Cease and desist order issued for site listing bankrupt individuals

In the third such case, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PPC) issued a cease and desist order to the operator of a website that discloses data about people who have declared personal bankruptcy.

According to PPC officials, the site opened around September 2020 as an open database of personal bankruptcies that any user could search.

The site operator boasted of having around 1 million listings.

The PPC received complaints from about 150 people who said the website operator asked them to pay about 3,000 yen ($25) each to have their information removed from the bankruptcy list.

The PPC issued the cease and desist order after the operator ignored a February 18 recommendation from the commission to shut down the site to prevent discrimination against people who have filed for bankruptcy.

If the order is also ignored, the PPC will consider filing a criminal complaint against the site operator.

Personal bankruptcy information is published in an official gazette, but the consent of those listed is required before this information can be collected into an Internet database and disseminated to all users.

In March 2019, the PPC issued a request for administrative guidance to the operator of a site that displayed personal bankruptcy information on a map showing where the individual lived. This site was eventually shut down.

In July 2020, the first cease and desist orders were issued to two other website operators who released personal bankruptcy information. The orders resulted in the closure of sites.

(This article was written by Yasuyuki Onaya and Yoshikatsu Nakajima.)

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