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Google agrees to lower the camera 16 inches and blur license plates

Google has announced they plan to retake all Japanese photographs for its Street View service due to complaints from residents photographs were taken from a vantage point that was higher than most people’s fences around their homes. The photos were taken by a camera mounted on a stick attached to a roof of a car and according to company product manager Keiichi Kawai, Google Japan has agreed to lower the cameras. Google has also agreed to blur vehicle license plate images to address one of the other privacy complaints being leveled against the Google Street View service.

Kawai said Google’s decision to lower the cameras is designed to address concerns in Japan, where many neighborhoods are crowded and privacy is tightly guarded. According to CNET, the new photographs will be taken with a camera that is exactly 16 inches lower, and will be a costly and time consuming affair because Google has already photographed 12 Japanese cities including Tokyo and Osaka.

Google’s lowered camera is meant to prevent items such as people’s laundry hanging out to dry from being filmed. The lowered camera will most likely make no difference as almost everyone in Japan hangs their laundry outside to dry due to space constraints and the high humidity.

Japan Probe also has other examples of images captured by Google Street View where a lowered camera would not have made a difference. The images include a high school girl’s chest being touched, a homeless man collapsed on the street, and a couple entering a "love hotel".

Complaints about Google Street View were already beginning to surface late last year when a Japanese civilian group that includes lawyers and university professors asked Google to stop providing detailed street-level images of Japanese cities on the internet because it violates privacy rights.

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RE: Typo/mistake
By maxcue on 5/18/2009 11:05:32 AM , Rating: 1
I've been to Japan and it is *very* crowded but friendly!), so it's true space is at a premium. A typical washer or dryer there is little bigger than one of our microwaves so it shouldn't be surprising they dry outside, like we used to, and it should be no surprise it's humid on an ISLAND, either....But I admire and give a high-5 to Google for going to the expense and effort of re-doing their Street Views of Japan. Good for them that they're swimming in money and can do so, but they're creating a valuable database that's free for the world to use and trying to be sensitive about it as best as is reasonable, too. Privacy has been an illusion for decades, (blames or congrats to *our* NSA and others for that) so just enjoy the fact that you can use the work of others so easily. If Google would make a fantastic OS that ran all Windows apps I'd buy it. At least it sounds like MS is coming *close* with the upcoming Win7. I just hope these hypercorporations don't duplicate databases and do make them publicly useful.

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