Japan’s communications ministry is expected to start preparing to apply domestic privacy regulations to US IT giants. Japanese telecoms and IT firms want Japan’s telecommunications business law to cover US-based Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, known collectively as GAFA. They argue that not doing so gives their foreign competitors an unfair advantage.

Carriers are prohibited by law from looking at the content of mails without users’ consent. In principle, the law doesn’t cover the four US firms, which don’t have data centers or communications bases in Japan.  The communications ministry plans to apply what is known as the extraterritorial application provision to regulate firms based abroad.

This means the four IT giants will have to get users’ consent before displaying selective ads based on e-mails and other telecommunications logs, just like Japanese firms.  The government plans to consider reviewing the anti-monopoly law and other legal provisions to level the playing field between GAFA and Japanese telecom and IT firms.

Source: NHK