Winning the right to privacy in your own public front yard

Several years ago when the crazy Google car with a camera mounted to its roof made its way through Canada, it had people divided: what a cool idea that we can type in an address and see what the place looks like; or, it was seen as an invasion of privacy.

A Montreal woman has won a legal battle with Google citing its “flagrant abuse of her right to a private life, the protection of her image and her dignity.”

Let’s rewind. How did it get to that point?

Google addressed privacy concerns by saying faces and licence plates would be blurred so that identities couldn’t be revealed. Unfortunately for the Montreal woman, her face was blurred but her bosom popping out of her tank top apparently caused her humiliation.

The woman was sitting on her front step when the Google Street View car went by and snapped images of the area. It happened five years ago and in 2011 is when she launched the lawsuit suggesting she was subjected to humiliation amongst her colleagues.

The woman was seeking $7,000 but was awarded a little more than $2,200. The court ruled (somewhat) in her favour saying that simply blurring someone’s face doesn’t make them unrecognizable when it comes to identifying a property they are on.

I guess the real argument is, how is this any different than someone driving down the street and snapping a picture of someone and posting it online? Google’s car was on public property and taking pics of landmarks — mountainous or not — that anybody going down a street could encounter or see. When contacted by the woman, Google reportedly did blur her home and car — and her face was already blurred.

The next question is, if she was embarrassed by her boobies hanging out, why wasn’t she a little more careful with her outfit that day? It’s one thing to dress how you want IN your own home but when you are on your property AND in public view, that’s when it becomes tricky.

Nevertheless, Google didn’t trespass or capture an image the woman’s neighbour’s couldn’t have complained about themselves… I mean, witnessed. I hope the four-year battle was worth the two grand.

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