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Railway Company Apologies for Sharing PII

TRAVELERS’ PRIVACY—JAPAN

July 30, 2013

Japan’s national railway system has apologized for sharing its passengers’ travel habits and other personal information with a pre-paid fare card system without user consent, The Wall Street Journal reports. East Japan Railway admitted to selling the data to Suica—one of the pre-paid card businesses. The data included card holders’ ID numbers, ages, genders and where and when passengers got on and off the train. A transportation ministry official, however, said they will not investigate the issue for privacy violations because the railway company “told us that it wasn’t personal information, as it didn’t include names and addresses of users.” The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is looking into the issue and has set up a team to research the matter, the report states. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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