Press Release

December 3, 1997
Electronic Network Consortium

Revision Of
"Guidelines For Protecting Personal Data"
In Electronic Network Management
= For Network Management In The Internet Age =

The committee of the Electronic Network Consortium (See note) concerned with resolving fundamental issues of network management has investigated appropriate ways to protect and control personal data collected by Japanese online service providers, and has prepared guidelines for protecting personal data in the Internet age. The guidelines are now ready to be released to the general public and a copy is attached to this document.

The guidelines are a revised version of the "Guidelines For Protecting Personal Data In Electronic Network Management" (referred to here as the "old guidelines") published by the Electronic Network Consortium in February 1994. The old guidelines were revised in order to meet the requirements of the Internet age.

These guidelines are intended for use by online service providers in protecting and controlling personal data. They should also be referred to when providers develop or revise their rules of management.

1. Historical Background

The old guidelines were up to date when first published. However, they were written mainly for closed personal computer networks such as online services. Nowadays open computer networks are growing rapidly as represented by the explosive increase in use of the Internet.

As open networks increase, the protection of personal data has become a serious concern. In October 1995, the European Parliament and Council published a directive on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (referred to here as "EU Directive"), and in March 1997, Notification No. 98 of the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s "Guidelines concerning the Protection of Computer Processed Personal Data in the Private Sector" (referred to here as "Notification No. 98 of the MITI Guideline") was issued.

Since the beginning of this year, the committee of the Electronic Network Consortium concerned with resolving fundamental issues in network management investigated ways to adequately protect and control personal data collected by domestic online service providers in the Internet age, with the rapidly changing networking environment. A copy of the completed guidelines is included as an attachment.

2. Key Points in the Guidelines

The following key revisions were made to the guidelines:

3. Promoting the Spread of the Guidelines

The guidelines are distributed to the members of the Electronic Network Consortium and are posted on its home page so that they can be read and understood by as many people as possible. The home page will also have an explanatory version in Japanese to help online service providers in interpreting the guidelines. The consortium will also follow up on making the guidelines widely available and on educating users.

(Note) "The Electronic Network Consortium"
The Electronic Network Consortium was established in October 1992 to promote the use of online services. It consists of the following members: 92 corporate members in the areas of commercial online services and Internet service providers, computer manufacturers, Communications and related software businesses; 15 special/individual members including some scholars; and 51 local community organizations that are interested in public networking.

Shunshi Ohta
Electronic Network Consortium
23F, Mita-Kokusai Bldg.
1-4-28 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0073 Japan
Voice: +81-3-3457-0671
Fax: +81-3-3451-9604

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