A Frenchman took Google to court on Thursday over a photo published online by its Street View application showing him urinating in his front yard which he believes has made him the laughing stock of his village in rural northwest France.
The man, who is aged around 50 and lives in a village of some 3,000 people in the Maine-et-Loire region, is demanding the removal of the photo, in which locals have recognised him despite his face being blurred out.
He also wants 10,000 euros in damages.
“Everyone has the right to a degree of secrecy,” his lawyer, Jean-Noel Bouillard, told Reuters. “In this particular case, it’s more amusing than serious. But if he’d been caught kissing a woman other than his wife, he would have had the same issue.”
The man thought he was hidden from view by his closed gate as he relieved himself in November 2010. But Google’s lens caught him from above his gate as it passed by. Bouillard did not explain why the man chose to urinate outside.
What’s wrong with peeing outdoors. I wouldn’t want anyone watching me either, though.
Google’s lawyer in the case, named by local daily Ouest France as Christophe Bigot, was not immediately reachable, but the newspaper said he was pleading that the case should be declared null and void.
The court will get to decide if [and how much] a penalty should be exacted in addition to removal of the image – and I imagine they’ll certainly decide for the latter. Blurring a face doesn’t mean much when the context and remaining details of a photo make it clear to a community who is in the photo.