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Japan adopts bill to tighten personal data rules

  • March 10, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 5:56 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, March 10 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government adopted Tuesday a bill requiring companies to obtain consent from users when handing over personal data, such as internet browsing history, to third parties.

The bill, approved at a cabinet meeting, requires consent when it is clear that the data can be traced to individuals by third parties.

The bill to revise the Act on the Protection of Personal Information comes after Recruit Career Co., the operator of the “Rikunabi” job information website, was found to have sold data predicting the odds of job-hunting students declining informal job offers. The data were based on personal information such as internet browsing history.

The bill also makes it easier for individuals to demand that businesses stop using their data. Under current laws, users can only seek to have the use of their personal information stopped or have such information deleted if the company is at fault, including when the data are acquired fraudulently.

The revision allows users to make demands for stopping the use of their data when their personal rights and interests are at risk of being harmed, such as when data are stored even after the company has finished using them for the stated purposes.

Elsewhere, the bill calls for the pseudonymization of data, in which names and other personal information are replaced with markers.

The use of the technology will be limited to internal use in companies, such as for research and development. It will be exempt from the requirement to meet users’ demands for companies to stop using their data, thereby encouraging innovation in the company.

Punishments for failing to follow warnings by the government’s Personal Information Protection Commission will be raised, with the upper limit on fines for corporations spiking to 100 million yen, from the current ceiling of 300,000 yen.

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