AAAI Publications, 2010 AAAI Spring Symposium Series

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The Distinction between "Privacy" and "Personal Information" – Issues of Personal Information Protection Act in Japan
Yeyoung Chang

Last modified: 2010-03-23


It seems that the relation of the concept of privacy and the concept of the personal information are misunderstood. The privacy comes from the personality, and it is a normative concept. On the other hand, personal information is a fact about each individual. In Japan, Privacy protection is often confused with personal data protection when talking about the Internet. But the leakage of personal information is not privacy infringement per se.

Because of this confusion, now in Japan, when collecting and using all kind of information, it is demanded to obtain the individual's consent for the use and processing of personal data. There may be the risk that regulating excessively with all information concerning the person without using the term of privacy at all. Such an excessive regulation may hinder the corporate and public activities.

It should then be distinguished ‘the use of personal information which does not infringe someone’s privacy’ from ‘the use of the information relating to the privacy’. And only ‘privacy-related information’ should be the subject matter of the Personal Information Protection Act of Japan from the standpoint of a smooth circulation of information. Of course, basically the individual’s consent should be required, but the high chance of being sued for every activity concerning the processing of information by excessive regulation is an issue that should be solved soon.


Privacy; Personal Information; Japan

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