Entire Minnesota Town Removed From Google Street View

from the don't-trespass-me,-bro dept

Apparently a small "privately-owned" Minnesota town, called North Oaks, that includes "no trespassing" signs on all streets entering the community, wasn't particularly happy when it found out that Google's Street View vehicles made a trip through the town. After discovering (gasp!) images of houses in the town on Google Maps, the town demanded that Google take down the images -- which Google did. There's no real controversy here, since the town (correctly) asked Google to remove the images rather than rush to sue, but the whole thing still seems bizarre. What really is the big deal about Google Street View having photos online? It's difficult to see how this is any sort of privacy violation, but it does seem these days people go out of their way to think that they can control things that really shouldn't be controlled. Legally, the town may be on solid ground, since the community is on private land -- but it's difficult to see why they would object so strenuously to this offering.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Michael, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:36am

    Still on Microsoft Live

    Looks like the town is still in Microsoft Live Maps (including the "bird's eye" view which zooms in even closer)...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Ben Ursa, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:44am

    Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    Why they want this degree of privacy is not the issue. They have a right to privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Rajio, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:47am

    priorities

    I'm more amazed that Google Street View doccuments some small minnesota town while still not looking at many other larger urban centers. (namely Toronto!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Rajio, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:48am

    language

    also lol @ "the town may be on solid ground, since the community is on private land"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:52am

    North oaks isn't so much a town, its a private subdivision with a golf course/country club. A few of the doctor's I do work for live there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:54am

    There ain't no such town if it ain't on Google

    As far as I'm concerned if the town isn't on Google it doesn't exist. This town is a fraud. Obviously it is a real estate scam. :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Steve Jones, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:54am

    I would think that the act of incorporating would make it public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:55am

    Public View, No Right to Privacy

    If you can view a "private" site from a public place - an "expectation of privacy" does not exist. Consequently you have NO right to privacy. If you want privacy, time to invest in camouflage netting.

    In this situation, to bad Google is trying to be a good neighbor.

    Barbara Streisand's House

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Mike C., Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Different take - criminal activity?

    I have been seeing this story in a number of places and the one thing that really stuck out was that the town actively enforces the "No Trespassing" statutes on the books for that area. Since the street view images require trespass, this becomes a potential criminal act, not a privacy issue. I think the request to remove the images was a much better approach than attempting to issue citations for trespass for each image taken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Thom, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:01am

    @Ben Ursa

    "Why they want this degree of privacy is not the issue. They have a right to privacy."

    Not so quick there. Their right to privacy doesn't necessarily trump our right to know or Google's.

    The entire town's roads are privately owned? Really and truly? Built and maintained and policed with NO state or federal funds?

    Are they wanting privacy for privacy sake or to cover up illegal or illicit activity? There's no reason to suspect the latter, but maybe this is a mob or gypsy haven... I see a lot of NICE houses there? Let's get real, their right to privacy ends where their actions encroach on our rights, liberties, pocketbooks, resources, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:03am

    Re: Still on Microsoft Live

    I don't use M$'s Live Maps so I gotta know, is this the same as "Street View" or is it just another satellite-based image? There's a big difference between getting a picture taken of the top of your house and a picture taken from your front yard.

    Now, onto the original subject. I can understand why they might not want pictures taken of their town and there are many reasons for it BUT the only reason they need is the fact that they were trespassing on private property. Avoiding saying anything else about the situation also avoids getting caught in the Streisand Effect any more than they have to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    The problem with your assertion is that they had "no trespassing" signs up and the images were taken on *private* property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:10am

    Yes, the point is privacy...

    If you do not guard and protect your privacy then you give up your right and freedom to privacy.

    If privacy were not an issue, then there would be no "Anonymous Coward".
    This is not a "Streisand" point. She complained about someone taking pictures from a public place. These are pictures taken on private property, the pictures prove trespassing. Defend your freedoms or loose your freedom.

    What I do or don't do on my property is not your business.
    You do NOT have the freedom to invade my body, my home, my property or my country.

    These protections are freedom.
    Google was right in taking the pictures down.
    The town was right in requesting the take-down.
    I would do the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:13am

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    Yes, the ENTIRE town is privately owned. Every square inch. It's not such a wild concept as you think. In this small city I live in we have several private streets that the residents have to pay for the road repairs, etc. which don't really occur since there hasn't been enough traffic on them over the course of 30 years to require so much as a pothole to be filled in.

    Since they're entirely private, you have no "rights, liberties, pocketbooks, resources, etc." to be encroached upon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Steve Jones, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:22am

    After a little searching, these sob's want their cake and to eat it to. They claim tax money by incorporating to get public money for roads/etc yet then claim to be private property. Our founding fathers saw that this was one of the problems with democracy, and put safeguards in place to limit these abuses. Unfortunately lawyers and activists judges have used our court systems against our own country to take freedom form the masses to supply extra "freedoms" to the minorities, be they rich, black, gay, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    chad, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Re: priorities

    North Oaks is in the suburbs of St. Paul (capital of Minnesota). Part of the metro area, so it's not just some random poo-dunk town. It's where the exceptional rich live.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:26am

    Re: Yes, the point is privacy...

    I'd have to agree here. It was a marked, private town. Google should not have entered. I don't think I would have complained if I lived there, but I have pushed my right to privacy just to push the right.

    Now, any pictures taken of the property from public ground is free game, as long as the picture is not directly taken of anything in the house. This is how paparazzi get away with as much as they do.

    At least they didn't sue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:29am

    Re:

    If this is true I retract the first part of my last post. Specifically the first three sentences.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Super_Tee, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:33am

    I don't get it!

    How can you have a private town? Is this some weird american thing to keep the undesirables at bay. If it's a private town, why is it on any map? Surely with it being private they don't want any visitors, other than the aliens that have been messing with their various orifices, so there's no need for it to be on a map. Maybe if they of the map and we were to forget about them for long enough they'd evolve to have golf clubs for arms and some overblown sense of religion. They're probably half way there already!

    Funny americans!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:35am

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    your right to know does not exist, the government's right to know is limited.

    Or are you sacrificing your privacy for my right to know?

    Do I have the right to walk into your home and take pictures?

    I would expect your response is no. maybe your harboring illegal immigrants in your closet. I think your right to privacy is encroaching my right to know

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Super_Tee, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:36am

    Doh!!

    Really must remember to not miss out words in my sentences!

    Here's the last bit without any words missing..

    "Maybe if they were left off the map and we were to forget about them for long enough they'd evolve to have golf clubs for arms and some overblown sense of religion. They're probably half way there already!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Luke, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:36am

    Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    You have no "right" to privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    www.custompcmax.com, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:42am

    What are they doing there... breeding a mass race of super monkey zombies to take over the world? We must see what they are up to!!!

    Just kidding. Who really cares what they are doing in their rinky dink little town. I live in MN, and I have never had a reason to go to North Oaks, and I probably never will.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    Are you SURE about them collecting tax money or are you only basing that on the fact that they incorporated?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Mike C., Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:47am

    Re: Still on Microsoft Live

    It's not the satellite/overhead pictures they have a problem with. It's the ground level pictures taken by accessing private property without permission.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Chunky Vomit, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:50am

    Re: Still on Microsoft Live

    Maybe a Microsoft principal lives in this town?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Mike4, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Yes, the point is privacy...

    Thank you, Ajax 4Hire.

    I'm really surprised how many people are leaving comments about wanting to take away this town's privacy. Why is it so important to make such a big deal about the issue? If the town wants their freedom and properly defends it, why is this a problem for some people?

    If you don't like your rights, you are welcome to move somewhere else that doesn't provide as many. This is not really as big a deal as many of you are making it to be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:53am

    A perfect storm: Babs moves there

    In case anyone is interested, the Google Maps view of the town is
    North Oaks, MN Map Here is hoping for a Streisand Effect!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Danny, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Yes, the point is privacy...

    "any pictures taken of the property from public ground is free game"

    The key to the story is that it is not public ground. This is a private town.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Alimas, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    Thats correct, Thom. All the roads and everything are privately maintained. And like any other private property police officers show up in emergencies or when invited.

    Their right to privacy encroaches on nothing of anyone else's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:12am

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    Finally found a copy of the Streisand ruling for future use. It is from the California Coastal Records Project.

    The community may be "private" but the roads may not be. The fact that Google was able to use the roads would imply that public access was available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:12am

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    From the North Oaks Web site.

    ______________

    Welcome to the official website for the City of North Oaks
    Located in the Twin Cities,just northeast of St. Paul,

    Minnesota, North Oaks is a unique suburban community. With a rich history and emphasis on retaining the natural environment, North Oaks celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006.

    Approximately 4500 residents call North Oaks home. Because residents' properties extend to halfway across the road, all residential roads in the City are private and for the use of North Oaks residents and their invited guests.
    _________

    Point is there is NO public areas like in almost all other town.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:14am

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    The streets themselves are private property, so you're trespassing merely by driving on them without invitation. So, unless the pictures are taken from outside the city limits, they absolutely DO have an "expectation of privacy" (though that's not the actual legal standard).

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    John Thomas, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:15am

    Whine Baby losers

    What a bunch of whining crybaby losers. Someone ought to drop a nuke on that stupid little town and be done with it. Losers.

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.Net

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    Exactly. It's their property, and they get to do what they want. As long as it's not illegal, it's not for anybody else to question their desire for privacy.

    When these other commenters go set up their own private communities, they can open it up as much as they want.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Re:

    How so? Incorporation doesn't make something public. An incorporated entity is still a private entity. The public isn't entitled to know anything about it except the officer(s) of the entity, the street address and the city and state.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Hu, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    Sure you do. It's implied in the US Constitution, and explicit in some state constitutions (e.g., California).

    In any case, privacy (or the right to be left alone), is really the only "fundamental" right you can have. What do you think the Bill of Rights is? Basically it's a set of specific examples of how the federal government is not supposed to upset your apple cart.

    And the underlying basis of the private ownership of property is the ability to exclude from its boundaries whoever you want. That's pretty much "privacy" right there.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Shohat, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:22am

    Not everyone want to be public

    I wouldn't dare using my real name online, let alone have so barely decade old Internet company have detailed photos of my house/address.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Michael Armstrong, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Google decided to be nice.

    Trespass has nothing to do with the ability to use/publish the pictures. Google would have been within their right to post them anyway, however they did the right thing and took them down.

    Good for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:28am

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    What "right to know"? You have a right to know what private people do on their private property?

    It sounds like these people actually DO own the streets and maintain them with their own resources. If, this is not the case, then that would be a defense to trespassing claims. However, it appears that the streets themselves ARE private property, too.

    I didn't realize there was a right to snoop.

    If they are paying for everything themselves (and it sounds like they're wealthy enough that this is the case), they have every right to close the gates and tell you to go to hell if you want to poke your nose into their business.

    The mere fact that it is private property is NOT sufficient to support some sort of weird idea that you should look around just in case something illegal is going on. Would you want the cops to show up on your doorstep and say, "sir, we noticed your door is closed and curtains drawn. We need to check out your house to be sure you're not up to anything illegal."?

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Idontreallycare, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:28am

    You missed the point.

    Is it so hard to understand? Their property says 'no trespassing" and Google clearly trespassed.

    That's all there is to it.

    Not that I really care either way, but you need to draw the line somewhere. I find it creepy enough that any stranger who visits Google maps can find pictures of my house including points of entry, an indication of wealth, and objects of interest that someone might want. Yeah, if you drive by my house you can see the same thing. I just find it a little bit frightening that some stalker from anywhere in the world can now analyze my property from the safety of their own home without ever needing to know anything about me.

    Ever watch the show "To Catch a Thief"? This makes their job that much easier, and extends their range of targets to anywhere in the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    funkneeguy, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Re

    "Approximately 4500 residents call North Oaks home. Because residents' properties extend to halfway across the road, all residential roads in the City are private and for the use of North Oaks residents and their invited guests."

    I'm sure google could get "invited" by someone that lives there for a "small fee"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Monarch, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    North Oaks is essentially a gated community. They do have a guard gate on the main road into it. However there is rarely a guard at the gate any longer.
    There are no public roads into North Oaks, all roads are owned by the home owners in the community. It's filled with some of the most expensive homes in the area. Yes the children of the people who live in the private community may go to a public school, but would go to nearby community schools, such as White Bear Lake or Mounds View.
    I live about a 1/4 mile from the main gate to North Oaks, and it's amazing the difference in the homes. Small double bungalows where I live, with an average value of $250k to the exquisite mansions selling for well over a million in North Oaks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Re: Google decided to be nice.

    So, if I jumped the fence, uninvited, into your backyard, then took a bunch of pictures of stuff that could not otherwise be seen from outside your property, I'd have the right to publish them, and I could choose whether or not to be "nice" when you complained?

    It would be BOTH trespass (for entering your property without invitation) AND invasion of privacy (for taking and posting the pictures of your private domain).

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:39am

    The smell of sour grapes is pretty strong here...

    Seems like a lot of people have their noses out of joint because some rich folks want their privacy and are willing to pay to get it.

    Who cares? Leave 'em alone! The rest of us will all go someplace else and have way more fun interacting with the world.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    Telemarketers, advertisers, and other marketing companies have no respect for privacy. With impunity, they buy, sell, and trade your data all the time and intrude on your time and physical space. They even create a significant liability for you by sending solicitations for credit cards and other service, which becomes identity theft if stolen.

    The actions above are tolerated but take a picture (which doesn't intrude) and this becomes a big violation of privacy???????????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    It would make its existence public, but that doesn't equate to a right to enter and snoop around. The deed to my house is a public record, but I can still tell you to get the hell off my property and have it legally enforced.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Rob, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Not so fast

    Technically there is no such thing as a private town. If you are incorporated and receive public funds, then it is a town and can NOT be made private. It doesn't matter what they want, if they incorporated then those streets are public property. Check laws.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    BZ, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:44am

    Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    No such right. Show me where there is a right to Privacy in our government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 8:58am

    Re: Not so fast

    Who said they receive public funds? Sounds like they're paying for everything on their own.

    In any case, I'm not so sure it's a "town" as much as a housing development. It doesn't sound like they have schools, stores, businesses, etc.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    As I mentioned in my post above, the right to privacy is implied (but clearly acknowledged by the courts) in the US Constitution, and is explicitly provided in some state constitutions (like California - I don't know about MN).

    You think you don't have the right to close your curtains or to tell the neighbor's kids to stay off your damn lawn?

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:11am

    Re: You missed the point.

    Yeah, that's an interesting point about the difference between anybody being able to drive by your house if they want, versus actually having pictures of your house published on the web.

    I think it's an important concept that needs to be considered in today's world. Just because I may be willing to deal with a few passersby seeing my in my robe as I pick up my Sunday newspaper from my front lawn doesn't necessarily mean I should expect to have a picture of that scene plastered all over the Internet.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, the point is privacy...

    "The key to the story is that it is not public ground. This is a private town."

    I know, what I was saying is that if they were outside the town limits and took a picture than the town can't do squat. I can take a picture of your house without issue as long as I'm on public property and don't zoom into your window.

    If Steve Jones is correct about the government paying for the streets than it calls into question if the streets are truly privet. If they were truly privet than, yes, Google was in the wrong.

    If they are incorporated, doesn't that make them a corporation? A corporation can't own a city. Walt Disney got in trouble for that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re

    That would take care of one house. You'd still be crossing the private property of every other house along the way.

    I'm sure each homeowner grants an easement to every other homeowner to use the road, however, that doesn't necessarily mean the road is effectively a "public" area in this context.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Mike from PA, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:18am

    I think it should be public knowledge

    I think all property should be public Knowledge. The government has been taking Arial photographs as far back as 1920s. They update them every 3-4 years. Any local or state Agency has the photo graphs available to public.They typically are ran by the countyin which the pictured are taken. Which makes it Public knowledge. A lot of the these government agencies even have them on their website.

    So I think these people should just quit being rich snobs and suck it up. Its not like Google is watching their every move. They are just taking public information and making easier for people to access.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Just Me, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:31am

    # 56

    The key point there is that the pics the county takes are from the air. I'm not sure what the law says in terms of how high above your house you own but it cannot be indefinite (otherwise airports would be charged trespass for every house between departure and destination).
    The argument has already been made that if you take the pics FROM public land that is a different story then FROM private property.

    I have no right to tell my neighbor he can't take pics of his garden simply because my deck is in the background, but I CAN take action against someone walking into nmy backyard and taking pics from there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:32am

    I can see why.

    In this day and age, I want as little information known about me as possible. Doesn't matter who has it or where it comes from, as little as I can have get out is best. Sound paranoid? Jewish people thought it sounded paranoid, too. Just sayin'...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    JasonD, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:36am

    What's it to you?

    The author of this article almost is talking like the neighborhood/town is making a personal attack against him. If it's difficult to understand why the neighborhood did this, then why don't you ask them instead of making assumptions and calling it bizarre? Maybe they have a legitimate reason like an internet stalker that was planning to break into their house (hint hint nudge nudge), maybe they just like their privacy but don't want to have to go move to BFE.

    If the town is private and doesn't show up on google maps, what value are you losing? Maybe you're actually gaining value by it being blocked because you know it's private property. If you know someone in the town I'm sure they would give you directions to their house. If you don't have permission to enter then you'll have to drive around it anyway, the service isn't hindered by it. Go get some tissue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Re: Not so fast

    So you're saying the once private property includes a road, it becomes public property?

    If my neighbor and I pave a road between our homes, it's stoll a private road. If forty-nine neighbors and I purchase a large tract of land, split it up amongst ourselves, and build paths large enough for cars on our private property, it's still our private property, no matter what town it's in, or even if the tract of land is large enough to be a town all it's own. Even though we choose to build roads on our tract of land.

    I see private driveways all the time, esp. to industrial areas. They are private property even though they are in a city that collects taxes. The taxes didnh't build or upkeep the road, and owners of the road that exists on thier private property did.

    It's silly to say that because they have roads that they built themselves, but take tax money for a post office outside of the private area, the private area is no longer private. My city takes taxes for schools, but if my neighbor and I build a road on our property, it is our private road.

    Hello?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    > You have no "right" to privacy.

    The Supreme Court disagrees with you. A constitutional right to privacy was found by the Court in the line of cases starting with Griswold and culminating in Roe v Wade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Ms Minnesota, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:11am

    Gated Community

    North Oaks is a private community. They used to have gates to their streets. They don't have the gates, so Google was able to come in and photograph.

    Since their roads are not public (not funded by public money), they can determine who has access.

    Pretty ritzy community so I guess they don't want unsavory people to "case" their property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    > The actions above are tolerated but take
    > a picture (which doesn't intrude) and this
    > becomes a big violation of privacy?

    Of course it intrudes. The entire town is private property. That means in order to take the pictures, Google and their employees had to physically intrude onto the private property.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:18am

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    > If you can view a "private" site from a
    > public place - an "expectation of privacy"
    > does not exist.

    Many of the homes at issue here can't be viewed from the public side of the property line. In order to take the pictures, someone from Google had to physically cross onto private property.

    You can argue about "expectations of privacy" all you want. It doesn't change the fact that physically entering onto someone else's private land without their permission (and in contravention of posted notice) is called trespassing.

    Google's employees trespassed. They were in the wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    idleline, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Constitutional Right to Privacy

    Debate on whether the U.S. Constitution provides a right to privacy is moot here. The Constitution limits the power of Government and does not apply here. This is two private entities in dispute over trespassing and there is no federal question of privacy involved.

    The 'right' to privacy also only exists if you have a 'reasonable expectation' of privacy. IANAL but there would be some interpretation as to whether or not that exists even on a privately owned road. Courts have often held that arial photographs and photographs from a distance in plain view do not violate privacy laws because there is no 'reasonable expectation' available.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    bz, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Re: Different take - criminal activity?

    I do not have to be on you property to take a picture of it. I could be over head in public space (Airplane...) and take a picture of the area and you property has been recorded with out trespassing. If I never touched you land so how could you cite me from trespassing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    bz, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    I did not know that Google owned geo-spacial technologies?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Grem135, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:22am

    if they want privacy, fine.
    as for private streets that is very common here. builder buys large plot of land, he builds a community of homes, some of the land may be set aside as "common ground" owned by the community and the streets are owned by the community and maintained by them. the residents have to pay fee simular to what condo owners pay though not as much generaly. It seems that most subdivisions here less than 30 years old are done this way regardless of value of property. glad my 50 year old house is on a public street, would hate to pay for snow removal and street maintenance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    nope, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    Yes. Really and truly privately owned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: # 56

    It doesn't appear they had any complaint against the aerial/satellite photos that exist. They were complaining about someone trespassing in order to get close-up (at least from the street - who knows how close that is) pictures of their homes that were apparently not otherwise visible from public areas.

    My backyard is visible on Google Maps, but that doesn't mean it's OK for someone to enter my backyard without my permission to take close-up pictures of my rose bushes.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    sheesh, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, the point is privacy...

    The streets are private in N. Oaks. Your comment about taking pictures from public roads is accurate, but not relevant to this discussion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Different take - criminal activity?

    Well, since the photos in question were not taken from an airplane, but were taken from the street (which is, we are told, private property), your question is sort of irrelevant.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:31am

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    Actually... I live in North Oaks and we are working on a cloaking device to make us completely invisible since camou-netting doesn't obscure radar and infrared signatures which could still invade our privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    > Their right to privacy doesn't necessarily
    > trump our right to know or Google's.

    Neither you nor Google have a right to know what the homes on those streets look like. It's private land.

    > The entire town's roads are privately owned?

    Yes.

    > Really and truly?

    Yes.

    > Built and maintained and policed with NO state
    > or federal funds?

    Yes.

    It's a small community populated by very rich people who pay for all of that themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    > I did not know that Google owned geo-spacial technologies?

    They own regular cameras mounted on vans that drive around taking pictures of streets. These particular vans drove into this small town, which happened to be private property (including the roads) and which was posted "No Trespassing".

    Hence they were trespassing on private property.

    Clear?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    PrivacyLover, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:41am

    Go away

    It's really none of your fucking business WHY they want their privacy. Why don't you piss off and stop being so nosy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    johnny, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:46am

    they got more publicity than if they just...

    decided to let things be... who wants to know anything about them anyhow??!!!.... everyone does now!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Google decided to be nice.

    > So, if I jumped the fence, uninvited, into
    > your backyard, then took a bunch of pictures
    > of stuff that could not otherwise be seen from
    > outside your property, I'd have the right to
    > publish them, and I could choose whether or
    > not to be "nice" when you complained?

    Actually, yes, you could. Of course you'd be liable civilly for damages for the trespassing and privacy torts but the right to publish the pictures is yours, even if they weren't obtained in a kosher manner.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:53am

    Re: Constitutional Right to Privacy

    > The 'right' to privacy also only exists if
    > you have a 'reasonable expectation' of
    > privacy. IANAL but there would be some
    > interpretation as to whether or not that
    > exists even on a privately owned road.

    But as you correctly pointed out, this isn't an issue of privacy so one need not do the "reasonable expectation" analysis. It's an issue of trespass. The property owners clearly have the right to exclude Google's employees from access. Google didn't have permission so Google was trespassing. Privacy isn't even an issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:56am

    I can do anything i want! but... i have no desire to pick up soap in the shower while doing time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 11:18am

    First of all, the "town" is private. It may seem weird to you, but it is what it is. Get over it. This is not as original of a concept as you may think. This really is no different than a gated community, where only those who live there or are invited will have access to legally get past the security checkpoints. This town is simply that on a much larger scale, and without the actual gates in place. The fact of the matter is that these people own the property and have chosen to deny outsiders the right to be there without invitation. Regardless of the reasoning, they have every right to their privacy, and to enforce the no trespassing rule.

    Furthermore, nobody here has any legal or even ethical ground to stand on in trying to force them to open up. Since the entire town is made up of private property, there really is no reason for you to be there unless you live there or have been invited. Any uninvited entry into the area is trespassing, and subject to punishment by the law. By maintaining their right to privacy, they are ensuring that the community doesn't become yet another drug haven or party town or whatever else you can dream up. It's difficult to combat such things when all city streets are public, so it really actually makes sense to have all the roads privately owned and maintained. In fact, I'm willing to bet that problems with the roads get fixed much quicker than similar problems in public cities. And as it has been said, they followed the appropriate actions for having their information removed from Google, instead of whipping out a ridiculous lawsuit. Seriously, what are you guys complaining about here?

    The bottom line is they own the property and are exercising their lawful right to privacy on said property, which is something to be applauded, not scorned. Just leave them alone already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    NO need to get nasty all of the GE imagetry I've seen has been satellite generated. That is the bases of my argument.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    jeremy, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 11:26am

    Re: priorities

    i live 2 blocks from this town it is actually very close to the main citys, it is considered a suburb of the twin citys

    the town its self yes is small that does not mean that the surrounding area is farm land

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Google decided to be nice.

    The fact that you would be liable civilly for it means you DON'T have the right to publish those pictures.

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:27pm

    Re: @Ben Ursa

    North Oaks streets *are* privately owned. I've researched this issue as the whole setup of the town is *very* strange. Apparently lots extend to the centre of the street they are on and homeowners grant each other easement to use the streets as part of their contract. Governance of the city is divided between a city government (which contracts with the Ramsey County Sheriff for police services), homeowners' association (which maintains the roads and parks), and the North Oaks Company (which develops the land and sells the houses under restrictive covenants, including the right to buy back the house to prevent its sale to someone "unapproved")....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re:

    I know but incorporation as a city seems to me, at least, to imply some public function. I find the existence of North Oaks *as an incorporated city* to be very strange. I've heard of private communities before, but N.O. is the only one I know of that has actual municipal status....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Different take - criminal activity?

    Question: How high up do you have to be off private property to be "legal"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:37pm

    They're probably growing a whole bunch of weed there, so they don't want anyone to see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, the point is privacy...

    Cities *are* corporations by definition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    John Wilson, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Re

    Interesting thought, though. However, I would guess the easment granted covers the invited guests of all other homeowners, otherwise such guests would need permission of all homeowners on the way to and from their hosts' home....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Google decided to be nice.

    > The fact that you would be liable civilly for
    > it means you DON'T have the right to publish
    > those pictures.

    No, you're not understanding. You could very well be liable for the torts you committed but the other party could not legally keep you from publishing the pictures because that would implicate *your* 1st Amendment rights.

    Put another way, while they could get monetary damages from you , they could NOT obtain an injunction or court order barring you from publishing the pictures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Still on Microsoft Live

    I don't use M$'s Live Maps so I gotta know, is this the same as "Street View" or is it just another satellite-based image? There's a big difference between getting a picture taken of the top of your house and a picture taken from your front yard.

    Huh? Check out the 216 Megapixel Camera M$ Live maps uses!

    Aptly named the "UltraCam" it snaps a picture containing 14,430 x 9,420 pixels using 13 CCD's, sending them through 14 CPU's. The camera captures data at 3Gbits/sec, which led them to use two Infiniband cables rather than 14 firewire cables.

    http://www.microsoft.com/ultracam/ultracam/default.mspx
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infiniband

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93.  
    identicon
    J MacDonald, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 2:11pm

    Good news

    If the town doesn't want it listed good!

    They have a right to privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94.  
    identicon
    Hugh Mann, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google decided to be nice.

    No, you do not have the right to publish someone else's private business. Just like you do not have the right to shout "fire!" in a crowded theater. While we generally do not condone "prior restraint", there are some things that do justify it. And even if you couldn't get an order beforehand, you certainly could get a court order to require you to cease further publication.

    Otherwise, that would mean that privacy is nothing. It would mean that private individuals would be forced to come up with something like a "reasonable royalty" for the use of their private information, because they would be powerless to actually stop it. So, as long as I was willing to pay the fine and pay you a little something for your trouble, I could hop your fence, snap a few pics through your basement window of you in in your latex dominatrix outfit and blast that all over the countryside. Is that what you mean?

    HM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google decided to be nice.

    Actually there is plenty of evidence of a right to publish in things like the National Enquirer. Now the interest in the publication is the key here. Who would be interested in funding publication?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Google decided to be nice.

    > No, you do not have the right to publish
    > someone else's private business. Just like
    > you do not have the right to shout "fire!"
    > in a crowded theater.

    First, your "crowded theater" comment is a reference to the "clear and present danger" test that allows for punishment of speech only if there is a clear and present danger of death or serious bodily injury as a result of the speech in question. The danger has to be both immediate and actual. Publishing photos of someone's house on the internet doesn't even come close to meeting the clear and present danger test, hence no order barring publication would be granted.

    Second, I'm not sure how you figure that a photo of the exterior of a residential home equates to "someone's private business". Sure, a trespass occurred in order to take the photo but that doesn't make the photo itself a de facto invasion of privacy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97.  
    identicon
    Cheapo Groovo, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 6:53am

    This is alsp a property rights issue

    The law is correct - we must respect everyone's private property

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 10:32am

    Re: Privacy - good for me, bad for you

    Why they want this degree of privacy is not the issue. They have a right to privacy.
    I don't know about that. It seems that I remember a SCOTUS decision saying that there is no expectation to privacy in an outdoor area that could conceivably be observed from any sort of flying aircraft regardless of any "No Trespass" signs. Considering that a helicopter or some sort of hovering UAV could probably have observed the same area that the Google vehicle did, I'd say they probably had no legal right to expect privacy there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Constitutional Right to Privacy

    Google didn't have permission so Google was trespassing. Privacy isn't even an issue.

    Agreed. Why do people find this so hard to understand?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    The bottom line is they own the property and are exercising their lawful right to privacy on said property, which is something to be applauded, not scorned.
    Just being on private property does not convey a "lawful right to privacy on said property". If someone were to host an orgy on their front lawn across the street from an elementary school I expect they would find that out rather quickly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 5:12pm

    They should have done a low level fly-by.

    Yeeeeeeehaw!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Christopher Harrison, Jun 14th, 2008 @ 4:24am

    Faggots

    These town people are faggots. First ammendment rights, no matter if they are on private property or not, give Google the right to solicite photos. Fuck this city and fuck the bullshit town for having nothing better to do than suck dick (a.k.a. cock).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    identicon
    black girl, Aug 26th, 2008 @ 4:29pm

    who cares

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    identicon
    Harry, Dec 11th, 2008 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Public View, No Right to Privacy

    There is no public property. The lots extend halfway across the street from both sides.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    identicon
    Alex, Apr 24th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty deserve none.

    What's the big deal? Talk about a burglar's dream, Google Street View. What exactly is the point of this website? I don't think its anyone's business to be looking at my house online. If you want to see it, drive to Nebraska. Its always the excuse that "if you don't have anything to hide then what's the problem?". I have a problem with people who think its okay to take pictures of private residences without permission. You want my house on your site, show me the money. I'm having it removed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty deserve none.

    I love Street View. I was recently designing a website for an event at a facility in a nearby town. I used Street View to virtually drive there to give better directions on my site, including which entrance to park by. Saved me two hours of driving. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This