Juki Net doesn’t violate privacy: Saitama court

Kyodo

The Saitama District Court turned down a suit Friday filed by six citizens who were demanding that their personal data be struck from the Juki Net public database on citizen identification, saying the data were needed for administrative purposes.

Presiding Judge Toshikuni Kondo also rejected the plaintiffs’ demand for 220,000 yen each in damages.

“The Juki Net is needed for administration. There is no substantial danger of data leakage to third parties,” he said in the ruling. “The operation of the network does not represent an unlawful infringement of privacy rights.”

The suit was filed in April 2003 by the plaintiffs in Saitama Prefecture against the central and local governments as well as the Tokyo-based operator of the network, the Local Authorities Systems Development Center.

The plaintiffs claimed the Juki Net, which contains information about a person’s name, address, date of birth and gender, infringes upon their privacy in violation of the Constitution.

Under the Juki Net, started in August 2002, each person gets an 11-digit code and local authorities have access to the database.

The plaintiffs argued in the proceedings that the registry system violates their personal rights because it constitutes government control over personal information and there is a strong risk of privacy being violated by leaks and misuse of the information.

The suit is one of 15 against the Juki Net filed with 13 district courts.

So far at that level, only the Kanazawa District Court, in Ishikawa Prefecture, has sided with plaintiffs, in a May 2005 ruling.

But on Dec. 11, the Nagoya High Court overturned the Kanazawa District Court’s ruling and declared the Juki Net does not infringe on privacy rights or violate the Constitution’s Article 13, which guarantees the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.