Japanese government: Google Street View isn’t soo bad

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Google took multiple beatings from various Japanese sides (press, politics, activists etc.) ever since deciding to launch Street View in this country. Google Japan countered concerns if their service is consistent with existing Japanese law by taking some Japan-specific actions, such as using special cameras.
So far the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the most powerful interest group in the conflict, was quite silent about this question.
But today ministry representatives said Street View doesn’t break the national personal information protection law because of the following reasons:

  • faces of individuals are usually blurred out
  • being able to see license plates on vehicles doesn’t enable Street View users to identify the owners
  • being able to see a house or apartment from the outside doesn’t mean Street View users can gain information about the people living there

The ministry also said this statement is just a first reaction, which will be followed by a more detailed report in August this year.
In Japan, Google Street View was launched in August 2008 and made available to ten prefectures in February 2009 (initial release: May 2007). (2007-05-25)initial

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