as published by AFP
A group of Japanese journalists, professors and lawyers demanded Friday that the US Internet search giant Google scrap its "Street View" service in Japan, saying it violates people's privacy.
Google launched Street View in the United States last year, providing pictures of panoramic all-around street-level views at locations on its online maps.
The service was expanded to 12 major cities in Japan in August and six cities in France in October.
The group said it sent a petition to Google's Japanese subsidiary, demanding an end to the Street View service in Japan.
They wrote that Street View "constitutes violent infringement on citizens' privacy by photographing residential areas, including community roads, and publishing their images without the consent of communities and citizens."
They complained that via the Internet, Street View was distributing private information "more easily, widely, massively and permanently than ordinary cameras and surveillance cameras do."
Local municipalities in Tokyo and Osaka have already appealed to the national government to take action against the site.
The Google Japanese unit earlier said it was blurring the faces of people seen in Street View scenes by special technology and that it would delete the pictures of people and buildings upon request.
Japan has stricter protections on privacy in public than in the United States, with Japanese able to stop their pictures from being used against their will.
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