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.