boringThe Law Blog had never heard of Google Street Views until we came across this Smoking Gun story about Aaron and Christine Boring. To be honest, we’re a bit unhappy with Google “Street Views” because we can’t seem to find our home using the program. The Borings are unhappy because they can.

The Borings, a Pittsburgh couple, are suing Google for “intentional and/or grossly reckless invasion” of privacy because Google’s “Street View” feature has made their home viewable on the Internet.

According to the suit, filed this week in Allegheny County’s Court of Common Pleas and viewable on the Smoking Gun, the Borings bought their house (complete with two garages and a swimming pool) in 2006 “for a considerable sum of money” ($163,000, reports the Smoking Gun). The Borings note that a “major component of their purchase decision was a desire for privacy,” demonstrated by a sign on their street that reads ‘Private Road.’” But when Pittsburgh was added to the cities covered by Google’s “Street View” feature, the Borings allege, their “private information” became known “to the public at large with the commensurate risks that this entails,” causing them “mental suffering” and diminishing the value of their home. The Borings request $25,000 in damages.

According to the Smoking Gun, the Boring property (pictured) is now even easier to locate via Google Maps because the Borings included their home address on the lawsuit’s first page.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


A Google spokeswoman issued the following statement:

There is no merit to this action. It is unfortunate litigation was chosen to address the concern because we have visible tools, such as a YouTube video, to help people learn about imagery removal and an easy-to-use process to facilitate image removal.

As a matter of policy, imagery for Street View is taken in public streets and what any person can readily capture or see in the public domain. Street View is a popular, engaging feature that allows people to easily find, discover, and plan activities relevant to a location.