Dec 232012
 December 23, 2012  Posted by  Non-U.S.

An editorial in The Japan Times indicates that Japan is also recognizing privacy concerns about  the use of facial recognition cameras in shopping areas or for marketing. Even though images may not be stored, their potential for misuse remains and needs to be addressed. From their editorial:

Regulating how to inform people and how permission can be granted are important issues that government agencies should start working on immediately.

The guidelines under the Protection of Personal Information Law in Japan state that camera images are part of individuals’ personal information. However, no ministry or agency has yet to sufficiently establish a set of rules concerning privacy issues related to visual information.

Visual data connected to one’s identity deserve just as much protection as other personal information. Already, lawmakers and advocates in the U.S. are calling for regulation of this new technology. Japan should address the issue in line with its own laws and regulations.

Thus far, there is nothing yet to restrict corporations from profiting from anyone’s secretly obtained biometric information or from disseminating that information without the person’s consent. Even though companies may not be able to use the image of a person, they can use all the other data suggested within that image. Stronger regulations should be established for when, why and how that information may be, or, better yet, may not be, used.

I suspect that Japanese legislators will deal with this issue before we do here, and they will come up with laws that are more privacy protective than our Congress passes. It will be interesting to see what those laws look like.

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