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.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.