Japan police make arrest in data leak case

July 18, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

TOKYO: Tokyo police said yesterday they had arrested an engineer for allegedly stealing massive amounts of personal data from an educational services firm, a leak that may ultimately affect more than 20 million people.

Private details -- including names, addresses, phone numbers and birthdays -- were stolen by 39-year-old suspect Masaomi Matsuzaki, police said, with Japanese media reporting that he sold the information for about 2.5m yen.

The magnitude of the leak, which has been headline news in Japan, prompted angry calls for an explanation from Benesse, one of the country’s best-known companies. Benesse said last week that it had confirmed the leak of personal data of at least 7.6m people, but it added that the problem could ultimately affect more than 20 million.

However, other details such as credit card numbers, banking data and student performance evaluations were safe, it said.

Matsuzaki was a systems engineer at a Benesse affiliate when he allegedly copied personal details of customers who had supplied the information to the educational services company, according to police. They said a minimum of 10m were affected.

Singapore to monitor adverts

SINGAPORE:  Singapore has warned maid employment agencies in the city-state against “undignified” advertising following complaints by rights groups that domestic workers are being marketed as commodities.

In an advisory sent to the agencies, the Ministry of Manpower said it was concerned by the “insensitive and inappropriate” portrayal of domestic helpers in advertisements as well as instances where they are put on display in shopping malls.

“Advertisements which emphasise cheap fees, promotional rates, and/or discounts inadvertently give the impression that the foreign domestic workers are being marketed as merchandise,” the ministry said in the advisory.

The ministry warned it has the power to suspend or revoke the licences of violators.

Advertisements that liken domestic helpers “to merchandise that can be purchased and replaced when found unsatisfactory” are unacceptable, it added.