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Google sued for showing underwear on Street View

A Japanese woman sues Google for emotional distress after images of underwear on her washing line appear on the site.

Some people are very sensitive about showing their underwear.

These do not necessarily include people who wear extremely short skirts, droopy jeans, or minuscule tank tops. Lady Gaga is not included either.

However, a Japanese woman is reportedly so incensed by seeing private items on her washing line appear on the very public Google Street View that she has decided to sue the company.

The Telegraph references Japan's Mainichi newspaper, which quoted the woman from district court proceedings: "I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime. It caused me to lose my job, and I had to change my residence."

While this reaction might seem slightly drastic, the woman claims that she suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. She claims that the exposure of this underwear forced her to consider that Google was actually following her everywhere she went.

Will this case be left hanging? CC L-Plate Big Cheese/Filckr

This is an emotion that I know is shared by some who may not have OCD. For in Germany--which does, to be fair, have something of a reputation for order and neatness--almost 3 percent of the population took the opportunity to have their underwear (and, indeed, their homes) obscured on Google Street View.

Although one gentleman may have accidentally appeared without any underwear at all.

The woman in this case isn't of the view that her home should have been blurred, merely that Google should have been more sensitive toward her undergarments.

"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 woman reportedly told the court.

For myself, I am astonished that Google has allowed this landmark case to be hung in a courtroom. The plaintiff is seeking a mere 600,000 Yen, which might, if a following wind attached itself to the currency exchange rate, amount to a little more than $7,000. The woman claims that Google did remove her underwear around the time that she filed suit, while Google reportedly says it is now looking into the whole thing.

Surely Google might understand the lady's distress and pay up. It is a small price to offer for such a wanton and gratuitous display of smalls.