Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Google's Street View complies with Japan privacy law, regulator says

The Japanese Communications Ministry has concluded that Google's Street View complies with Japan's data protection laws provided it continues to blur individual faces. It appears to be a preliminary opinion as more public input is being sought over the coming months.

The Hindu News Update Service

Japan says 'Ok' to Google's Street View service

Tokyo (PTI): Japan's government has concluded that Google's popular Street View service does not violate the country's privacy laws if the search engine giant takes safeguards like blurring people's faces.

An advisory panel of the communications ministry has determined that Google's Street View service would be consistent with Japan's personal information protection law if the US-based firm takes appropriate measures such as blurring identifiable images, such as faces, ministry officials said.

The pronouncement marks the first time that the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has expressed an opinion on the legality of the Google service, which provides close-up, 360-degree colour views of city streets, as they were caught by Google's Street View cameras installed on vehicles.

It amounted to turning down requests by dozens of city Assemblies across Japan -- including Tokyo's Machida city Assembly and Nara Prefecture's Ikoma city Assembly -- which adopted resolutions calling on the government to place curbs on the service, Kyodo news agency reported.

The ministry will release its final conclusion possibly in August after soliciting views from citizens.

Google launched its Street View service for 12 Japanese cities in August last year.

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