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Cresskill-Closter Daily Voice serves Closter, Cresskill & Demarest

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Big Google is watching you

Photo Credit: Google Maps
Photo Credit: Google Maps

EDITORIAL : Don’t know about you, but I get the creeps when I hear that Google trespassed on a couple’s property to take one of its “Street View” photos, then settled the case by paying $1. Aaron and Christine Boring (yes, the Borings), who live in a suburb outside Pittsburgh, said they gladly would have settled for an apology but took the symbolic buck instead. Sorry, but my privacy costs a bit more than that.

CLICK THE MAP for a “Street View” of Google Inc. headquarters (courtesy Google Maps)

In an age when Facebook is joining hands with every website and its mother to mine our data, Google is snapping pictures of our homes — something the cops would stop and question you or me for doing. All that’s missing from the street views are enormous arrows and the headline: “That guy you’re looking for? He lives RIGHT HERE!” Why not add the blueprints, for easier access through doors, windows, or the basement?

Might as well get myself a can of red paint and put a big target on the roof.

Google puffed out its chest, saying in a statement that it’s glad the Borings realize that “they are entitled to only $1.” The Borings, in turn, said they “are glad [Google] finally gave up.”

Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor


The Street View — assembled through digital photos cross-referenced with Google’s maps — come in plenty handy if you’re trying to find a friend’s house, or post a neighborhood photo.

The Borings took exception, however, saying that the only way Google could’ve shot their house was by hiking 330 or so yards up a private road marked by a “No Trespassing” sign. So they sued.

Google said similar shots can be found on a county real estate tax website, and that anyone who wants can have the photos removed. Betcha didn’t know that (I didn’t).

The Borings aren’t the only ones trying to stave off an Orwellian future: In England, a group of villagers blocked a Google camera van by forming a human chain.

Germany, meanwhile, become the only country in the world where people can ask to have their residences excluded even before Street View starts snapping away.

The Borings have had a rougher go of it, with judges along the way dismissing their claims of lower property values and shame brought on by showing the world what their house looks like.

I’d have stuck with the simple trespassing claim, which is what the couple ended up having to do, anyway.

For their trouble, they’ve got a lawyer’s bill.

Maybe he’ll take $1.

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