Friday, March 7, 2008

Supreme Court: Residents Registration Network and Right to Privacy

"The Supreme Court concluded Thursday that the Basic Residents Registration Network, or Juki Net, did not violate the registered residents' right to privacy, reversing an Osaka High Court decision that the network violated the Constitution.

"Three residents of Moriguchi and Suita cities in Osaka Prefecture had demanded their personal data be removed from the network because they claimed the network violated their constitutional right to privacy.

"Presiding Judge Norio Wakui said in his ruling Thursday, "There is no technical or legal risk of residents' personal information being leaked to third parties beyond local governments' administrative purposes. So their right to privacy is not being violated."

"About 60 similar lawsuits over the network have been brought in courts across the nation, and lower courts have handed down conflicting rulings over the issue.

"However, the first ruling given Thursday by the Supreme Court likely will bring an end to the disputes, while also sending a clear signal to three municipal governments--Suginami Ward and Kunitachi in Tokyo and Yamatsurimachi in Fukushima Prefecture--that have refrained from joining the network.

"The ruling concluded that information registered in the network to confirm residents' identities, such as names, birthdays and addresses, were not highly confidential.

"It also added that there was no specific threat to the safety of the network due to the following reasons:

-- The registered data are unlikely to be leaked outside the network as a result of illegal access.

-- Civil servants are to be disciplined and criminally punished if they use the data for purposes other than those legally allowed or leak them.

-- Various measures to protect the registered data, including the establishment of prefectural government panels to ensure protection, have been taken.

"The plaintiffs claimed they were retaining their constitutional right to decide how their personal information was handled.

"However, the top court ruled that the use and management of residents' personal identification data without their permission by an administrative body did not violate the Constitution.

"The Osaka District Court rejected the plaintiffs' demands, but the Osaka High Court reversed the decision, saying the network violated the constitutional right to privacy because an administrative body might use these registered data without limitation.

"On the same day, the Supreme Court also rejected three demands from residents of Aichi, Chiba and Ishikawa prefectures for the deletion of their respective data from the network. "

By Yomiuri Shimbun (3/7/2008), Link to article (last visited 3/7/2008)

1 comment:

Lawyer said...

In the UK, media and privacy lawyers at JMW Solicitors today announced they are representing leading publicist Max Clifford in legal action against phone hacking allegations made by a British newspaper (the News of the World).