• Apr 7th 2008 at 12:58PM
  • 36
Google Street View is a cool Google Maps feature, but it would appear that one of the Street View driver/camera operators in the Pittsburgh, PA area needs to exercise a little more common sense when recording the lay of the land. The same might be said for some of the admins who actually publish the Street View imagery to the Google web farm mothership. The Smoking Gun references Aaron and Christine Boring's lawsuit filed against Google for invading their privacy via a Street View image of their home (Google calls the litigation "unfortunate" and says it has "no merit"). The search giant has since yanked the offending photo, but TSG points out that a neighboring home also got the Extremely Up Close And Personal Treatment courtesy of one of the camera-equipped Chevy Cobalts.

Google Street View gets a little too personalThe latter property belongs to the McKee family. Theirs is the only home on Goldenbrook Lane, a gravel path that becomes a paved driveway marking where the McKee's private property begins. As you can see from the top photo, the transition is plainly obvious. The Street View car drove down the driveway, right to the family's garage, shooting all the way. As a result, anyone surfing Google Maps could take a virtual walk from the nearest cross-street, down the driveway, and up to the McKee's kids' trampoline. That's not cool, and for her part, Mrs. McKee described the idea of someone filming their home in this manner as being "a little creepy." Gee, ya think? Even if the photos were taken as a result of a driver misunderstanding (perhaps he didn't know he'd be dead-ended in a private residence's driveway), the intrusive images never should have been published. Who's vetting this stuff?

The Smoking Gun has a full step-by-step gallery posted here.

[Source: The Smoking Gun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't see the big deal. It's not like it's live video, it's just images. I dunno... I wouldn't complain about it but obviously some people feel that they should. To each his own I guess...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not sure why somone thought this was a good Idea. Most certainly one that we could live without.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A person's home is their private property! It's not private if there's a map of it on the net. It allows less-than-moral people to plot immoral, illegal and absurd acts remotely via wi-fi or anything. All you need is someone that's a serial ____(anything) to need an opportunity and this is certainly something that presents itself as an opportunity!

      Imagine plotting a break-in, abduction, assault, robbery or anything else from the comfort of your stolen internet connection / wi-fi and laptop so you didn't need to leave a trace for recon work! Imagine?

        • 7 Years Ago
        Privacy? Where have you been? Privacy in America is disappearing thanks to good ol' government action.
        • 7 Years Ago

        The fact still remains that ANYONE, including Osama bin Laden or Kim Jong Ill, can photograph your property SO LONG AS THEY'RE DOING IT FROM PUBLIC LAND/PROPERTY! It remains completely legal, regardless of your privacy scares. That's also one of the reasons why you are not allowed to have sex in your house if the blinds/curtains are open and it's visible from the street/sidewalk.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You must have never visited a county website before. They usually all have extensive search-able property records. Where I live they show your name, address, amount paid for the house, property taxes and a picture.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Pardon me! I thought someone's property was their own!
        I also thought since google profits from it, the owner would like to get a cut of the mapping of their driveway!

        Oh and I also though that people had privacy ON THEIR PROPERTY!

        Hey, since it's harmless, everyone that said that there is no privacy, it's stupid to blur your plate and their's no risk involved by having an exterior map of your house available. Do this! Post your plate, a picture of every side of your house, your political views, your prejudices, your social security number and your drivers license number. Don't forget your mother's maiden name!

        Or you could just shut the hell up and speak of what you know! Does everyone opposing still think blurting out your social in public is smart? How about credit card fraud with your name on it! Hmmm! Come on. Post your info! Let's see if ANYONE on the entire internet would find a reason they'd like to take advantage of the resources you gave them!

        Have balls! Do it!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thanks Space....

        Fernando! The debate here isn't about a "street view" it's about someone pulling into your driveway! And I don't have privacy scares of my own! I do however care about Goliath, Free World Governments and anyone stepping on anyone!

        The majority of this country is conforming! It's dangerous! I wish I had a dollar for every person that's willing to give up their freedoms, privacy and rights. Remember this! A horrible crime can start with a caress of the leg. The driveway photos being the leg. How much do you want to let slide before you stand up for yourself.

        That's the point! Otherwise I apologize for my lashing out and name calling to everyone. That wasn't right of me! I just get passionate about freedom and people getting taken advantage of!

        So I guess we must "Agree to disagree".
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mr. Oak,

        Anything that can be viewed from public property (i.e. any street or sidewalk) can be photographed legally, with the exception of a few government installations. That means that if these pictures were taken from a public road then they are 100% legit. The problem arises if the public road ended and a private one began. From the way it's displayed in the map, it looks like Google thought the whole road was public. If it isn't then they made a mistake, but it's easy to see how they could've thought they were following the law (there are no signs stating "private property" or where the boundary lies).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Randy, I agree with you completely. You people can take your public access garbage and hang yourself with it. I already want nothing to do with people thinking they have the right to just walk all over me and my property, like they have a stake in it, much less with what you freaks are saying. Challenge me in real life with crap like that, I'll give you hell, and you'll regret it! Not being paranoid, but we'd all better lock our crap up and fight for as much privacy as we can get, before we let the gov. and others take it all away and one morning we wake up in V for vendetta. By the way, would it be ok for me to come to any of your houses with a video camera and practically walk of to your front door taping and snapping up everything, then posting it all on one of the most popular sites/programs on the net? No? Why not, I mean it's perfectly legal. You didn't have a private property sign up! I could see it from the road! Let me tell you something, any of you guys, or girls (I gotta be politically correct) come to my house doing that and I'm replacing one of your eyeballs with a rock. If you're gonna give away your privacy then leave me out of it, otherwise I'll hurt you in defense! You gonna go down, go down by yourselves and don't speak for me! EAT ME!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wow, I have no idea what you're going on about here. You seriously think you're more susceptible to a break-in or assault because there's a picture of your house on the Internet? Newsflash: There's a picture of most places on the Internet. Maps too. Big whoop.
        • 7 Years Ago
        This is cool, I actually found my house too. The Father-in-laws car is parked out front and everything. Can I sue for $25,000? I could sure use the cash.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You are insane. You're like those people who put their car on eBay and blur out the license plate. RIGHT. It's okay for MILLIONS of people to see your license plate on the road but god forbid they see it on the internet!
        • 7 Years Ago
        You're right, thanks to Gerenalismo George and his band of 40 thieves.

        You can change that come November '08 though.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Slip slidin' away
      We're working our jobs
      Collect our pay
      Believe we're gliding down the highway
      When in fact we're slip slidin' away
      • 7 Years Ago
      "man this is so wrong what google did, i hope they win their lawsuit..........now heres the offending pictures accompanied with building schematics after the break :D"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well, its only a temporary inconvenience, until they move to that much nicer, more secluded home that Google is about to buy them.
        • 7 Years Ago
        And rightfully should!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Historically public domain laws have not taken into account the far-reaching nature of the internet. There is certainly need for updates here. People who dont like this technology should certainly do what they can to squelch it.

      Sure, if it's in public, it's fair game and you can use it. But there is quite a difference here, as it is quite normal for neighbors to see each others property, it is anything but normal to be able to access information in this manner from people no where near you. It opens the door to situations like this that should never be an issue. This is an irresponsible use of technology and resources. The best uses are dubious at best. Other services like StreetView have existed before and have all closed shop or been shut down. People know the difference here, this type of indexing is too far... We can do it, but should we? Morally and Ethically, there is little good use for this service.

      I don't think i would have as much an issue with it, if Google was doing something responsible like doing a village-view for Iraq or Afghanistan. Come on Google, put your village-view to use to find Osama.

      We really need to strive to protect some things, and work on giving value to this world, rather than fleecing ourselves and country.

      While not the devil, they have certainly gone far, far away from their original mantra of "do no evil".
      Chalk this up with the ones where Google helped to put to death and imprison people promoting democracy and human rights in countries China. All for a buck. What losers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So how many of the screaming crowds know that there is an easy way to contact Google and ask them to remove the pictures? This family SUED Google before they even asked to remove the pictures, which means that they were more interested in getting money than having pictures removed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm going to drive over there and jump of their trampoline.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I was just thinking that. It isn't too far from me.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The whole article, the notion of confused driver going into someone's yard in his ridiculous Cobalt full with that weird camera and then maneuvering there while still taking confused shots made me laugh really hard :D

        Granted, I've seen a lot of street shots taken in "what the heck were they doing there?" spots... There's one in a small town below the Alaska (Juneau), there are plenty of shots taken in back alleys, in forest roads in the middle of nowhere miles away from civilization...

        I love Google Street View with all its occasional hilarity. One of the best inventions since the sliced bread.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "I'm going to drive over there and jump of their trampoline."

      • 7 Years Ago
      So, my home is close to the street and clearly recognizable on the Google Streets view. If you know cars, you can tell what kind of car I drive because it was in the driveway when they drove by with the cameras.

      I realize that the concern here is that they drove down a private drive (ostensibly by mistake) and took a picture in their private little fiefdom, it just seems to be much ado about nothing. They didn't take pictures of people in compromising positions or expose anyone's bank account numbers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Allow me to make my comment again, my previous ones were deleted.

      Might I point out that Google has NOT gotten rid of any of these images. Your post contains information that is incorrect.


      Please fix this, Autoblog AND Google. Remove the images. No need to delete my comments, assholes.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Try reading it all again. Slowly.

        The Boring family sued Google and had their photo removed.

        The McKee family is not the Boring family, hence:

        "but TSG points out that a neighboring home also got the Extremely Up Close And Personal Treatment"

        Note use of the word, "also."

        Don't worry about commenting anymore, we'll save you the trouble.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd say that it is partially Google's fault for publishing the image and partially the town's fault for not clearly making a distinction between public and private property. But really, why is this such a huge deal? Of course, the family couldn't even ask Google to take it down before they go along suing them. And Google should've looked twice at the picture. But really, the main problem here is that techonolgy like this exists at all. What the hell is the use for such a thing? I mean, honestly, I think we could all do without 'Google Street.'
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