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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 May 13 - 19  > JCP Tamura: Bill on ‘super city’ initiative is controversial due to lack of privacy protection
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2020 May 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

JCP Tamura: Bill on ‘super city’ initiative is controversial due to lack of privacy protection

May 14, 2020
The House of Councilors on May 13 began discussing a bill to revise the National Strategic Special Zone Act aimed at utilizing extensive personal information through deregulation under the Cabinet Office initiative.

The bill, if enacted, will facilitate “super city” projects use of cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data analytics systems.

At the Upper House plenary meeting on the day, Japanese Communist Party Vice Chair Tamura Tomoko opposed the so-called “super city” bill.

Tamura pointed out that with regulatory reforms under the bill, a large amount of data that cover every area of citizens’ daily lives, such as transportation, logistics, administrative services, healthcare and nursing-care services, education, electricity and water supply, will be collected. Tamura also cited that “super city” projects utilizing these data seek to introduce systems for a cashless community and remote medical care services. The JCP lawmaker said that these systems inevitably require strict identity verification, which means that massive personal biological information will be stored and utilized at an unprecedented level.

Tamura criticized the government for going forward with the deregulation of data privacy by assuming that only by using personal information in big data analytics systems can an ideal future city be built. She said that what the government should discuss is whether the utilization of personal data in this way is permissible and how to protect people’s right to limit the use of their personal data.

Tamura referred to Toronto’s smart city project which has been cited as a good example of supercity projects overseas, and said, “With strong opposition from local residents, this project reached an impasse and has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.” She urged the government to concentrate more of its budget and efforts on how to overcome the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and ease people’s anxieties.
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