Japanese astronaut takes censored photographs to space station

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    Astronaut Koichi Wakata is in the process of becoming the first Japanese person to complete a long duration mission on the International Space Station. While he’s there, he’ll be conducting a lot of research, including an important experiments that could make life on the space station a lot less stinky.

    Before going up into space, he asked his hometown to provide him with something to take into space. They gave him a DVD containing the photographs of every student at the city’s elementary and junior high schools. However, Wakata will be unable to see the faces of the children because they have been censored as a privacy protection measure:


    ….over fears of a possible data leak, six museum staff spent a month blurring the faces of the children in the photos in order to protect their identities. Wakata will return the DVD to the city upon his return to earth

    Lawyer Hisamichi Okamura, a specialist in the field of personal information security and an affiliate professor at the National Institute of Informatics, said the action was excessive.

    “If the school had a month to process the images, it could’ve used the time to obtain consent from students’ parents,” said Okamura. “The children’s dreams have been spoiled.”

    An elementary school principal agreed, wondering: “Is that much protection of personal information necessary?”

    However, the 44-year-old mother of one student said, “Some parents don’t want their children’s faces shown even in school newsletters. I think it was an appropriate precaution.”


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