Google Japan to act against Street View abuse


Google Japan to act against Street View abuse

Warwick Ashford

Google Japan is to help victims of Street View photo abuse and take action against offending third-party websites.

The first-of-its-kind move comes after continued public concern in Japan over privacy rights violations involving Street View and a government investigation.

There have been complaints about secondary sites using Google's photos maliciously for purposes such as bullying.

Google Japan said it would send requests to the sites for removal of maliciously used Street View images, according to media reports.

The internet firm may also block offending sites from Google's search engine and consider legal action for those sites which ignore or refuse the request to remove offending images.

Google introduced Street View in Japan in 2008, and currently has 360-degree images in several cities, but was forced to lower the height of cameras and reshoot images in May 2009 after privacy-related complaints.

The Japanese government has reportedly told Google that it has to give advanced warnings to local governments and citizens whenever it records images for Street View.

Google will would also have to provide an easy means to request removal of images for people who do not have internet access and increase awareness of the Street View images.

Google Japan has announced it will be distributing information pamphlets and has opened a call centre to handle questions about Street View.

Privacy groups raised concerns about Street View when it was introduced to the UK in March , but privacy watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office said Google was taking enough steps to ensure privacy.

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