Business / Corporate

Japan considers applying domestic privacy rules to global tech giants

JIJI

A communications ministry panel says Japan should consider a legal revision so it can impose “secrecy of communications” rules on overseas-based technology giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.com.

The panel of experts released the finding Monday in a draft list of issues related to applying domestic privacy protection rules to global information technology giants.

The draft calls for studying ways to enforce the rules on global tech businesses, including requiring them to station agents in Japan.

The panel is due to finalize the draft by June and submit it to a special commission under the ministry’s Information and Communications Council, with the intention of getting the telecommunications business law revised during fiscal 2020.

Under the law, domestic companies are already banned from viewing or leaking the content of emails and other communications without users’ consent.

But global firms with key server computers, data centers and other facilities outside Japan are not covered by the rule. There are concerns about lack of transparency in their use of personal location, shopping and other data for expanding businesses.

Late last year, the government compiled a basic policy on regulating global technology giants. The Fair Trade Commission is considering a compulsory investigation of them under the antimonopoly law.