Google must re-shoot all Street View pictures in Japan

Citizens of Japan have won a fight against Google to get them to re-shoot all of the photos taken and shown via Google Street View. The argument stemmed around the idea of invasion of privacy, specifically that the cameras could take pictures over the fences around private homes.

Google agreed to re-shoot all of the photos taken for Google Street View of Japanese cities and will lower the height of its cameras to avoid taking photos at heights above private fences. Google has also agreed to blur out license plates numbers as well to further adhere to the complaints of the citizens.

"We admit that there were concerns about the service. ... People said we might have neglected the privacy issue," 'he wrote.' "We took their opinions seriously and made careful considerations."

It was unclear if Google was going to remove all images from Street View or replace them as the new ones were taken.

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31 Comments

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Nah, fences and walls are generally higher in Japan because they're more likely to be designed for privacy, whereas fences in America are largely decorative or for pets/children.

Now, Japan's DOORFRAMES on the other hand... ow...

My first thought when I read that Google had to re-shoot all this was that Japaneses were caught unready the first time and wanted to show a proper pose.

I'd simply delete the service from Japan and be done with it. They're providing a service no one else does and to top it off it's free.

I suspect that the more Google spits on privacy the more we will see stories like this. Get the popcorn ready.

Well, it depends more on if they're putting those pictures up for all to see, which is probably quite likely since I doubt people think twice about it.

Either way, I love Street View and the fact that I can look up a place I'm not very fond of and get a grasp of the buildings or homes that surround it. I mean, overall, it's better that we have this and GPS to guide us than having to bother people, right? Considering some people are so uptight as to even have people LOOKING at their house, I'm sure it'd please these people more to know they don't have to help someone out.

dead.cell said,
I mean, overall, it's better that we have this and GPS to guide us than having to bother people, right? Considering some people are so uptight as to even have people LOOKING at their house, I'm sure it'd please these people more to know they don't have to help someone out.

+1 Well said Sir

I'm still waiting for them to admit that "Do no evil" was actually a joke and not an official "motto". The day will come.

(My name is at the top of my reply only, not on the bottom)

i have no problems with google street view, how house is there and so what. you dont see anything great. If people got something to hide built a cloaking device!!!!

I think its cool, our house is on street view in AU and I have no problems with it. I find it great when your looking to buy a house too. Get a feel for the street before you even need to go out looking at it.

excalpius said,
I find the whole thing a big "who give a **** either way?" 8P

Well, the answer is obviously: the Japanese, and Google.

I find this rather hypocritical of Google. Both people in the USA and Europe have yelled foul over the pictures and some even blocked the car, yet Google refused to do anything and said it was not a privacy issue, when the people were even saying it was. HOW is Japan any different? Why not tell them the same thing they told Europe and the USA. "There are tools to remove photos from the site."

I find that the fact Google was willing to negotiate with Japan but no one else as rather appalling.

I think the legal case in Japan was stronger, therefore they had to comply. They're less likely to lose a privacy case here in the EU or the USA I guess.

Cuz Japan can flat-out refuse to do business with us, and they drive our economy, just like we drive there's. Likewise, if China were to do the same thing (I know it's impossible, but a similar circumstance), we would bow to their wim as well. Much like Japan and China bow to ours.

Welcome the global economy, where money is the new leader.

axebox said,
Cuz Japan can flat-out refuse to do business with us, and they drive our economy, just like we drive there's. Likewise, if China were to do the same thing (I know it's impossible, but a similar circumstance), we would bow to their wim as well. Much like Japan and China bow to ours.

Welcome the global economy, where money is the new leader.


You make it sound like countries can unilaterally stop all trading with other countries. Pretty damn unlikely, especially in an age of multinational companies.

Probably, like majesticmerc said, the privacy laws differ. I know for a fact that there is no legal right to privacy on a public street in the UK.

Kirkburn said,

You make it sound like countries can unilaterally stop all trading with other countries. Pretty damn unlikely, especially in an age of multinational companies.


Actually I intended to say the opposite...

It's probably to do with the fact that as urban Japan is a much more densely packed environment than the UK or US, privacy is much more important. Thus they're more willing to do something about it, rather than sit on their asses doing nothing like us.

simon360 said,
I think it is simply because it is legal action. Google would probably regret not complying with a court decision.

Almost definately a legal issue - privacy laws in Japan tend to be stricter than those in US & Europe. Also, due to how crowded it is and consequently how hard privacy is to come by, Japanese people are pretty sensitive about protecting their privacy.