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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 Alexstarfire on 5/18/2009 11:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
Space constraints being what is inside the walls of the building. Not sure if Tokyo is anything like Taipei, but when I was in Taipei the buildings were rather small and primarily built straight upwards. As such there really isn't much space inside these places to put items like a washer and drier, although I'm sure money plays a factor in Taiwan that may not in Japan. Anyway, because of the way buildings are built, and you can understand why since it's an island and land isn't abundant, that they usually run out of space to put things in the house. Granted that doesn't mean they couldn't, but it'd be very cramped. It'd be like putting 3-4 sofas in the same room. Sure, you can do it, but there are far better and more comfortable ways of seating people.


RE: Typo/mistake
By bissimo on 5/18/2009 2:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
Beyond concerns over limited living space, I believe that the reason most people don't have or use dryers in Japan (and lots of other countries) is the high comparative cost of electricity. Most dryers' heating elements are 5kw. That's more of an electrical draw than the whole rest of the house combined, excluding heating and A/C.


RE: Typo/mistake
By Alexstarfire on 5/19/2009 12:50:14 AM , Rating: 2
Which is why I said money may be an issue. I don't live there so I have no idea what the cost of it is or would be.


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