Google Street View has Patent, Urination Problems

Google Street View has often been the subject of controversy. The latest: Google and Apple are facing a patent lawsuit for Street View technology used on the iPhone and iPad, while a urination image is causing legal troubles for Google in France.

Google, Apple Sued Over Street View Mapping Patent

PanoMap Technologies of Florida has filed a complaint in Orlando federal court claiming that Google and Apple have infringed on a patent used in Google Maps Street View feature for iPad and iPhone, paidContent reported.

The patent at issue, No. 6,563,529, is for an “interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images.” The patent was issued in 2003 to a computer scientist, but has since been transferred twice – most recently in early February to “PanoMap Technologies LLC”, which appears to be a shell company.

“Lawyers for PanoMap did not reply to a request asking if their client actually makes mapping technology or if it is just a shell company backed by investors who fund patent lawsuits. …the new lawsuit could raise a strange situation where a shell company is using the trademarked name of a real company to sue other companies,” paidContent reported.

Google Sued Over Urination Image


Image via Daily Mail

A 50-year-old resident of rural France who decided to urinate in his front yard became immortalized when one of Google’s Street View vehicles snapped a picture of him. Now he’s suing Google for €10,000 ($13,300) in damages and demanding Google remove the image, Reuters reported.

The incident was captured in November 2010 as one of Google’s Street View cars, which have cameras attached to the roof, drove past the unidentified plaintiff’s gated yard. As the story notes, it was unclear why the man chose to urinate outside.

Despite his face being blurred, the man claims he has become a “laughing stock” after neighbors in his village recognized him. A verdict is expected March 15.

Google: WiFi Data Grab Didn’t Violate Wiretap Law

Google, which collected payload data (including emails, email addresses, user names and passwords, telephone numbers) from unsecured WiFi networks – triggering numerous government investigations and some fines – is trying to get a class-action privacy lawsuit dismissed, according to MediaPost.

Google’s argument, according to papers filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is that because the WiFi networks weren’t password-protected, Google didn’t violate federal wiretap law:

“Because Wi-Fi transmissions are ‘radio communications,’ they are expressly defined by the Wiretap Act as ‘readily accessible to the general public,’ and their acquisition is not unlawful unless one of the statute’s specific exceptions applies.”

Google ceased collecting data in October 2010.

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