Japan gov't to review guidelines on protection of personal info

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will review its guidelines on protection of personal information possibly from next month in response to the recent outflow of data on customers of Benesse Corp., a major correspondence education provider for children, ministry officials said Friday.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference his ministry will review the guidelines under the 2003 law on the protection of personal information after examining reports from Benesse's investigation into the alleged theft of the in-house data.

The ministry plans to ask companies to appoint one of their executives as an official responsible for management of customer information and may also urge them to set up security cameras at divisions on the management of the customer information, the officials said.

Under the planned review of the guidelines, companies that ask outsiders to manage the data will be required to check the outsiders' security measures on protection of personal information.

The ministry will also likely urge firms to confirm how name-list traders obtained the data if they receive such data from the traders, the officials said.

The ministry plans to send letters to business organizations, such as the Japan Business Federation known as Keidanren, asking corporations to tighten management of personal information.

A systems engineer, identified as 39-year-old Masaomi Matsuzaki, was arrested July 17 for allegedly copying data on some 10 million Benesse customers onto his smartphone on June 17.

A fresh arrest warrant was served on Matsuzaki on Monday on suspicion of stealing data on some 20 million customers of Benesse.