Business / Corporate

Yahoo Japan to give health ministry data on potential coronavirus clusters

Jiji

Yahoo Japan Corp. has announced it will provide data on potential clusters of coronavirus infections to the health ministry.

The internet portal said it will analyze users’ location information, as well as their search and purchase histories, to identify areas with suspected clusters.

The health ministry is to then use the data to optimize the allocation of medical staff and enhance its health consultation system.

The company said Monday it will only hand over data from users who have consented to the program. The ministry is to receive only post-analysis data, so the government won’t be able to identify individual users.

Yahoo Japan began seeking cooperation in the coronavirus prevention initiative from users who have already agreed to give the company their location information. It will begin analyzing data once the number of consenting users reaches a certain level.

In another data-gathering effort, the health ministry has been cooperating with free messaging app provider Line Corp. The company is surveying its users on their health conditions and interactions with people infected with the virus. The results of the survey are handed over to the ministry in a form that reportedly does not allow individual identification.

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