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HOME > Public Statements and Opinion Papers > Opinion Papers > Opinion on Internet Map Retrieval Systems Containing Numerous Images of People and Residences

Opinion on Internet Map Retrieval Systems Containing Numerous Images of People and Residences

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January 22, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations

Main Points

  1. Regarding internet-based map retrieval systems, on which numerous images of people and residences can be viewed, it is illegal to publicize comprehensive images of large numbers of people, which have been taken without their consent. This is so, unless the necessity and social utility of such photography and publication is beyond the right of privacy and the right of publicity of the people subjected to such photography and publication. When there is no third-party body independent from administrative organs to assess the impact of such services on privacy, the services should not be extended to cover new areas. As regards the areas which have already been publicized, the Council on Protection of Personal Information in the respective local governments should conduct a post-investigation similar to that mentioned below in 2.-2), and its decision should be respected.
  2. The following amendments should be made to the Act on the Protection of Personal Information as well as to prefectural ordinances on the protection of personal information. Until the amendments are made, the operation of the Act and ordinances should be improved accordingly.
    1. ) A third-party body independent from administrative organs should be established, which is authorized to research and monitor the protection of privacy, and in the case that there is a possible infringement of privacy, recommend taking corrective actions.
    2. ) Any person who wishes to take photographs of more than a certain number of people and residences in public places such as public roads for the purpose of publishing the photographs on a map searching system should consult the third-party body in advance and upon receipt of the request for consultation, the third-party body should assess the impact of the publication on privacy to determine whether the necessity and social utility of such photography and publication outweighs the right of privacy and the right of publicity.
    3. ) Until the establishment of such a third-party body, the Consumer Commission set up by the government and the Council on Protection of Personal Information of each local government should deal with this matter.