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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • MITI to Set Industrial Standard for Privacy Protection
  • March 1, 1999 (TOKYO) — Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry said a new Japanese Industrial Standard, JIS Q 15001, will go into effect March 20 to create privacy protection.
    JIS Q 15001 is to be called “Compliance Program Requirements Regarding the Protection of Personal Data.” The Japanese Industrial Standards Committee formulated the new standard, based on guidelines published by MITI concerning the protection of personal data in the private sector, and on the “Privacy Mark System” which is being promoted by the Japan Information Processing Development Center (JIPDEC).

    JIS are national standards that apply to industrial products and to information processing by computers and other means. Businesses that engage in electronic commerce or Web marketing are included in the JIS scope of applications.

    The new JIS is likely to become a basis for safeguarding customer privacy when conducting business on the Internet.

    For a business to publicly declare compliance with the privacy protection standard, it must first prepare a compliance program as stipulated in the new JIS.

    A compliance program is an operations plan that the business must draw up to ensure that personal data is protected. Under the requirements of the program, the business must appoint someone to be responsible for protecting personal data and must state exactly how personal data will be collected, used, managed and disclosed to third parties.

    The terms of compliance also require the business to provide staff training in handling personal data, and to conduct periodic inspections to ensure that the compliance program is being followed.

    A business that institutes a compliance program can either self-declare conformity with the JIS criteria, or declare compliance on the basis of evaluation by a trading partner or third-party organization that undertakes an audit of the business.

    JIPDEC, as the body responsible for granting privacy marks to certify JIS compliance, is in a position to offer such evaluations, but private-sector enterprises may also offer inspection services as third-party organizations.

    “By setting the criteria for privacy protection as an official national standard, we hope to raise the awareness of businesses and consumers alike in regard to personal information,” said Hiroshi Kuwayama of the Management System Standards Division, Standards Department, Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, MITI.

    MITI will actively promote the new JIS among online merchants, since allaying consumer fears about electronic transactions is a prime concern of businesses trading on the Internet. However, for online merchants who operate as individuals, setting up a compliance program as required by the new standard will be a difficult hurdle and MITI will likely have a tough time getting businesses to accept the new standard.

    Related stories:
    ¥ Online Shopper Numbers Stall in Japan: Nikkei Multimedia Survey
    ¥ Electronic Settlements Become Customer-Oriented Services

    (Nikkei Multimedia)

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