Japan to consider regulating GAFA under the secrecy of communication

The previous article covered a failure of legislation for piracy website blocking due to legal considerations of constitutionally guaranteed secrecy of communication. Now the secrecy of communication is likely to apply to foreign platform providers, especially to big tech companies called GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple), according to a draft document distributed in an advisory committee meeting which was held on January 21 2019.

The scope of the secrecy of communication covers not only the communication content but also the date and time of the communication, the identification of communication parties, and everything which can be used to infer the semantic contents of the communication. Therefore, it may make an impact on targeted advertising using communication information.

Such regulation has been applied only to companies which have facilities (e.g. servers) in Japan, i.e. domestic companies. However, considering an issue of unequal competitive conditions between domestic companies and foreign companies, as reported here, the government is considering regulating foreign companies in the same way.

By the way, when a user agrees, such use of data does not infringe the secrecy of communication. However, the above draft document also addresses an issue that many users agree any conditions without fully understanding. This issue is not only for platform providers. I believe that many people click [Agree] without carefully reading terms and conditions of software or contents to use them. It might be a good opportunity to reinvent the way of contracting with individuals.

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