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Japan to introduce tighter rules for tech giants to protect customers

17 Comments

Japan's antitrust watchdog said Thursday it has compiled draft guidelines for tighter regulations of technology giants to strengthen customers' data protection, as it aims to introduce the first such rules as early as October.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission said the guidelines are designed to address criticism against major tech companies such as Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Google LLC for obtaining personal data by making use of their "superior bargaining position."

These companies are facing growing criticism that they are discouraging new companies from entering the market by monopolizing customer data through their platforms to bolster their competitive positions.

The new guidelines will be applied to companies providing services of online shopping, social media, search engines and video, music and apps distribution, the commission said.

The regulators will apply the antimonopoly law for the first time to business practice between a company and customers to protect consumers' privacy.

The commission stipulates those tech giants are in "a superior bargaining position" when customers have no choice but to provide their data to use services.

Obtaining personal data such as location and purchase records without giving full notification of the purpose of use to consumers will be regarded as an abuse of a superior bargaining position.

Using such information without proper data management will also be deemed as an unfair trade practice, the watchdog said.

The guidelines, to be finalized after soliciting public comments through Sept 30, were drawn up after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called on the government to impose tighter rules on tech giants to improve their privacy policy and to clarify the rules of transactions with smaller vendors.

The government aims to enact a new law next year to ensure transparency in business transactions with major tech companies.

Other countries including the United States are also stepping up scrutiny over tech giants to assess whether they are engaging in practices that could undermine fair competition, stifle innovation or harm consumers.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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The only one who is going to get protected would be the tech giants from competition. Tech giants love regulations, because they are the only one who can comply with them, while the small start ups can't, and on top of that, the newly established bureaucratic agency will be bribed into oblivious, just as every other one who serves the interests of the industry, and not the customers. Google the big pharma and FDA revolving door. There will be another revolving door soon between the agency responsible for regulating big tech, and big tech themselves.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Amazon pays 0 in taxes even with profits of $11 billion in 2018. They would love that type of regulation.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Are rakuten and softbank not tech giants in Japan?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Rakuten is a considered a tech company. Softbank is considered a Mobile services provider that also partakes in the tech industry. Tech companies are too currently too big to be controlled.

The only one who is going to get protected would be the tech giants from competition

Most tech companies today simply get created in hopes of being bought out by the bigger tech companies. Working under the banner of a Google or Facebook helps make the job easier for startups. When you are a start up and a company suddenly throws $100M or more at you to work under their name which would also give you brand recognition in the market, its hard to say no. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google (Alphabet) are in a race to see which company can be the first company valued at $1T. Apple used to be in the race but has seen its market share shrink continuously over the past 3 years and has fallen out of the $700B club after once being valued at almost $800B.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All of these companies are threats, but when the government steps in to "protect us" it's basically one gang taking over the turf of another gang. Regular people will still be exploited, only the government gets their cut and things get worse.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

These tech companies are kind a like China, a monster we have willingly FED & then realize they have gotten too big & powerful & we don't know what to do.

I have been saying for years that people GIVING away their data for supposed FREE services will come back & bite is all in the A$$, its been biting us all for a while now.

And on top of that they scam most countries out of paying fair taxes MUCH WORSE than manufacturing types of businesses

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Are rakuten and softbank not tech giants in Japan?

How about action to reduce mobile hug basic charges which are big headache for users just for nothing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan to introduce tighter rules for tech giants to protect customers

Protect customers? BS, so why the customers in Japan are not protected from overpriced vegetables and fruits or any fresh food, overpriced rents and abuse from owners, unfair taxing, and abuse of position of Japanese companies? Seems to me more like a disguised measure of protectionism to help Japanese companies who have miserably failed in tech.

 were drawn up after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party called on the government to impose tighter rules on tech giants to improve their privacy policy 

Hypocrites! They did not say the same when T Card's operator, Cultural Convenience Club, has admitted for providing its members’ personal information to police and prosecutors without court approval and users' consent. And in fact what about the willingness with which Japanese businesses hand over their customers' personal data to law enforcement agencies that is the voluntary transfers of such data to police and other agencies from many of Japan's biggest companies?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The commission stipulates those tech giants are in "a superior bargaining position" when customers have no choice but to provide their data to use services.

Yep. That and other BS terms of service where we either submit or get left in the cold. Online postings need to be protected from power tripping, unscrupulous, intolerant, biased and agenda pushing moderators for example.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Protect customers? BS, so why the customers in Japan are not protected from overpriced vegetables and fruits or any fresh food, overpriced rents and abuse from owners, unfair taxing, and abuse of position of Japanese companies? Seems to me more like a disguised measure of protectionism to help Japanese companies who have miserably failed in tech.

Precisely, was just about to say the same but your comment says it all. Thats what its about . Plus 1.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Amazon, Microsoft, and Google (Alphabet) are in a race to see which company can be the first company valued at $1T. Apple used to be in the race but has seen its market share shrink continuously over the past 3 years and has fallen out of the $700B club after once being valued at almost $800B.

Well Amazon is currently valued at 883.45B, Apple at 944.51B, and Microsoft at 1.054T is already over the $1T mark.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wouldn’t call Rakuten a tech giant. I would call them a ‘wanna be’ tech giant.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wouldn’t call Rakuten a tech giant. I would call them a ‘wanna be’ tech giant.

The question was whether they aren't in Japan? Globally maybe wanna-be as you say. In J-land Rakuten is a Tech giant.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some Japanese may like Rakuten but personally I never use them as I believe their UI sucks, is too cluttered, hard to navigate and generally non-intuitive.

Full disclosure - I have another major grudge against them in that they brought Barcelona over to Japan this summer and all their advertising showed Messi & Suarez. I paid over 50k for 2 tickets and neither of them bothered to show up. 

This may be seen as harsh, but despite dressing like him, Mikitani is no Steve Jobs. He is very rich though...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese websites SUCK, unless it's a company owned by a foreign group. Amazon.jp, for example, is not that bad, but Rakuten and Yahoo, among others, are absolute nightmares to navigate sometimes because they are overly convoluted, ugly, and nonsensical in their organisation. And that's not mentioning the fields you enter information in, which are infuriating.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Put in a gross revenue minimum for compliance to let small tech companies grow without the regulations. Have cutoff adjusted annually by govt cost of living calculations.

Make tracking illegal if you aren't signed into the specific service.

Users shouldn't be forced to have a central account with the giants (like gmail account) to fully use any of the services. youtube or Hangouts or Docs or Voice or Maps or the Android play store. There are probably 20 other google services tied to a gmail account. That is a barrier to entry when google gets to see all that traffic for 3rd party logins.

For Facebook, separate accounts for Whatsapp, Instagram, facebook, whatever (I don't use FB stuff).

Amazon Shopping doesn't have any non-paid customers. If you don't want them to know stuff about you, don't shop there.

Avoiding Apple's tracking is trivial. Don't buy apple products or rent media from them. Apple doesn't sell media, they rent it.

If you buy IoT stuff, like voice controlled speakers, you've signed up to be listened to and all those behaviors saved forever. If you don't like it, don't buy the toys.

Japan could put in a mandate to allow customers to have customer data deleted every 30 days - automatically and manually as desired. Same for govt data that is slurped up for no specific reason, like license plate readers and facial recognition.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

...the shredder is over there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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