Tokyo court: Data in Benesse leak not private enough for redress

A court opinion out of Tokyo may make it harder for plaintiffs in breach lawsuits in Japan to demonstrate harm or injury worthy of compensation. The breach and lawsuit against Benesse Corporation have been reported previously on this site in 2014 and 2015. Takuya Kitazawa reports: The Tokyo District Court rejected plaintiffs’ demands over a huge leak of personal information from education company Benesse Corp., ruling that names, birth dates and addresses are just not “private enough” to warrant compensation. Presiding Judge Yoshihide Asakura also said in his ruling on June 20 that such data are disclosed to third parties on daily basis, and that the plaintiffs did not suffer much psychological distress from the leak. Read more on The Asahi Shimbun.

Benesse Holdings discloses yet another customer information data leak

Kyodo News reports more data leak woes for Benesse Holdings. The correspondence education provider is still dealing with the fallout from a data theft last June that affected 28.95 million customers when a systems engineer working for an affiliate, Synform, downloaded personal information, including children’s names, addresses and birth dates, onto his smartphone. In September, the government ordered Benesse to improve their data protection. Now the firm has reportedly learned of a new customer data leak at another one of its units. A temporary employee at Transcosmos Inc., a Benesse Corp. subcontractor for call-center operations, illegally acquired personal data for 23 customers when he was allowed to access the data between March and August last year, Benesse Holdings said on Tuesday. The stolen data were not leaked to a third party, it said. While this may not sound like a huge breach, don’t underestimate how seriously the government is taking this one in the wake of last year’s breach. Read more on The Japan Times.

1,700 file group lawsuit against Benesse over data theft

I’ve been noting updates on the Benesse data theft, which was first disclosed in July 2014. Here’s the latest development, from the Japan Times: More than 1,700 people filed a group lawsuit on Thursday against major education service provider Benesse Corp. over last year’s massive theft of customer data. They are demanding ¥55,000 [$464.24 USD — Dissent] in damages for each plaintiff. […] The Benesse group said last September that its investigative team found some 28.95 million customers were affected by the incident and offered cash coupons worth ¥500 to each victim. Read more on the Japan Times.

Benesse leak accused admits copying customer data, but says he did not know it was wrong

Kyodo News reports: A systems engineer on Tuesday admitted copying information about millions of customers from the computer servers of education service provider Benesse Corp., but he told a court he did not know the data was confidential. Masaomi Matsuzaki, 39, was appearing at the Tachikawa Branch of the Tokyo District Court, in the first session of the trial. According to the indictment, Masaomi Matsuzaki, 39, illegally downloaded and copied on two occasions, on June 17 and June 27, the personal data of around 30 million Benesse customers onto his smartphone from the Tokyo branch of a database management contractor for Synform. Read more on The Japan Times.  

Benesse ordered to improve personal info management after data theft

Kyodo News provides an update to a breach involving education services provider Benesse. The breach was disclosed in July: The industry ministry on Friday ordered Benesse Corp. to improve its management of personal information after the company was embroiled in Japan’s biggest-ever data theft. The company’s investigative team has found that some 28.95 million customers were affected by the incident. Earlier this month, Benesse submitted to the ministry a report on its probe over the theft of its in-house data, including names, addresses and birth dates of children, and measures to prevent similar incidents. Read more on Global Post.