TOKYO -- The use of consumers' online purchase and browsing history without gaining their consent, among other acts, will be subject to regulations against information technology giants, according to an outline of draft regulations under consideration by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), it has been learned.
The draft regulations are aimed at preventing IT giants from collecting and using personal information in an unjust manner by applying the anti-monopoly law to business-to-consumer relations for the first time.
Specifically, the use of personal information by IT giants, dubbed as "platformers" in Japan, without individuals' consent will fall under "abuse of a superior bargaining position" prohibited under the Act on Prohibition of Private Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade. Violators will be subject to a cease and desist order and a surcharge payment order, according to the draft.
Under the draft regulations, all information related to individual consumers will be subject to regulations. Such information includes their names, addresses, history of product purchases and web-browsing, and location information.
The draft regulations are premised on a situation where a small number of IT giants control the market and customers have little choice for alternative services. The JFTC plans to release the proposed regulations as early as August and aims to start implementing them by the end of the year.
(Japanese original by Takashi Narumi, Business News Department)