Welcome to the Network

Pittsburghers may recall a mini-hubbub locally about a local couple (the Borings) who objected to their home being included in the Google "Street View" database -- despite a "Private Road" sign at the foot of their driveway that Google's agents probably disregarded when taking a photo.

Yesterday, the Borings' federal privacy lawsuit against Google was dismissed, with prejudice. What that means is that the Borings can appeal, but they can't revise or update their lawsuit with additional (better?) facts. The court's ruling is here. As I read it, the court's order reflects thoughtful consideration of all of the possible things that Google arguably did wrong. After due consideration, the court rejected all of the claims. If I were asked to sum up what the court wrote, I'd say: No harm, no foul. An appeal is permitted, but success is doubtful.


1 Response to "Welcome to the Network"

Jerry said... 2/18/2009 4:57 PM

"Today's satellite-image technology means that...complete privacy does not exist," Google said

This would make more sense if US DOD satellites beamed images of people's houses directly to other people's computers for no good reason. It's like saying the fact that Social Security numbers exist means you're gonna get your identity stolen.

Pictures of people's private dwellings were not accessible until Google started making them so. For them to now pretend this is just the inexorable march of technology is just plain dumb.

But what do I know, I'm no judge.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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