Strange But True: North Oaks Takes on Google Maps

Leave it to a small town in Minnesota to tell Google to hit the road. Google’s Street View feature allows any Internet user to glimpse a home from the nearest road. The City of North Oaks has demanded that Google Maps remove images of its homes from the website's Street View feature.

Since the Google Maps Street View made its first appearance last spring, it has caused controversy in several cities and with the federal government. The Pentagon banned Google Maps from taking any images of military facilities. A Pittsburgh couple sued the company over images of their home taken from the private road in front of their house.

And therein lays the rub. North Oaks is in a unique situation, as its roads are privately owned by the residents and the city enforces a trespassing ordinance. It may have been the first city to request that the online search engine remove images from Google Maps. The North Oaks City Council sent a letter to Google in January asking the company to remove the images and destroy the files or possibly be cited for violating the city's trespassing ordinance. The images were removed from Google shortly there-after.

The Google images are collected by drivers in cars with mounted cameras and marked with the company's logo. Google Maps images are supposed to be taken from public roads, where there is no guarantee of privacy under federal law. Google representatives said the driver likely didn't see North Oaks' no-trespassing signs.

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