Print 12 comment(s) - last by AnnihilatorX.. on Dec 23 at 2:13 PM

Google Street View violates privacy according to Japanese group

Reuters is reporting a Japanese civilian group that includes lawyers and university professors has asked Google to stop providing detailed street-level images of Japanese cities on the internet because it violates privacy rights.

The service the group is objecting to is called Google Street View and is a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth that provides 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic street-level views and allows users to view parts of selected cities and their surrounding metropolitan areas at ground level. Currently 12 Japanese cities are covered by this service.

The group calls itself the The Kanshi Shakai o Kyohisuru Kai (The Campaign Against Surveillance Society), and is headed by Yasuhiko Tajima a professor of constitutional law at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Tajima expressed his concerns in a telephone interview with Reuters stating, "We strongly suspect that what Google has been doing deeply violates a basic right that humans have." He also said, "It is necessary to warn society that an IT giant is openly violating privacy rights, which are important rights that the citizens have, through this service."

The Campaign Against Surveillance Society wants Google to stop providing its Street View service of Japanese cities and delete all saved images. Google’s Tokyo office has not yet commented on the request.

Privacy concerns about Google Street View have grown in the Japanese media, especially after some people discovered their images on Street View. Google has responded to privacy concerns in the past when it complied with a Pentagon request to remove online images from Street View over fears they posed a security threat to U.S. military bases.

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what privacy rights?
By omnicronx on 12/22/2008 9:17:47 AM , Rating: 3
As long as they are not taking pictures of peoples faces, the street is public property is it not?

RE: what privacy rights?
By Misty Dingos on 12/22/2008 9:38:41 AM , Rating: 5
Privacy laws are differ in many countries. I am not sure what law they might be in violation of.

The article is short on details, a failing of most reporting today whatever the source.

The only thing I think they may be getting close to is the widespread commercial publication of these photos.

Even in the US if you make money off a person's image you need to have their permission (in most cases). I know that Google will state that the people in the pictures are incidental and are not the subject of the picture so no matter how much noteriaty the random Google Street View picture generates, they don't need to get everyone of those people's permission. Also they have an enormous amount of legal precident on their side.

RE: what privacy rights?
By ebakke on 12/22/2008 10:06:57 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed. The article didn't state which "right" was being violated. I don't understand how someone can have the expectation of privacy or invisibility of anything clearly visible by the public at any time.

RE: what privacy rights?
By the goat on 12/22/2008 10:23:19 AM , Rating: 2
As long as they are not taking pictures of peoples faces, the street is public property is it not?

They are not talking about google violating the law. They are talking about google invading citizens' privacy.

It is one thing to have a few random people on the street see you walking along. It is another thing entirely for pictures of you walking to be broadcast across the Internet to everybody in the world.

RE: what privacy rights?
By fishbits on 12/22/2008 10:43:34 AM , Rating: 5
We're talking about Street View. What is this application you're talking about where Google follows me around "broadcasting" what I'm doing to others on the 'Net?

I go on vaction, take pictures, post them online. People will incidentally be in some of those pictures, and they will be seen if someone has a specific interest in me or where I visited. Same as if they are looking for directions and pull up a snapshot of a particular street location on Street View.

"They are talking about google invading citizens' privacy."
You do realize we're talking about people out in PUBLIC, right? Now if Google has a service where they're following Tanaka-san around without his permission and posting his whereabouts past and present, you'd have something to discuss. As this is not the case, I'm not sure why you're imagining this to be something other than it is.

RE: what privacy rights?
By AnnihilatorX on 12/23/2008 2:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
To their credit a random photographer taking picture and even uploading to the net, would probably not get as much publicity as street view will give them.

I agree the face should be blurred but I don't think Google has committed any wrong-doings.

RE: what privacy rights?
By ThePooBurner on 12/22/2008 12:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
Like the guy in the US that street view has passed out drunk on his front lawn in his underwear. One thing for the neighbors to see it, but now it's available for the world (though i think they cropped it out upon discovery and complaint). However, i don't see the issue with street view at all. I think it's neat. The only thing i think would be a privacy concern is if it is catching people that don't want to be caught walking into certain businesses, if you catch my drift...

RE: what privacy rights?
By dragonbif on 12/22/2008 3:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
O like those 1-2hr rooms you can get with the cool wallpaper and diffrent beds?> HEHE I bet this guy went into one and does not want his wife to see it ;)

RE: what privacy rights?
By Spectator on 12/22/2008 12:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
How does this compare to A list celebs being specifically and personally photographed in public. And not being able to jack about it?

Or even Monte Carlo. that place is fully cctv'd to the max. Every public street/elevator/underground walkway all of it. lol.

Personally IF I was so worried about my privacy in public. Id wear one of those Bin Laden head/face mask's. (and make it Acid green with "Fook Yaaall" written on it). Chukkle :P

By strikeback03 on 12/22/2008 11:19:27 AM , Rating: 2
Don't they automatically blur people's faces, car license plates, and other personal information in the images anyway?

I find street view very useful for checking out an area before going there, you can learn about the layout more than an overhead map or image can show.

RE: blur
By Quiescent on 12/22/2008 6:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Before, I relied on Bird's eye view in live maps. But it still wasn't enough. With street view, I'm able to see where I'm suppose to be at and decrease the likelihood that I'll pass by the place from 90% likely before the bird's eye view came to be, 70% likely when it came to be. and 5% likely when street view came to be.

Lighten' Up
By bribud on 12/22/2008 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, come on now! It's not like they are "real time" images of the street view or anything like that. I could see how that would make people complain about privacy. But these are still images patched together that are going to be unchanged for many, many years. Seriously!!

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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