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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 kstephen on 5/18/2009 4:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sentence could be worded better. Its humid everywhere and worst indoors especially during the rainy season or summer. If you want your clothes to have a chance at getting dry most people hang their stuff outside. The statement below wouldn't make sense to anybody living here.

"The lowered camera will most likely make no difference as HARDLY ANYONE in Japan hangs their laundry outside to dry due to space constraints and the high humidity."

Quote below isn't true either. There's typically not enough space to hang stuff in doors but a lot of residences have balconies that are meant for hanging clothes outside.

If there are space constraints, doesn't that mean there won't be room to hang it anywhere,

RE: Typo/mistake
By kenji4life on 5/19/2009 5:14:10 AM , Rating: 2
I live in Tokyo.

There are Dryers available, usually small in size.

There are also Washer/Dryer combos available, such as the one I have here in my apartment. The downside is that it takes 5 hours to dry. The upside is that it takes up a lot less energy, even in those 5 hours (compared to say 1 hour in my US dryer which is a HE model).

That being said, the Humidity makes it very difficult to dry your clothes both indoors and outdoors, but outdoors there is at least wind which will act as a natural dryer.

The humidity is a big problem for drying clothes here, because during the summer months (June-September especially), the humidity is so bad that it even takes a long time for clothes to dry outdoors. Also during rainy summer months it's too wet outside and too humid inside to dry clothes. It makes me really miss my brand new w/d back home.

In the winter months, there are a few odd days where the cool, dry breeze is sufficient. However most days we use the W/D combo. In the summer, we'll be forced to use the w/d combo as well as hanging outside, plus lots of fabric softener/fresheners. Because of the humidity, clothes take on a "sweaty" smell from taking too long to dry.

I may be in the market for a dehumidifier this summer to place next to the w/d so that it can dry faster and abort that annoying smell.

All that being said... I think its kind of silly that they have to retake all of the photos. Japanese people are very private, so I understand why, but lighten up, people. People here close their storm windows every night for even more privacy, even when the wind isn't blowing. I think a little more openness could do this country well. I really loved Holland where looking into neighbors homes was a normal and expected thing. Many homes there are always kept neat and tidy so that when people are walking by and look into their windows, the residents are not embarrassed by a mess.

RE: Typo/mistake
By jconan on 6/4/2009 1:06:01 AM , Rating: 2
It's even worse in Hong Kong. Where a condo is about the size of a studio size apartment in the US. Since it's humid on the islands a dehumidifier could dry clothes faster inside than by hanging clothes outside.

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