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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 4 - 10  > Online job information site operator instructed on privacy abuse
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2019 September 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Online job information site operator instructed on privacy abuse

September 7, 2019

The Labor Ministry on September 6 issued an administrative instruction to Recruit Career, operator of the job information site “Rikunabi” targeted at job-seeking students. The ministry has acknowledged that the company misused Rikunabi users’ browsing records in violation of the Employment Security Law.

Recruit Career with its website “Rikunabi” provides the service of listing job offers and conveying job seekers’ personal information to prospective employers at the applicants’ own request. Operators of this kind of service are prohibited under the Employment Security Law from providing such information to companies without the prior consent of job seekers.

Despite this prohibition, Recruit Career was recently found to have analyzed the browsing records of job-hunting students registered with the “Rikunabi” site to calculate the rate of students declining informal job offers they received and sold this data to 34 client companies at a cost of at least 130 million yen in total.

Recruit Career did not inform its users of the calculation and sales of the data regarding the job decline rate. The website operator’s privacy policy just contains a vague note that the company may process users’ browsing records and provide the data to its client companies. The company has insisted that its users gave consent to the privacy policy so there is no problem about its handling of the data in question.

Rikunabi holds a dominant position among job search sites for job-hunting graduates. It is said that more than 90% of job seekers use Rikunabi and many companies post their job offers only on this website. It would be unusual for students to choose not to use Rikunabi.

Taking this difficulty into account, the Labor Ministry judged that most Rikunabi users consented to the privacy policy because they had no other choice. The ministry instructed the company to refrain from providing controversial services including analyzing registered students’ browsing records.

The Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers’ group has long criticized the rules on job information sites as lax and called for tighter regulations in order to protect students engaged in job-hunting activities.

Past related article:
> Rules on companies’ customer profiling necessary to safeguard privacy [August 20, 2019]
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