Tort Law

Privacy-Loving Couple Allowed to Pursue Only Trespass Count Against Google Maps

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A Pittsburgh couple who sued Google Maps over its “Street View” feature can’t pursue their claims for invasion of privacy, but they can sue for trespass.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) in a suit by Aaron and Christine Boring, who said Google Maps disregarded their privacy interest when it published a photo of their home and swimming pool, the Legal Intelligencer reports. The Borings claim a Google vehicle pulled into their driveway to take the photos, despite a “private road, no trespassing” sign.

A federal judge had dismissed the suit. The 3rd Circuit affirmed dismissal of the privacy counts, holding that no person of ordinary sensibilities would have been offended by the photo. “Significantly, the Borings do not allege that they themselves were viewed inside their home,” the nonprecedential opinion said.

However the appeals court allowed the trespass claim. “Here, the Borings have alleged that Google entered upon their property without permission. If proven, that is a trespass, pure and simple,” the opinion said.

Street View enables Web users to see ground-level views of houses, streetscapes and neighborhoods.

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