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Frenchman sues Google over Street View wee photo

A man is suing Google for a Street View picture that shows him answering the call of nature, which he claims has made him a laughing stock.

It looks like Google might be fighting legal battles on more than one European front. It's already been accused of breaching EU law with its new privacy policy, and now it's being sued by a Frenchman for, er, including a picture on Street View of him urinating in his front yard.

The man, who wants to stay anonymous, claims the picture has made him the laughing stock of his village in north west France.

His face is blurred out in the picture, as is Google's policy with Street View, but the man is demanding the snap be removed, claiming locals have recognised him. There are only about 3,000 people living in his village, so it's probably not surprising someone spotted the 50-year-old.

He's claiming €10,000 (£8,300) in damages.

The man apparently thought he was hidden from view by his closed gate, back in November 2010, when he relieved himself. But Google's Street View car, with its camera mounted on the roof, captured him from above as it passed. The man's lawyer, Jean-Noel Bouillard, didn't say why his client had chosen to use his courtyard as a makeshift toilet.

"Everyone has the right to a degree of secrecy," Bouillard told Reuters, though he could see the funny side. "In this particular case, it's more amusing than serious. But if he'd been caught kissing a woman other than his wife, he would have had the same issue."

Google's lawyer wasn't reachable for comment, possibly because he was laughing too hard. A French newspaper reported he was pleading the case be declared null and void.

It's not the first embarrassing picture to be caught on Street View, and I'm sure it won't be the last. It's not quite as important as Google's changes to its privacy policy, but does raise privacy issues.

Let me know your thoughts on Google and whether it's too powerful on our Facebook page, or in the comments below. Any suggested captions for the picture also welcome.

Image credit: Gizmodo/Google