It may set a precedent many average people will resent. A Pittsburgh, PA, couple who sued Google, claiming that the Street Views street-level photo panoramas now on file for most major cities in North America and a growing number in Europe, recklessly invaded their privacy.


The five-count suit also claimed that Street Views photos reduced the value of their home and caused them mental suffering.

The court disagreed.

However, similar complaints elsewhere in the U.S. have resulted in disputed Street Views images being removed from the Google site.

In one such case, a private ‘gated’ community near St. Paul, Minnesota, complained that the drivers of vans which collected Google street level images disregarded signs declaring their streets private and photographed them anyway. In that case, Google removed the images.

Google, however, maintains it has a right to photograph on ‘private’ streets, arguing that privacy no longer exists, in the age of satellite imagery.

In its official response to the Philadelphia suit, Google stated: “Plaintiffs live in the 21st century United States, where every step upon private property is not deemed by law to be an actionable trespass. … Unless there is a clear expression such as a gate, fence, or ‘keep out’ sign indicating that the public is not permitted to enter, anyone may approach a home by a walkway, driveway, or any other route commonly used by visitors, without liability for trespass.”

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