French Urinator Sues Google. What Would You Do?
Deborah 2012/03/04 10:30:08
Frenchman takes the search giant to court
over a streetview image of him relieving himself in his
A man is suing Google after its Street View
cameras caught him urinating in his garden in western France. The 50-year-old
villager claims neighbours have recognised him in the online images and have
made him a laughing stock. The unnamed man said he thought he was hidden from
view by his closed gate as he relieved himself in November 2010.
But he was caught in the act by a passing Street View camera, which are mounted
atop cars. His lawyer Jean-Nokl Bouillaud said, "My client was caught in the
privacy of his own home with the gate closed. But he discovered the image while
looking at images of his own house, and then realised other people in the
village had seen the picture too. It's a small village and everyone recognised
him. He has become a laughing stock."
Bouillaud did not explain why the
man had chosen to urinate outside at his home in the village with a population
of 3,000 in the Maine-et-Loire region, in France's Loire Valley. But he added,
"Everyone has the right to a degree of secrecy. In this particular case, some
may say it's more amusing than serious. But if he had been caught kissing a
woman other than his wife, he would have had the same issue."
The man was
demanding that Google remove the photo from the Internet and pay him £8,000 (Rs
6.30 lakh) in damages for invasion of his private life and illegal use of his
image, Bouillaud said.
Google's French lawyer Christophe Bigot asked a
court in the city of Angers to declare the complaint null and void on the
grounds that Google Maps is owned by the company's US headquarters, and not by
Bigot added, "Besides that, Google Street View has a
mechanism in place where people caught on camera can blur out their own image
with a few simple clicks of the mouse."
The court is due to make a ruling
on the case on March 15.
* In 2010, Google streetview captured images of two
dead bodies in Brazil only days after it was launched in the country. One image
showed a body covered by black plastic on a street corner, whereas the second
picture showed a body lying at the edge of a major avenue in Rio de Janeiro as
cars drove past. Both the images were taken down
* Later in November, streetview showed a
photograph of a naked man in his car trunk in Germany'
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