NANTES, France (Reuters) - A Frenchman took Google to court on Thursday over a photo published online by its Street View application showing him urinating in his front yard which he believes has made him the laughing stock of his village in rural northwest France.
The man, who is aged around 50 and lives in a village of some 3,000 people in the Maine-et-Loire region, is demanding the removal of the photo, in which locals have recognised him despite his face being blurred out.
He also wants 10,000 euros in damages.
“Everyone has the right to a degree of secrecy,” his lawyer, Jean-Noel Bouillard, told Reuters. “In this particular case, it’s more amusing than serious. But if he’d been caught kissing a woman other than his wife, he would have had the same issue.”
Google Inc.’s (GOOG.O) Street View, covering some 30 countries and available in France since 2008, enables users of Google Maps to also view photos of streets taken by its camera cars, which have cameras hoisted on frames on their roofs.
The man thought he was hidden from view by his closed gate as he relieved himself in November 2010. But Google’s lens caught him from above his gate as it passed by. Bouillard did not explain why the man chose to urinate outside.
Google’s lawyer in the case, named by local daily Ouest France as Christophe Bigot, was not immediately reachable, but the newspaper said he was pleading that the case should be declared null and void.
The court, in the nearby city of Angers, is due to give its verdict on March 15.
Reporting by Guillaume Frouin; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Myra MacDonald