Woman Sues Google Because She Hung Her Underwear Outside, And Street View Caught It

from the uh,-maybe-hang-your-underwear-elsewhere dept

A woman in Japan is apparently suing Google for "psychological distress," after she discovered that the Street View image of her home displayed some of her underwear that she had hung out to dry on a clothesline. She claims that when she found this image, it made her fear that she would be a victim of a sex crime (does she not realize that nearly everyone has underwear?) and she started to fear that "everything she was doing throughout the day was being secretly recorded." Uh yeah. Hopefully the judge tosses this out pretty quickly, or soon you'll have lots of people purposely hanging their underwear in their front yards in order to sue Google and demand compensation. Here's a tip: maybe next time, if you're so worried about this, don't hang your underwear where a car driving by on the street can see it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anon, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:16pm

    True, but...

    She has paranoid schizophrenia, obviously not Google's fault, but that's the reason she started to fear that "everything she was doing throughout the day was being secretly recorded."

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    bruce the walk in tubs guy, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    can people just take responsibilities for what they have done instead of indulge in the illusion of others have to take care of them

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Doctor Emmett Brown, Ph.D, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:26pm

    Great Scott's

    Great Scott Google! you've disrupted the space time continuum.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    fairuse (profile), Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:28pm

    Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    Maybe. The published account in The Telegraph"

    "The suit claims her existing obsessive-compulsive disorder was worsened
    by the anxiety brought on by the photo, as she feared that everything she was
    doing throughout the day was being secretly recorded."

    Where would we get our entertainment if bad brain chemistry did not exist? /a thought

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:31pm

    This one is just funny.
    Of course not for that one lady.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Well, this one is a bit ignorant of culture, mike:
    You don't have drying-machines here. 99% of clothes get dried in the air. (It's 4-10C out here over the day currently and it's still air-drying for clothes)
    Everybody accepts that looking at the clothes hanging out is rude and so it's highly avoided.
    There is a reasonable expectation of privacy for 'clothes hanging out' here in Japan.

    The woman is still highly overreacting (due to her mental illness) and it's fully over the top with a lawsuit.

    Maybe Google might add a 'clothes blurring' filter to Japanese streetview so stuff like this won't happen anymore, but that's already based on good will.

    But please, don't apply US American standards to everything.

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:44pm

    Oh gods

    I saw my neighbors underwear on the line. Where do I turn myself in?

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Macgyver (profile), Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    i think this sounds like another Oops I spilled mcdonalds coffeee on me I should sue them for not having a hot warning on the cup. People now days are so dumb and childish, The woman was just looking for anoher quick way to get money, And in this case Its Obsured, Did anyone report seeing her under ware using Google Earth? So should I sue My toaster oven Maker for not Putting a sticker on the outside of my Toaster that is telling me it is dangerous to leave my bread loaf package against the toaster while using it. Common Sense here says If i put my laundry outside to dry then everyone can see it, So In this case Google Is not responsible for every single citizen or passerby that sees her under ware, if that were the case then everyone who drove that street could be sued for driving near her house!

    I knew the economy was bad But do we really have to stoop to these low actions that are senseless to even sue for, if the Judge wards this woman compensation for this I think I am moving to Mars At least there According to Swartzeneggar I can get a new life. Lol

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 7:52pm

    Re:

    Just adding:
    It's sad that while this lands here, attacks on Freedom of Speech in Japan (Tokyo) specifically don't get covered by Techdirt. Guess it's only important as long as a US Company is involved.

    (Possibly NSFW) http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2010/12/15/tokyo-manga-ban-signed-into-law/
    http://online.wsj.com/art icle/SB10001424052748704098304576021092499410726.html

    and other sources are available.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Oh gods

    Right over there, to the room with the comfy chair and television for a few hours of rest.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    It is incredible arrogant (and American) to assume that everyone else should have the same rights as you, and that they want the same things as you.

    Being culturally ignorant is never a good thing for a company, even one as big as Google. it certainly isn't any good for TD either.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:23pm

    Re:

    Most people just hang their undies inside, that is why they sell those plastic hangers in every supermarket in Japan.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:25pm

    Re:

    Your point was?

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:27pm

    Re:

    It didn't come across as culture bashing to me, more of a logistical thing: anyone in a car driving by can take a picture of her laundry if it's out there. The picture wasn't taken from space. She was not in the picture. If she hadn't filed the lawsuit, virtually no one would know of this at all.

    More Striesand Effect than cultural misunderstanding.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    All she really had to do was to tell Google to remove the image and I'm sure they would have been more than glad to do it. But instead of making any effort to mitigate the alleged damages or to allow Google the opportunity to appease her, she immediately sues instead. and given our broken legal system, she'll probably win too.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Must be a quite different neighbourhood you live in, then. Seeing how around here it's very common to have everything hanging out.

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    Rob (profile), Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    culture....

    Well, using your logic, nobody who is using street view in her neighborhood would look at the photos of her (extremely boring) underwear anyway. Nobody anywhere else would care, or have noticed, if she hadn't made a big deal of it.

    Now, of course, the whole world has clicked the link to check out her underwear. Streisand effect in a *big* way.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:36pm

    Re:

    So if someone thinks it's culturally unacceptable for us to drink water outside, thanks to some obscure culture or someones made up culture, is everyone supposed to avoid drinking water while outside?

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Try hanging your clothes out in Tokyo.
    You will discover very quickly that it gets black and most people just hang their clothes inside their homes.

    But that is not the only place, in most big cities is difficult to spot clothes hanging outside, specially female underwear since the latest scares of perverts that collected those underwear were caught, but I guess in rural areas people still hang those clothes outside.

    Japan from the outside seems one big culture, but it is not.
    Go to Okinawa and they have their own dialect, go to Osaka and they are know to be rude, go to Tokyo and you see decadent culture and so on.

    If you were to go to Iiama you probably need to put bars on the windows so they don't brake because of the snow that can reach 5 meters high in some locations, there is no hanging clothes outside there either.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I just remember another reason to keep your undies drying inside.

    Evaporative cooling effects, if you clip those little plastic hangers on the curtains rails it helps to cool down the ambient.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Ain't that exactly how culture works nowadays?
    Because it's culturally unacceptable to walk around naked in the middle of the street, there are "indecent exposure" laws.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:10pm

    I can sympathize with her a bit. Imagine trying to keep people from looking at a picture of your underwear, only for the picture to wind up making headlines around the world!
    Still, launching a lawsuit was a bad move. From the article, it sounds like Google removed the picture as soon as they found out about it. If she'd just written them a complaint, the matter would've been resolved without all the global attention.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    So should I sue My toaster oven Maker for not Putting a sticker on the outside of my Toaster that is telling me it is dangerous to leave my bread loaf package against the toaster while using it.

    No, but you should probably buy a better toaster. One that doesn't get hot on the outside while in use.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:19pm

    This woman will never work in a hotel in Japan :)

    Women are the ones that clean male communal bathing areas.
    Just go early in the morning or late at night before it closes and you see who cleans those places.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you saying she exposed herself in a indecent way putting her undies outside to try?

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please go to Tokyo and hang any white cloth outside.

    It will come back black with soot to the inside of your home.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oops!

    *dry

    Not "try"

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Jon Noowtun, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:32pm

    See??!!! This never would have happened if Gargle had asked permission first!!!!! Now this poor woman is scarred for life and will probably be raped repeatedly, all because of an evil US company!!!!! They probably drove up and down that street just waiting for her to hang her underwear outside so that they could photograph it!!!!! I'll bet they hacked into her internet connection and stole all her data too, like they did in other countries!!!!! People should have the right to hang their underwear in public and have it remain private!!!!!

    www.Pee2PeeNet.net

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re:

    It has nothing to do with any "effect", it has everything to do with the differences between what is acceptable to a large US company and what is acceptable in Japan.

    As someone else posted, Japanese people are willfully blind and specifically avoid other people's laundry. It is impolite, and certainly not something that anyone would document on film / digitally for others to enjoy.

    So there are two things in play here. First, there is the point that while it is technically possible to take the picture, it is culturally unacceptable and makes people uncomfortable.

    Second, it is question of what arrogance it takes for some guy in the Bay Area to tell people in Japan how they should live. It smacks of Americanism at it's worst, and show the TD man to be more than slightly ignorant of other cultures. Instead of mocking the woman, perhaps he should have taken the time to understand first.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2010 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, still don't see why I can't walk (drive) down the road and take snaps of shit I can see. If you dont want people looking at your gruds, don't hang them outside. Full stop.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    RobertH (profile), Dec 21st, 2010 @ 10:27pm

    I'm going to sue google too. While they were busy photographing my house and snooping on my wifi they ran over my cat.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 21st, 2010 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    i think this sounds like another Oops I spilled mcdonalds coffeee on me I should sue them for not having a hot warning on the cup.

    Slightly OT but I have to respond to this statement.

    That lawsuit was not about hot coffee being hot. This was about a restaurant violating local safety ordinances, and someone being injured because of that violation.

    The coffee in question wasn't just hot - it was over 130 degrees, which is a scalding temperature that can cause 2nd and 3rd degree burns. The local laws allowed for liquids to be served at 120 or less, which is easily achievable by setting your hot water tank correctly and using your kitchen equipment properly.

    People cite this as an example of a frivolous lawsuit, but it's not a good example. A better example is the recent and well-publicized Starbucks unstable cup lawsuit, which was dismissed for being frivolous. Of course, that wouldn't prove that our court system lets frivolous cases by, so people don't like to mention that case.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 12:14am

    Re: culture....

    "(extremely boring) underwear anyway"

    hmmm interesting





    XD

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    I don't know, the Starbucks unstable cup lawsuit had it's merits. As does this very serious choking incident-

    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/11/arturo_carvajal_sues_north_mia.php

    I think people need to be properly qualified to walk on the street too. In my township, we're working to create a "walking licensure" which runs $55 every four years. To acquire this license, operators of high-tech equipment called "shoes" must pass a shoelace test as well as a chewing gum test.

    Oh, and please don't mock me. People need protection from this cruel, cruel world.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    David, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 3:06am

    Undie pics, please.

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 3:12am

    Do we sue google or her for having to look at her underwear?

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 3:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have absolutely no clue how you arrived at that sentence.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Another get rich quick scheme destined for failure.

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are confusing "can" with "should". You can take the picture, yes, but culturally, you should not. If you do, you really should not share those images with others.

    Your answer exposes the current moral bankruptcy of most younger people. Just because you can doesn't make it right.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 7:10am

    Where they nice looking underwear? Or were they for some fat-a**ed b***h? She shouldn't have hung them up outside in the first place. Funny.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That still doesn't address the fact that "if she hadn't filed the lawsuit, virtually no one would know of this at all." Even if what Google did was completely wrong, her reaction still doesn't make sense. It just produces more attention to her underwear than could possibly have existed before.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:33am

    ?Woman Sues Google Because She Hung Her Underwear Outside'

    Gee, uhm... Show me one spy-satellite, or commercial photo-sat database that "doesn't" already have a picture of her underwear! {;P

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, yes, can vs. should, I agree. So...are there still vending machines selling allegedly used schoolgirl underpants over there?

    Anyone can make snap judgements about an entire culture or generation based on small pieces of mis/information. Doesn't mean they should.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    Vincent Clement (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    That warning is probably in the first 19 pages of the 20-page manual for the toaster.

     

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

  45.  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 9:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: True, but... The Telegraph says

    It's more important for people to be qualified to use proper punctuation than to walk on the street, so I'll take $80 in a punctuation correction tax before you can comment again. Thanks and have a nice day. :)

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Dec 23rd, 2010 @ 12:43am

    Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get me

    Seeing how around here it's very common to have everything hanging out.

    Which makes it even more ridiculous for her to be worried about it being caught on Street View.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2011 @ 1:57am

    we she must be only of the few ladys that wear undies today.
    as a hellof a lot dont

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    rachel, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    come on!

    you dont have to be so mean i think she shouldnt have her under wear posted on the internet (or how ever you spell it) come on people al though i dont think she should sue google

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    rachel, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    come on!

    you dont have to be so mean i think she shouldnt have her under wear posted on the internet (or how ever you spell it) come on people al though i dont think she should sue google

     

    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