Japan Today
Image: Pakutaso

Japanese city loses residents’ personal data, which was on paper being transported on a windy day

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The Aichi prefectural government has issued an official apology for improper handling of the personal data of 121 resident households. The incident took place on April 19 and involved data pertaining to residents of government assisted housing at four buildings under the jurisdiction of the Prefectural Public Housing Division.

However, the data was neither leaked by an unscrupulous worker nor stolen by hackers. Instead it was taken by the wind.

As part of the regular administration of the government housing program, data needed to be transferred from a public corporation office to the Aichi prefectural government capital building in Nagoya. Unfortunately, this data was stored on physical media, which, as we’ve seen before, can cause problems for Japanese government agencies. There was the time, for example, when the Tokyo police department lost citizens’ data that they’d stored on floppy discs, or that other time when a city employee in Hyogo Prefecture got drunk, passed out, and lost a USB memory stick with residents’ personal information on it.

The Aichi government’s blunder was even more old-school, however, as it was carrying out its data transfer by physically transporting 1,696 pieces of paper, placed inside a cardboard box. What’s more, they upped the degree of difficulty by opting to transport the box in a handcart and having someone walk it over, out on the streets, to its destination, instead of driving it over. Oh, and they decided to do this on a day with strong winds.

The silent-era comedy movie setup was, it seems, too much for fate to resist. Before the public corporation employee who was pushing the cart reached the capital building, the cart tipped over and the box opened up as it tumbled out. Though the worker attempted to grab the documents, two hands aren’t nearly enough to snatch 1,696 papers, and many blew away. The search for scattered documents continued until sunset, at which point the Aichi government began contacting affected residents to inform them of the data leak/blow-away. The search continued for two more days, but without all of the documents being recovered.

According to the statement from the Aichi government, the documents included the government housing residents’ names (the leaseholder, in the case of families) and “rent” for the month of April, ostensibly referring to written records of the amount residents paid, since no mention has been made of cash being lost in the incident.

No improper use of the lost data has been discovered at this time, and in addition to issuing an apology the Aichi prefectural government says it plans to switch to digital records for this part of housing administration process, which will allow them to transfer data without any weather or cart balance concerns.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun via Livedoor News via Jin, Chunichi Shimbun, Aichi Prefectural Government

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Personal information of everyone in Amagasaki City lost by person who passed out drunk on street

-- Buying Japanese concert tickets may get even harder for foreign tourists with new government plan

-- Japanese government, please stop using floppy discs, politician asks

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Can't decide if it's good due diligence or insanity they spent 2 days searching for the papers. Wonder how many additional pages they saved.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I love the image they chose for this article

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Just imagine carrying papers without any box during typhon season in Japan.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Japan 2024 data transfer rate: 5kph

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

The idea that physical media is insecure and digital is safe is complete rubbish. It is much easier to take much more data from local authorities, more quickly, remotely, and then lock up systems with ransomware than access physical materials locked in a store cupboard. Physical is usually much more secure, unless you are complete numpties and schlep it about in a handcart on a windy day.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

lol. When people ask me if Japan is really the high-tech nation that the stereotype talks of, I like to send news articles like this one.

No, in many ways, Japan is very much a low-tech nation. :)

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Perish the thought that a mere open window could bring Japan's entire bearacratic edifice to its very knees.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It's blowin in the wind, the residents' data is blowin in the wind.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

bad bad wind.

this is just-insane.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The funny thing is, my friends and relatives overseas believe I have been living in a high-tech wonderland for decades. They just wouldn't believe this if I told them.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

As long as it does not end in the hands of ill

-intentioned foreign spies….

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So this is what "hell in a handcart" means!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is regrettable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's an ill wind, innit?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

High teck Japan?

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Japan really is starting to turn into the new laughing stock, and rightfully so.

Again, time's up. Pretty much every individual in a position of high authority in this country needs to be fired, now. They either continue coddling old people at the expense of their civilization or revitalize their society by rebuilding everything from the ground up in a modern fashion.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

the cart tipped over and the box opened up as it tumbled out. 

so the box (boxes?) wasn't even taped up or sealed in anyway...............

people ask me if Japan is really the high-tech nation

it's not so much that it isn't a "high-tech" nation, the tech is THERE.

It's just the low amounts of logic and common sense in people (mainly the powers that be,) that is hurting things.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Was the fax machine broken? Or the Floppy Disc reader malfunctioning? Perhaps the USB reader cable is no longer compatible to its intended reader? Knowing how things are done here, I think the authorities are still on the 8th round of meeting before they decide if they will use digital media on handling sensitive documents.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

The sad part of this funny story is that it does not surprise any of us living in Japan for a while.

having said that, it can happen to anyone. I am also not the most practical guy in the world.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Civil servants…not surprised.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At least use a proper safe, not an unsecured box...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

121 resident households

At least it wasn't millions of people's data.

Anyone else think the dull copy-boy to was doing the transportation? Perhaps a cardboard box with a rock on top?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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