Minnesota Town Opts-Out Of Google StreetView; Google Fights Back Against “Private Property” Claim In Another Case

I got a chuckle out of this one. It seems that Google sent their cars that do StreetView photography for Google Maps into a private neighborhood in Minnesota. That neighborhood, North Oaks, demanded that Google remove all the images. As the roads are private, Google potentially trespassed to take the pictures. Google’s complied in this case. In a different one, the company is fighting back in court. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article about the case:

Google spokeswoman Elaine Filadelfo said the images of North Oaks were removed shortly afterward. She didn’t know of any other city in the country that has made a similar request.

"This is very rare where an entire town would request to be taken off," Filadelfo said.

The company receives a limited number of requests from individuals who don’t want their homes displayed on the website. All of these images are removed from public view and would never be sold, Filadelfo said.

For more, see related discussion on Techmeme.

Postscript: Google Seeks Dismissal Of Street View Lawsuit covers a different case that’s in court, where Google has now argued that it has the right to enter private property and take pictures. From the article:

"Plaintiffs have drawn the public eye upon themselves and the view of their home they claim is private," the memorandum states. "Plaintiffs did not seek to file their Complaint under seal, they unnecessarily included their street address in the Complaint, and they did not ask Google to remove the images of their property before they filed suit."

The Borings, the legal memorandum explains, "live in a residential community in the twenty-first century United States, where every step upon private property is not deemed by law to be an actionable trespass."

Because it is customary for people to "drive on our driveways and approach our homes," Google’s attorneys argue, these intrusions and customary and expected. "Thus, unless there is a clear expression such as a gate, fence, or ‘keep out’ sign," anyone can approach without liability for trespass. "Plaintiff’s allegation of a ‘private road’ sign at the top of their street standing alone is insufficient to negate Google’s privileged and trivial entry upon Plaintiff’s property."

While Google’s attorneys may be correct in their assessment of the law, their hard line on privacy contrasts with statements made by Google’s managers.

U.S. Pentagon Bans Google From Military Bases also covers how Google has found itself banned from military bases in the United States.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Street View | Legal: Privacy


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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