A civic group has requested that the planned two-year research project at the Osaka Station featuring facial recognition software be stopped as it violates the right to privacy of the public. The project is an initiative of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and is supposed to improve the evacuation process by studying people’s movements and behavior at the train station.
One of the members of the group is Yasuhiko Tajima, a law professor at Sophia University. He says that their aim is to stop Japan from becoming a “surveillance society” and for this issue, they’ve already written to the institute as well as to the West Japan Railway Co, the operator of the train station. During the press conference, he stated that this project will violate the Constitution’s guarantee to the right to privacy. “Indiscriminate videotaping in a public place itself is a problem,” he said.
The project is supposed to start next month and the 90 cameras have already been installed around Osaka Station City, including the train station itself as well as the commercial complex adjacent to it. The institute has guaranteed that they will make sure that when they process the video, individuals will not be identified and their privacy will be protected. They will also be forming a third-party committee and get outside consultants to help them conduct the project. JR West for its part, said “In order not to cause worries and anxieties among people using the station, we would like to discuss matters with the institute.”
[ via Mainichi ]