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2014 March 5 - 11 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

Gov’t eager to collect personal data using surveillance cameras

March 6, 2014
The national government is taking steps to monitor the general public by using surveillance cameras.

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), an independent administrative institution related to the Communications Ministry, plans to launch an experimental project in April to monitor passersby and accumulate data on their “movements” with video cameras.

According to the plan, the institute is to install in a commercial building at JR Osaka Station a total of about 90 high-fidelity cameras. Then they will create a database of citizens who use the commercial facility by collecting users’ face images and identifying other features such as walking gait. The NICT says each person’s data is managed with ID numbers. This project is to continue for two years.

That day, members of the “anti-surveillance society” group submitted to the NICT and the Communications Ministry a written request seeking a halt to the plan. It points out that such an experiment violates the public’s constitutional right to privacy as well as runs counter to a top court decision which states that “no one shall be photographed against their will”.

Co-representatives of the civic organization held a press conference in Tokyo on the same day. Murai Toshikuni, professor at Osaka Gakuin University, said, “As seen from the example of the state secrets protection law, the authorities want to establish a system to put the public under surveillance. This project is part of that attempt.”

Past related article:
> Unregulated surveillance cameras increasing [May 31, 2013]
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