Imagine you’re sitting on your porch, texting a friend, when a car rolls by and someone snaps a photo of you in a low-cut shirt. Creepy, right? Well what if the photo taker was a robot created by one of the largest Internet companies in the world?
That’s what happened to one Montreal woman, so she sued Google, the android creepshotters in question. And earlier this week a Canadian judge ordered the Silicon Valley company to pay Maria Pia Grillo $2000 for the “shock and embarrassment” she suffered after finding her photo on Google Street View in 2009.
Grillo actually sued Google for $45,000, but a Canadian judge rejected her claim that her subsequent depression could be connected to the photo.
The judge agreed that the Street View incident, while causing a shock for Grillo, did not appear to be directly connected to the mental conditions that she claimed. He also wondered why Grillo waited two years to start her legal case.
But the judge also rejected Google’s “public place” defense and said people do not forfeit their privacy rights simply by being in a location others can see them. He ordered the company to pay Grillo $2,250 plus interest and an additional $159 in court costs.
Before you go out looking for a Google Street View car hoping to flash some skin and rake in the Google cash, it should be noted that US privacy laws are unsurprisingly a bit more lax than Canada’s, and you would likely lose a similar case here in America. And this Australian couple pretending have sex in the middle of the desert didn’t get a red cent.