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Japan to tighten rules on handling of browsing history data

  • December 14, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 6:40 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Dec. 14 (Jiji Press)–A Japanese government commission has proposed tightening rules on the provision of browsing history data, which can be used as personal information, to a third party.

The government’s Personal Information Protection Commission made the proposal as part of an outline it compiled on Friday for revising the country’s personal information protection law.

Browser cookies, which store data on users’ internet activities, are widely used by companies to put online advertisements that reflect each user’s likes and tastes.

Under the current law, such data are not regarded as personal information unless they can lead to personal identification when viewed in combination with other data such as membership information.

Out of concern that companies might use such data to identify individuals, the commission’s outline calls for making it obligatory to obtain the consent of people to the provision of their data to a third party when it is clear that their data can be used as personal information.

Meanwhile, the commission did not propose imposing levies on companies violating the information protection law, apparently reflecting the business world’s cautious stance toward such a measure.

The outline also seeks to tighten regulations on overseas firms, as distribution of information has become increasingly globalized. The plan would enable Japanese authorities to make overseas companies handling personal information in Japan file reports, to give orders to them and to carry out on-site inspections on them.

In addition, the outline included a measure to allow disclosure of the names of companies that disobey government orders.

The government plans to draw up a bill to revise the personal information protection law based on the outline and submit it to the next year’s ordinary parliamentary session that is expected to start next month.

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