New Google Privacy Policy Has Japan Concerned


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Everybody is getting so worked up over the new Google privacy policy that’s going live today. First it was the European Union and the FTC who came out against it and now it seems that Japan doesn’t like it that much either.

The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications posted a notification to Google yesterday in regards to its new privacy policy. While the Web site is in Japanese, thanks to the power of Google translate we can get an idea of what the Japanese government is concerned about.

The two things that the Japanese government seems most concerned about when it comes to Google’s privacy policy is the collection of user data for use by third parties and protecting confidentiality.

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The first concern is related to a data protection law in Japan called the Personal Information Protection Act or Law no. 57 of 2003. The basic purpose of the law, according to Jones Day, is to “protect the rights and interests of individuals while taking consideration of the usefulness of personal information, in view of a remarkable increase in the use of personal information due to development of the advanced information and communications society.”

The other law in question is the Telecommunications Business Law from 1984. The article of the law that seems to be most concerned with the new privacy policy is article four - protection of secrecy.

(1) The secrecy of communications being handled by a telecommunications carrier shall not be violated.
(2) Any person engaged in the telecommunications business shall, while in office, maintain the secrets of others that have come to be known with respect to communications being handled by the telecommunications carrier. The same shall apply even after this person's retirement from office.

It doesn’t appear that Google is actually breaking any laws yet in regards to Japan. The government is just concerned that the new privacy policy may present conflicts in the future.

The Tokyo Times is reporting that the Japanese government has asked Google to “prepare clear explanations of the new rules and be ready to answer promptly user questions, even after the new policy is introduced.”

Google is confident that their new privacy policy is compliant with Japanese law, the company said in a statement to The Next Web. The company did say, however, that it will be “happy to continue discussions in Japan and with regulators globally.”

It seems that Google will be doing just that as it rolls out the new privacy policy. Expect more reactions and statements from people, big and small, around the world as the Google’s privacy policy sinks in.

You can be sure that we’ll be covering it. Follow any and all new developments at our Google Privacy page.