Internet Law Research Group

The Internet Law Research Group is a multi-disciplinary team that focuses on the “software” of the Internet.  The group is led by Professor Fumio Shimpo, who is one of Japan’s leading experts on privacy and is currently a member of the government advisory committee that is drafting revisions to Japan’s personal information law.

The committee recently released an outline of their deliberations to date, which included a recommendation to create a “new supervisory agency” to oversee privacy compliance – most importantly in the burgeoning area of big data.

The Internet Law Research Group serves as a platform for articulating existing global policy standards to the Japanese government. Through extensive simulations and engagement with the public/private sector representatives, the group is responsible for understanding how existing best practices can be adopted for Japan, and applied to the Asia region at-large.

The Internet Law Research Group has some 40 graduate and undergraduate students involved in supporting Professor Shimpo’s advocacy activities.  Current research topics include:

  • Issues associated with paid blogs, explicit content, and online gambling.
  • The “right to be forgotten.”
  • Intellectual Property Right challenges associated with 3-D fabrication.
  • Digital rights and e-books.
  • Management of electronic health records.
  • Comparative studies of national digital ID systems.
  • The role of the Internet in political campaigns.

A major focus of the Group’s activities is Keio University’s Open Research Forum (ORF), an annual event that centers on technical and policy challenges associated with the Internet in Japan and globally.

Professor Shimpo is the vice-chair of the OECD group on privacy and played an instrumental role during the deliberations on the 2013 OECD Guidelines on Privacy and the Transborder Flow of Data.

The Internet Law Research Group is currently working to have these reflected in the provisions of Japan’s new privacy framework legislation, which is scheduled for submission for Diet deliberations in early 2015.