A Canadian court has ruled that Google had invaded the privacy of a Montreal woman by showing her sitting outside of her house with “part of her upper body exposed exposed,” and must pay her compensation. The Quebec Court Judge ordered the Google to pay Maria Pia Grillo $2,250 plus interest and an additional $159 in court costs.
In his judgement which is spread over 17 pages, the Judge held that Maria Pia Grillo had suffered shock and embarrassment when she looked up her house using Google Maps’ Street View feature in 2009 and discovered an image that shows her leaning forward and exposing upper part of her body to the entire world through Google’s Street View feature.
Google Street View had originally snapped Grillo seating in the porch of her house. The photo was taken by one of Google’s camera equipped cars and was used in Street View feature. However Google had blurred out her face, the rest of the image was enough identify her.
In its defence, Google agreed to blur out more of the image, but rejected her money claims on the grounds that Grillo was in a public place and, in any case, that there was not a connection between the Street View incident and Grillo’s subsequent emotional troubles.
The judge partly agreed to what the Google said but held that Google was liable for invading her privacy. He also wondered why Grillo had waited for two years before seeking grievance redressal and held that the Street View image was not linked to her emotional distress as she claimed.
But the judge also rejected Google’s “public place” defense and said people do not forfeit their privacy rights simply by being in a location others can see them. You can read the judgement below (French)