Business / Corporate

Ministry says Recruit Career acted illegally in Rikunabi data scandal and demands corrective steps

JIJI, Staff Report

The labor ministry said Friday it had issued administrative guidance to Recruit Career Co. for selling to its clients web browsing data predicting the odds of job-hunting students declining informal job offers, without the students’ consent.

The ministry determined that selling the data violated the employment security law. The guidance was issued through the Tokyo Labor Bureau.

The ministry said providing such information to companies before hiring decisions were made and without the students knowledge, in a situation where students gave no consent or had no choice but to give consent, weakened the students’ position, and had a withering effect on their job-hunting activities. On that basis it demanded that Recruit Career take corrective steps.

The ministry also called for appropriate handling of student information by industry groups.

Recruit Career used artificial intelligence to analyze data collected from students who browsed its Rikunabi job information website, to calculate the probability of them declining informal job offers. It’s not clear how any data on students declining informal offers was sourced. The data was sold to 38 companies, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

According to Recruit Career, the companies that purchased the information promised they would never use it to make hiring decisions and no firms broke the promise.

The Tokyo Labor Bureau carried out on-site inspections at Recruit Career and has investigated the matter.

“While closely watching how improvement progresses (at Recruit Career), we’ll take the measures needed so that appropriate business operations are secured,” labor minister Takumi Nemoto told a news conference.

Meanwhile, the ministry will continue its probe of companies that bought the students’ data, and carefully determine whether such purchases violated the law.

In a similar development on Aug. 26, the government’s Personal Information Protection Committee urged Recruit Career to take corrective steps.

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