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20 August 2009

Don’t upset the giant

By Samira Shackle

Aaron and Christine Boring
The unfortunately named Boring couple from Pittsburgh sued Google, claiming the company had caused them mental suffering and diminished the value of their home after photos of it appeared on Google Street View. A federal judge dismissed the case in February, pointing out that although there probably had been a violation of privacy, only the “most exquisitely sensitive” would have felt the “shame and humiliation” the Borings claimed they had suffered.

Isaac Mao
In February 2007, a Chinese blogger wrote an open letter to the founders of Google after they agreed to censor the Chinese version of the search engine. Mao urged them to stick to their company’s motto (“Don’t be evil”), and to support anti-censorship efforts. Google’s response was to display a message acknowledging that it did filter some results, six months after the letter was published.

Elinor Mills
Elinor Mills, a reporter for the technology website CNET, allegedly attracted Google’s attention in July 2005 by writing about the personal data made available via the search engine. She googled Eric Schmidt, the firm’s chief executive, and found that he lived in Atherton, California, was an avid amateur pilot, and had made about $140bn from Google shares that year. The following month, she claimed Google had “instituted a policy of not talking with CNET reporters until July 2006 in response”.

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