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October 31, 2014

Oh for Pete's Sake

People like this grate on our last nerve. Idiotic lawsuit of the week:

Google has been ordered to pay a Canadian woman $2,250 (£1,250) for an image on Street View that exposed her cleavage.

The image showed the woman, Maria Pia Grillo, sitting on a step outside her house, leaning forward with her elbows resting on her knees. In the picture she was wearing a low-cut top that left "part of her breast" exposed.

Although her face was blurred out, she was still identifiable – particularly as her car was parked in the driveway without the licence plate number blurred out.

Grillo filed a lawsuit in 2011 asking Google to blur out more of the image, including most of her body and her licence plate.

She also demanded to be paid $45,000 (£25,000) for the depression she had suffered, after her coworkers at "a well-known bank" discovered the image and derided her for it.

Google agreed to blur out the photo when the lawsuit was filed, but refused to pay Grillo compensation on the grounds that she was in a public place when the photo was taken.

The company also said that it was not responsible for any emotional damage Grillo may have suffered.

However, a Quebecois court in Montreal has now ruled that, despite being in public, Grillo’s privacy had been disrespected and that her "modesty and dignity" had been violated.

“In addition to malicious comments and humiliation she suffered at work, the plaintiff, in particular, has experienced a significant loss of personal modesty and dignity, two values that she held and are eminently respectable,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

Before seeing the photo, the Editorial Staff were actually mildly inclined to give this twit the benefit of the doubt, mostly because we assumed (wrongly) that the photo had been taken from the air and thus provided a view down her shirt that would have been extremely unlikely for a reasonable person to suspect anyone else to have. The average woman isn't expecting cameras from space to peer down her shirt or cameras underground to peer up her skirt, and probably shouldn't be expected to live a life constantly on guard against voyeurs with digital cameras.

But nothing was posted that any passerby could not also have seen. So a largely unsympathetic Blog Princess is left wondering why the obvious fact that anyone walking or passing would be able to see down her shirt to her navel (and therefore wound her personal modesty and dignity) did not occur to this person?

We'll grant that there's a difference between exposing yourself to random passersby and having a photo of that exposure posted to the Internet. But we're inclined to think this more an offense against privacy (don't take pictures of me in my own yard and post them on the Internet) than one against "personal modesty or dignity".

Reading the judgment leaves us in some doubt as to the Plaintiff's sincerity (not to mention her literacy):

As appears from the letter filed as Exhibit P-4, Plaintiff was fully aware that she was being photographed by the Google vehicle and, according to Plaintiff's allegations, Plaintiff waited for five (5) months thereafter, before taking any position in respect thereto.

17. Plaintiff alleges in the Application (see paragraph 2) that she used Street View to view her residence "[o]n or around October 9, 2009". This allegation is contradicted by the statement in Exhibit P-4 to the effect that Plaintiff sent the letter filed as Exhibit P-3, to Google, "on or about October 11, 2009". The undated letter files as Exhibit P-3, which was, according to Exhibit P-4, sent on or around October 11, 2009, begins with "Several Weeks ago, I had the unfortunate displeasure of finding that I appear on your Street View "Service" [our underlining].

18. Moreover, and under reserve of Google's position as set out above, it should be noted that nowhere in the letter filed as Exhibit P-3 does Plaintiff refer to any alleged "mockeries, derisions, disreaspectful ans [sic] sexually related comments in relation with the photographs" which are alleged in paagraph 5 (first bullet) of the Application. In addition, nowhere in Exhibit P-3 does [Plaintiff ask that the image of the person in Exhibit P-1 be removed. Indeed, the only request made by Plaintiff in the letter filed as Exhibit P-3 was the removal of license plate information.

Incroyable! We suspect Plaintiff of being both a ditz and a dirtbag opportunist.

Posted by Cassandra at October 31, 2014 05:21 PM

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Wait--she was derided? Well, that's good for substantial damages right there.

Posted by: Texan99 at November 1, 2014 09:15 AM

Where did you view the photo? I don't find links to it, and of course we must not judge in the absence of evidence!

Posted by: MathMom at November 2, 2014 08:26 PM

There's a link to the photo about halfway down the comments in the linked article (there weren't too many comments, so it's not too hard to find).

Posted by: Cassandra at November 3, 2014 07:16 AM

Thank you Cass. It is clear from the photograph that she intended to show her breasts only to those to whom she intended to show her breasts! How dare her breasts be photographed when she is showing them on her front porch!

Is there no privacy?

Is there a way to give this injured soul twice her requested settlement? Like the jury did for that woman who spilled McDonald's coffee on her crotch by holding a Styrofoam cup of hot coffee between her legs while driving?


Posted by: MathMom at November 3, 2014 08:09 AM

So, being largely clueless about these topics I Binged the name and up cam an image. Frankly, I don’t see the fuss. I’ve see more skin in the Sears catalog.

Posted by: Frank Karl at November 3, 2014 08:24 AM

In the hot coffee case the jury awarded the huge settlement, it has been reported, because McDonald's lawyer alienated the jury. Never underestimate the impact the lawyers make on a jury and what they will do.

It may not be "right" but it's real.

Posted by: Frank Karl at November 3, 2014 09:41 AM

It is clear from the photograph that she intended to show her breasts only to those to whom she intended to show her breasts! How dare her breasts be photographed when she is showing them on her front porch!

*snort* :)

Posted by: Cassandra at November 3, 2014 10:16 AM