Web

Man sues Google over Street View urination photo, says it has made him a laughing stock

 google-street-view-car-on-the-roadPeeing in public is a risky endeavor at the best of times and should really only be done in extreme circumstances. A man in France recently took it upon himself to pee in his own garden. Don’t ask us why he was peeing in his own garden because we don’t know, but pee in his own garden he did.

However, while he was doing the deed, unbeknown to him, a Google car taking photos for Street View passed by and snapped him in the act. Now what are the chances of that happening?

The next thing he knows, people in his village — a village reportedly so small that everyone knows everyone — are pointing and sniggering at him. And then he finds out why. There’s a photo of him on Street View urinating.

The man has been so distressed by the humiliating consequences of his peeing performance that he has decided to take on the web giant in the courts, suing it for infringement of privacy and for having his photo published without his agreement. He is also asking for the photo to be withdrawn from the site.

Speaking to AFP about the episode, the man’s lawyer, Jean-Noel Bouillaud, said that his client had discovered the existence of the embarrassing photo “after noticing that he had become an object of ridicule.”

He added that the man was on his own property at the time of the incident. What isn’t explained is why the man was peeing in his garden as opposed to using the toilet inside his house, but hey, it’s his garden and he’s free to choose which kind of liquid his flowers and plants get to live off.

According to AFP, the picture in question is “slightly blurred” but clearly shows a person peeing in a garden. The village is apparently in the west-central Maine-et-Loire region of France, though the man’s lawyer requested for the name of it to remain secret in order to spare him further embarrassment.

Google lawyer Christophe Bigot called the lawsuit “implausible.”

Google’s Street View service launched in 2007 and uses nine-lens cameras mounted on cars to map cities and rural areas around the world. It offers stay-at-home adventurers the chance to explore a huge number of locations, explorations which occasionally turn up the unexpected.

The photo-mapping project has occasionally run into problems in some countries on the issue of privacy. Last year, for example, France’s data privacy regulator fined Google $142,000 (€100,000) for unauthorized data collections carried out by Street View cars.

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