May 21st, 2015- The Lower House passed proposals to revise the Act on the Protection of Personal Information and the “My Number” law, with support from all major parties except for the Communists. The bills will now go the Upper House for consideration.
The revisions to the personal information act expands the definition of protected personal data to include information, such as drivers license and passport numbers that can be used to identify a particular individual. It also establishes a Data Protection Authority (DPA) that will set guidelines for the use of anonymized data.
The so-called “My Number” Act establishes a national ID system that will initially be used for tax enforcement and pension services, but may be expanded for use in the national health care system and in education.
Last Word :
The revisions to the personal information act are nearly ten years overdue and are expected to facilitate the use of “big data” in Japan. Effective administration of the law, however, will depend on the efficacy of the guidelines set by the new DPA, which will be formally launched next year. There promises to be a great deal of controversy about the national ID system, particularly in the wake of the discovery of a massive leakage of pension names, numbers and other information involving over 1.25 million persons.
Source: Nikkei BP (Japanese)
Image Source: Cabinet Office, Government of Japan