Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Gov't wants Google to say when it will take Street View footage"

From Japan Today, 8/26/09:

The communications ministry plans to urge Google Inc to take steps to ensure that its Street View service will not intrude into people’s privacy, including alerting residents about when and where it will take its close-up, 360-degree color footage of city streets, ministry officials said Tuesday.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry made the decision after an advisory panel put forward a set of recommendations in a report the same day, urging it to demand that the Mountain View, California-based Internet firm inform both municipal governments and residents beforehand of the time and place when it shoots street film.

The service provides close-up views of city streets as caught by Google’s Street View cameras installed in vehicles driving along the roads.

In June, the panel determined that the service could be deemed consistent with Japan’s personal information protection law, if the firm takes appropriate steps including blurring identifiable images, such as faces.

But in the latest report, the panel said, ‘‘It cannot be said that people would accept the service immediately even if problems concerning its legality may have been cleared up.’’

‘‘Therefore, it is indispensable that Google go on taking measures to allay ordinary citizens’ concerns and anxieties about the service,’’ it said.

Dozens of municipal assemblies, such as Tokyo’s Machida city assembly and Nara Prefecture’s Ikoma city assembly, have adopted resolutions urging the government to place curbs on the service, on the grounds it may breach the privacy of residents whose images might be taken by the Street View cameras, along with those of their properties.

Read the whole story and reader comments at Japan Today:

Click here for more background information about Street View.

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