Dec. 20, 2010 at 1:39 PM ET
A woman in Japan claims her obsessive-compulsive disorder worsened and she feared everything she did throughout the day was secretly recorded after Google Street View captured images of her underwear hanging out to dry, the U.K. Telegraph reports. So she's suing the search giant for $7,000.
"I could understand if it was just a picture of the outside of the apartment, but showing a person's underwear hanging outside is absolutely wrong," the unnamed woman told the district court of Fukuoka, Japan, where she filed her case in October. Google reportedly removed the image around the same time.
Google Street View provides 360-degree street-level images of locations in more than a dozen countries, recorded by cars equipped with 9-lens panoramic cameras. The woman filing the suit reportedly looked up her address online last spring and saw her intimate apparel hanging out for the whole wired world to see.
"I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime," she said. "It caused me to lose my job and I had to change my residence."
It's unclear whether the plaintiff knew her underthings were viewable from the street (thus captured by the Street View car) before she Googled her address. Stories of odd Street View lookups are becoming increasingly common as Street View extends its search —though most are not traumatic.
Earlier this year, 11-year old Reuben Soames looked up his family's Derbyshire house on Google Street View and saw a suspicious character checking his fly near the family's white Abbey Adventura caravan — the same white Abbey Adventura caravan stolen from the yard a little more than a year before. Police are now using this image in their investigation of the theft.