Japanese group protests against Google Street View

A group of Japanese lawyers and professors led by Sophia University constitutional law professor Yasuhiko Tajima have asked Google Inc. to shut down Google Street View on the grounds that it violates basic privacy rights.

Google’s Street View provides detailed street-level images of Japanese cities on the Internet. It offers 360-degree views of streets in 12 Japanese cities and is also offered for some 50 cities in the United States and certain areas in Europe.

google street view protest

The service allows Web users to have extensive views of selected streets and areas from a pedestrian or vehicle’s perspective, enabling users to more precisely orient themselves in unfamiliar areas.

“We strongly suspect that what Google has been doing deeply violates a basic right that humans have,” Yasuhiko Tajima told Reuters by telephone.

“It is necessary to warn society that an IT giant is openly violating privacy rights, which are important rights that the citizens have, through this service.”

Privacy concerns about Google’s service have increased in Japanese media, especially after some people discovered their images on Street View.

Similar concerns have been raised in other parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

In one case, a woman was shown sunbathing and in another a man was pictured exiting a strip club in San Francisco.

Google has not responded publicly to the complaints, but earlier announced it will remove some images from Street View over concerns they may pose a security threat to U.S. military bases or other sensitive locations.