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    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    Reuters - Japanese group asks Google to stop map service

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    Japanese group asks Google to stop map service

    Friday, Dec 19, 2008 5:47PM UTC

    TOKYO (Reuters) - A group of Japanese lawyers and professors asked on Friday that Google Inc stop providing detailed street-level images of Japanese cities on the Internet, saying they violated privacy rights.

    Google's Street View offers ground-level, 360-degree views of streets in 12 Japanese cities and is also offered for some 50 cities in the United States and certain areas in Europe.

    The service allows Web users to drive down a street, in a virtual sense, using their mouse to adjust views of roadside scenery.

    "We strongly suspect that what Google has been doing deeply violates a basic right that humans have," Yasuhiko Tajima, a professor of constitutional law at Sophia University in Tokyo, told Reuters by telephone.

    "It is necessary to warn society that an IT giant is openly violating privacy rights, which are important rights that the citizens have, through this service."

    The Campaign Against Surveillance Society, a Japanese civilian group that Tajima heads, wants Google to stop providing its Street View service of Japanese cities and delete all saved images.

    Google's office in Tokyo was unable to comment immediately.

    Privacy concerns about Google's service have grown in Japanese media, especially after some people discovered their images on Street View.

    Similar concerns have been raised in other parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

    In one case, a woman was shown sunbathing and in another a man was pictured exiting a strip club in San Francisco.

    In March, Google said it would comply with a Pentagon request to remove some online images from Street View over fears they posed a security threat to U.S. military bases.

    Web-based Google Maps and a related computer-based service called Google Earth have drawn criticism from a variety of countries for providing images of sensitive locations, such as military bases or potential targets of terror attacks.

    (Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

    Reuters - U.S. says go slow in expanding .com on the Web

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    U.S. says go slow in expanding .com on the Web

    Friday, Dec 19, 2008 6:19PM UTC

    By Kim Dixon

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government urged Internet standard-setters to move slowly on a proposal to relax rules on domain names such as .com or .edu, over concerns about economic costs and security.

    The nonprofit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, earlier this year voted to relax the rules on so-called top-level domain names, or TLDs, the suffixes, such as the ubiquitous .com, .net and .org, among others.

    Easing the rules could pave the way for companies or individuals to create an array of new addresses for the Web, but the U.S. government said Icann must ensure that introduction of a slew of new names "will not jeopardize the stability and security" of the Internet domain name system.

    "It is unclear that the threshold question of whether the potential consumer benefits outweigh the potential costs has been adequately addressed," the U.S. Department of Commerce, said in a letter to Icann dated December 18.

    Currently, there are more than 200 TLDs, which also include the two-character country codes used by Web sites, such as Britain's .uk.

    Under the proposed system, individuals, companies or groups could apply to have any string of letters established as a domain name. It could be a vanity name, for example -- .smith -- or a category name like .sports or .perfume.

    A company could also change its domain to reflect its brand, so Apple.com could become Apple.mac, for instance.

    VeriSign Inc now owns the registry for .com and net domain names.

    For a company to become such a registry, it would need to apply to Icann, which coordinates the Internet's naming system, at a fee expected to cost more than $100,000.

    The U.S. said Icann needs to prove it can handle a potentially huge influx of applications and how it will police issues related to intellectual property rights.

    (Editing by Andre Grenon)

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