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Google Japan To Help Victims of Street View Abuse 54

Joshua writes "After repeated concerns from Japanese citizens over privacy rights violations involving Street View and a probe by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Google Japan has announced that it will help victims of Street View photo abuse take action against offending sites. Google Japan said it would send requests to the sites for removal of maliciously used Street View images. It will also potentially block the site from Google's search engine and consider legal action for those sites which ignore or refuse the request. Action to this extent against secondary-use abusers is reportedly a first in relationship to Google's Street View worldwide."
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Google Japan To Help Victims of Street View Abuse

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  • Examples? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by oheso ( 898435 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:27AM (#29329399)

    The story lacks any examples of what might constitute malicious abuse. I'm aware of the Streisand Effect, but if there have been lots of complaints then there should be some examples.

    But the main point is the Google is responding to criticism of an invasion of privacy with a rather blatant attempt to redirect the arrow. "Yes! We published these photos and we're here to help you prosecute anyone who republishes them!"

    Please ... Japanese value their privacy. (Well, some do anyway.) If republication of the photos has led to bullying, should Google share in the responsibility?

    • Re:Examples? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:32AM (#29329413)

      There are entire [] sites [] devoted [] to ridiculing people and things found on Google Street View, which I assume is the kind of thing the complaints are about.

      • by oheso ( 898435 )
        That's a possibility, but again, cultures and laws differ. There could well be examples in Japan of those who are already targets of harassment suddenly finding a totally innocent picture of their house being posted. Doesn't seem like much, but it could help to target the victims of harassment. And that's why I'm saying, "Examples, please."
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Please. If you don't want people to see you acting like a jackass in public, then don't act like a jackass in public. There are already plenty of sites [] devoted to ridiculing people who don't understand this simple rule.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by siloko ( 1133863 )

      The story lacks any examples of what might constitute malicious abuse.

      From TFA: "More recent complaints have been about secondary sites using Googles photos maliciously, such as for discrimination and bullying." Ok so no specific examples are given but I guess google isn't just reacting to hot air!

      But the main point is the Google is responding to criticism of an invasion of privacy with a rather blatant attempt to redirect the arrow.

      Well this is their second attempt at redirecting this particular arrow, the first resulted in them retaking 'numerous images about 16 inches lower than the original Street View picture height', which sounds rather bizarre!

      Whatever they do 'shutting the barn door after the horse h

      • Well this is their second attempt at redirecting this particular arrow, the first resulted in them retaking 'numerous images about 16 inches lower than the original Street View picture height', which sounds rather bizarre!

        Maybe because Japanese women are shorter than those of most other cultures, and the original shots didn't show all of their tits?

      • Re:Examples? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by oheso ( 898435 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:52AM (#29329499)
        It's not too bizarre. It puts the camera below the height of many privacy walls/fences. But still, the journalist should be calling Google out on this rather than simply regurgitating the press release.
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I anticipate yet another Japanese fad of 16-inch stilts and 16-inch periscope accessories.
    • Well, that's the least they can do. The victims of this bullying would probably have problems getting those sites to remove the images, while Google, as the copyright owner of the images and as a big corporation with lots of hungry lawyers, might have better luck.

      Still, that might not be enough to get them off the hook. Depending on the details of the cases, and without knowing anything about Japanese laws, taking pictures of someone inside their own home which caused that person some harm sounds like pla
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by timmarhy ( 659436 )
        it'll teach them to shut the blinds next time they get out their tenticled thing. personally i think this reeks of "lets sue a corperation because we can". the google car is no worse then a pair of eyes walking down the street or one of the millions of camera's around the place.
    • You gotta be kiddin !!

      Japanese are one of the worst offenders of privacy

      • by oheso ( 898435 )
        As I said, some. And it's their own privacy they value, not yours. So there.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I got off the monorail in Japan today and encountered a man with a camcorder just recording us as we exited through the doors. No telling why he was using the video. I suppose it doesn't matter. There was a monorail camera right behind him recording the same thing.

        • There are tons of train crazy people recording videos and shit in trains. I really stopped caring about that.

    • Please ... Japanese value their privacy. (Well, some do anyway.) If republication of the photos has led to bullying, should Google share in the responsibility?

      Again, there is no such thing as privacy in a public place. Google Street View is a very cool and useful service and I can't stand mental midgets opposing it for their anal retentive reasons.

      • So you wouldn't mind the government putting cameras to be monitored 24/7 up and down your street, right?

        • Re:Examples? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @06:21AM (#29330209) Homepage

          Well, it would be a bit hard to complain about the camera if it takes one photo every few years or so and dumps them in with, what, billions of other images, meh, it wouldn't bother me at all. Of course to be fair, my street is not on google view although it is in the middle of numerous other streets that are. just one of those odd google street view quirks.

          In quite little old Adelaide, SA, I have found people are more irritated by their address not being properly defined on street view and not being above to say email the google link as driving directions, rather than their property of themselves showing up on street view. Perhaps it is a personal space thing, in countries like Australia where there is a lot of personal space available are more comfortable to rather impersonal distant incursions and, people in Japan who are basically stacked one atop another with very little personal space are more reactive of incursions whilst seemingly are more willing to specifically intrude upon another person's space.

          Of course one has to wonder how much google's competitors secretly motivate opposition to google's street because they lack a comparable service. When it comes to finding a place on a map, MSN search, Yahoo et all suck in comparison to being able to take a squiz ( [] ) at a place and it's approaches before you get there, it certainly makes life easy and, I have to admit to being a bit of a google street view tourist.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The root of the problem is not privacy, it is discrimination, human rights problems and how Japanese unwilling to deal with it. Here we go again: Google Earth maps out discrimination against burakumin caste in Japan [].

      This is 2005: UN Independent Investigator Raps Japan for Discrimination []. Quote: "An independent investigator from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights says he will report that discrimination in Japan is "deep and profound....Mr. Doudou Diene told reporters in Tokyo he found no strong political w

    • by jadin ( 65295 )

      If I remember correctly...

      Japan has a history of treating people in 'dirty' jobs as contaminated people. So if you're a garbage collector, fisher-person etc and it's known, it significantly lowers your chances of getting into a college or a better job simply due to this discrimination. The people with 'dirty' jobs generally live in the same area (forced?). Therefore some of these people try to hide the fact that they live in the slums if you will. Google street view somehow was outing people who wanted to k

    • Every time google is covering it ass because it has got caught out, it seems that most Slashdoters think it is perfectly fine. When ever any other company is caught doing something similar it gets roasted.

      I understand that it gives us lots of email storage and a lots of nice services for free. Are we being fair and un-biased?

  • Opt out (Score:5, Funny)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:41AM (#29329441) Homepage Journal

    They could just opt out, as The Onion explains [] how.

    I may need to opt out, as I saw the Google Car south of Moose Jaw as I was driving by. At first I thought it was a car with a bike on top, but then I saw it was a big camera system. I was looking right at it too! And my face has never appeared on the Internet before (while I've been in my car). I'm gravely worried (but not really).

  • Help? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Korbeau ( 913903 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:43AM (#29329451)

    If I understand this correctly, Google (as the main, can we say unique?, search engine out there) will be filtering its service - a neutral search engine - to accommodate other products it owns (street view)?

    Can Google be morally anything other than a search engine?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by siloko ( 1133863 )

      Can Google be morally anything other than a search engine?

      Now that's not a sentence you hear every day, care to explain what it means?

    • So among all the crappy and worthless sites out there (e.g [] ), Google decides to banish those few that offend its mighty self by posting some amusing photos from its own product? If that is not evil it's getting pretty close.
    • by martas ( 1439879 )
      you ask this now, years after they've started filtering results due to DMCA crap?
  • AFAIK, Google publishing pictures with people on without their permission for commercial gain is a breach of privacy laws in various countries (IANAL, so I may have this wrong), so it's putting the world upside down to help people going after the abuse Google themselves have enabled.

    Sorry, no win.

    • They didn't create the problem any more than the yellow pages created a problem. Both services can and will be abused because there will always be someone who's going to be a tit about things.

      Imo, they shouldn't have to do anything unless the site is performing an illegal action then the site should be removed from their search as any other illegal activity should.
      • by cheros ( 223479 )

        What Google has done is the equivalent of putting your name somewhere in Yellow Pages, but not telling you under which category. You won't find it unless you put a lot of effort in, so that's going to be a fun one to explain when you're under "Red Light district, men" and your boss finds it..

        But this is actually minor stuff. Google have done something else that far out-creeps the non-masked faces. Did you notice Google Streetview specifically ENCOURAGES you to zoom in on people's windows? No? Try it, p

        • I assume you mean the square that appears when you mouse over certain areas. I think that is just mean to align with the side of the street for looking at that area. Some how it determines where to do that and sometimes that functionality picks a window. Just like sometimes the face blur misses someone's face but blurs a horse's face or a statue's face.

          Street view isn't that bad. Certainly not as invasive as all the live web cams floating around on the net.

          If anyone wants to commit a crime on your hom
          • by cheros ( 223479 )

            "I think that is just mean to align with the side of the street"

            You may want to just spend 5 seconds trying it out, then you don't have to "assume" anything. You will see it pops up a magnifying glass. There is IMHO zero need for that. Nil. I cannot see anything positive coming from that.

            It's not about "the worst thing that could happen", it's about "least impact on personal lives". I don't know where you live so this may come as a shock, but privacy is actually a fundamental human right:

            Article 12
            No o

            • You're also allowed to take pictures from public areas. The last thing we need are nazi parents deciding where we can take pictures because they're desperate to think their butt ugly child is pretty enough to be pedo bait.

              I've yet to see any picture that shows the inside of someone's house in such a way that would be of any real use to anyone.

              Also I think you want to have a dig at Google just because they're the best. Quite frankly they're not the only ones doing such things. Just because MS opt for a
              • by cheros ( 223479 )

                I love that "you're hitting Google because they're popular" - I think I heard that approach before, from Microsoft. Strange how those two have become so close in both monopoly and disregard, no, disrespect for their users. If MS allows you to zoom in then they need to be taken to task too.

                Let me go back to my original statement, do some research before you speak. Read through the Google Terms of Service (clause 9 giveth, and 11 taketh most of it away), look at what the various privacy and data protection

        • i'd possibly question why my boss was looking up the "Red Light district, men"
  • Help people solve the problem the service created. Now they just need to add a fee for it, and they may have a lucrative service.

    For my part, I think the utility of the street view service is worth whatever minor embarrasment it causes for some people who got their picture taken when in public.

    Google wasn't looking for them, they just happened to be there when Google was taking a picture of what was visible from the public street.

    I don't see how Google can get to control the photo and "stop malicious

  • ...then don't go crying to Google just because their van happened to drive past as you were doing it.

    We all know who the real culprits are here.
  • iie! (Score:2, Funny)

    by JackSpratts ( 660957 )
    this from the country where the national sport is stealing shots of girls' underpants?
    • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
      you forgot the game the little kids play, they run around and shove their finger up your ass
  • Language like "malicious", "illegal", and "abusers" is ridiculous; these are photos taken in public places. If people can see inside your house from the street or you do anything embarrassing, be more careful next time, don't sue other people for your stupidity.

    The Japanese should be particularly sensitive to the rights of photographers, given both their photo industry and how insanely much Japanese tourists snap pictures when they travel around the world.

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