Today’s Tort Hypo

Bruce Schneier links to a for-sale-by-owner Ultimate Secure House. The house purports to be secure against everything from burglars to EMP radiation, but the owner warns:

Note: The exact location of the house will only be revealed to serious, pre-screened, and financially pre-qualified peospective buyers at an appropriate time. The owner believes that keeping the exact location secret to the general public is an important part of the home’s security.

Suppose that Alice learns the location of the house. Suppose further that Alice posts a blog entry with a link to a satellite photo showing the house. Discuss Alice’s potential tort liability, if any, to the owner of the house. Does Streisand v. Adelman apply? Does your answer depend on the manner in which Alice learned of the location of the house? Would the answer change if Alice used a different means of revealing the location (e.g., by tax lot number)? Does the answer depend on whether the security of the home actually depends on its being a secure undisclosed location, or merely on whether potential buyers think that having an undisclosed location makes it more secure?

My take, for what it is worth, is that the owner may well have had some protectable priacy interests in details of the security systems, such as the thickness of the walls, the cameras, the redundant filtration systems, the safe room, the grouning rods, and so on. But revealing all of those details, together with pictures of the house, and then asking the law to keep secret the one remaining detail that would allow other to link up those details with an actual house seems like it would be pushing one’s luck. Put another way, fully recouping one’s investment in security systems and keeping those security systems secret are not always easily reconciled goals.