My private home is online!

“Just calling to confirm for dinner,” Henrik said to Suzette.

“Can’t wait to see you!” Suzette said. “I made fresh pasta for the occasion.”

“Mmm, sounds delicious! Carolina and I will bring the wine.”

“Great. Let me give you directions,” Suzette offered.

“Oh no worries, we’ll find it on the computer with Searchie.”

“Actually, you won’t find it on Searchie because I’m on a private road,” Suzette explained. “Just take Highway 15 until exit 123, then you hang a left at the second fork after the road winds around a bit, then continue until the red roofed farm house or maybe it’s burgundy, and then…”

Henrik got of the phone and turned to his wife. “I’m confused!”

Carolina laughed. “You got directions from Suzette? We’ll be lucky if we make it for breakfast! Let’s Searchie it.”

“She said it’s not there.”

“Are you kidding? Everything’s on Searchie.”

A moment later, Carolina pointed to the computer screen. “See! There we go. Print it up and let’s get going.”

An hour later, they arrived at their friend’s secluded cottage.

Suzette waved to them. “You made it! And people say I give lousy directions.”

“Actually, we found it on Searchie,” Carolina said. “They even had a picture of your house!”

Suzette’s jaw dropped. “You saw a picture of my house online? But that’s impossible! This is a private road. Coming here and taking a picture would be trespassing!”

“Well, it’s not like it’s gated!”

“But you can’t come without permission! I’m going to my lawyer’s office immediately. My privacy has been infringed!”

“But…what about dinner?” Henrik said. “We drove an hour to get here!”

“Sorry, justice before pasta!” Suzette replied.

IN THE COURTROOM

Suzette fought for her privacy. “They came onto a private road and took pictures of my house and then put in on the world wide web. And they’re benefiting from this invasion of privacy!”

Searchie fought back. “Hey, it’s not like we peeked inside the window. How much did she suffer?”

Was this an invasion of privacy? You! Be The Judge. Then look below for the decision.

THE DECISION

“No invasion of privacy,” held the Judge. “Many people might resent having their houses snapped for online purposes, but only the most extremely sensitive would suffer real shame or humiliation. Suzette hasn’t suffered any real harm.”

Today’s column is based on a case from Pennsylvania. The characters and the scenarios are fictional. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental. The information in this column does not constitute legal advice. If you have a similar problem, consult a lawyer in your province. Elissa Bernstein is a lawyer and internationally syndicated columnist. Copyright 2009 Haika Enterprises, all rights reserved. GA13-11

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