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.

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Comments on “Woman Sues Google Because She Hung Her Underwear Outside, And Street View Caught It”

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fairuse (profile) says:

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

Macgyver (profile) says:

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

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Rekrul says:

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.

Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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-


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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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/

and other sources are available.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Rob (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Jon Noowtun says:

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!!!!!


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