The communications ministry has made clear that it will allow courts to decide whether information about cyberbullies should be released, following requests for such information from victims.
By revising the existing system the ministry aims to simplify procedures through which information about perpetrators of online bullying can be sought, and so ease the burdens of victims. The ministry will produce an outline for a revised system in July.
Under the current system, when cyberbullying victims want to file damages lawsuits against online harassers, they have to first ask the operators of social media services to release the perpetrators’ IP addresses. Those addresses must then be presented to phone carriers to request the disclosure of the harassers’ physical addresses and names.
The proposed new system will allow courts, rather than the operators of virtual communities, to decide under certain conditions whether information about online abusers should be disclosed, according to the ministry’s plan, which was presented at a meeting of a panel of experts on Thursday.
If the courts give the green light, it will be easier for victims to be able to acquire the information they need about abusers in order to file lawsuits.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, experts discussed a proposal to create a system under which social media services operators would be required to store IP addresses and other log data at the request of cyberbullying victims. Log data is typically deleted after a certain period.
In a related development, the ministry has unveiled a plan to add the telephone numbers of those who post online slurs to the range of information that victims are able to demand from social media services operators.
The ministry plans to revise related ministry ordinances in August after taking into account discussions among a panel of experts.