 'em heck!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pedant alert

    And of course, IIRC, "Tresapassers Will Be Prosecuted" has no legal meaning at all..


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