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Group seeks blinders on Google Street View in Japan

Google's Street View is "openly violating privacy rights," according to the head of an anti-surveillance state group in Japan. Google says it respects privacy.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Stephen Shankland/CNET News

Citing privacy concerns, a group of Japanese lawyers and professors have asked Google to shut down its Street View feature of Google Maps in the country, according to a Reuters report.

"We strongly suspect that what Google has been doing deeply violates a basic right that humans have," said Yasuhiko Tajima, a professor of constitutional law at Sophia University in Tokyo and head of the Campaign Against Surveillance Society, in an interview with Reuters.

"It is necessary to warn society that an IT (information technology) giant is openly violating privacy rights, which are important rights that the citizens have, through this service," he said.

Google didn't immediately comment on its plans for Japan but directed attention to its Street View privacy site, which says the service respects people's privacy.

"Street View only features photographs taken on public property and the imagery is no different from what a person can readily see or capture walking down the street. Imagery of this kind is available in a wide variety of formats for cities all around the world. We are committed to respecting local laws and norms in each country in which we launch Street View," the page says. "We make it easy for users to ask to have photographs of themselves, their children, their cars or their houses completely removed from the product, even where the images have already been blurred."

Google began blurring faces in Street View in May.