Japan draws a LINE: web giants must reveal where they store user data

Social media and search engine operators in Japan will be required to specify the countries in which users’ data is physically stored, under a planned tweak to local laws.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications this week announced it plans to submit the revision to the Telecommunications Business Law early next year.

The amendment, if passed, requires search engines, social media operators and mobile phone companies with over 10 million Japanese users to disclose where in the world they store data, and identify any foreign subcontractors that can access the data.

The proposed law applies to overseas companies that operate in Japan – meaning the likes of Twitter and Facebook will need to disclose their storage choices publicly. Oddly, search engines that just cover travel and food get a pass and don’t have to comply.

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