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from the L.A. Times

Google pays Pennsylvania couple $1 in Street View lawsuit

Googs

Google Inc. will pay $1 in damages to a Pennsylvania couple who took the company to court, saying the company's Street View service was an invasion of privacy.

Street View is a feature that lets users pick a point on a map and see a panoramic street-level image of the surroundings. By adjusting the location of the point, a user can take a virtual walk down the street. Google constructs the images from panoramic photos taken by cars it has equipped with cameras.

The Associated Press reported that "U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy Bissoon on Thursday signed off on a consent judgment, a mutually agreed-upon verdict, between the Mountain View, Calif., company and Aaron and Christine Boring, of Franklin Park."

Google issued a statement that said: "We are pleased that this lawsuit has finally ended with plaintiffs' acknowledgment that they are entitled to only $1."

The couple originally sued in April 2008. A judge threw out the case in February 2009, siding with Google, which said "complete privacy does not exist" and argued that photos and building plans of the couple's home were already available to the public on local government websites.

But in March, a U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals panel reinstated the couple's trespassing claim, said their attorney, Gregg Zegarelli.

In a statement, the couple said the suit was never about money.

"This is one sweet dollar of vindication," the statement said. "Google could have just sent us an apology letter in the very beginning, but chose to try to prove they had a legal right to be on our land. We are glad they finally gave up."

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-- W.J. Hennigan

Photo: Screen shot of Google Map's Street View of Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue. Credit: Google Inc.

 
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