Japan introduces bill to ensure fair competition online

The Japanese government on Tuesday decided to draft new laws that would tighten controls on US digital giants and other online businesses, as concerns increase that their dominant positions hinder fair competition and the protection of personal data, said officials.

A dieting bill next year will seek to require Google LLC, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.com, collectively known as GAFA, as well as other digital business companies, to disclose how they set rules for showing search. Government officials said.

The government also seeks to compel IT companies to report on how they are regularly managing their sites and hopes eventually to expand the scope of the rules to regulate online advertising linked to search engines and social networking services.

“While the new law calls for (digital platforms) to improve the transparency of their transactions by disclosing information as reasons for refusing to do business (with certain companies), the new rules will respect the autonomy of operators as much as possible as much as possible. to avoid hampering innovation, ”Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a government meeting on Tuesday.

There are concerns that leading digital companies such as Google and Amazon will deliver search results in favor of certain products and services, distorting search neutrality.

Earlier Tuesday, a government panel exchanged views on planned legislation with senior GAFA officials.

Representatives expressed their understanding that the new law is needed to increase transparency in their business dealings during the meeting, a government official told reporters.

But some concerns expressed with Adam Cohen, Google's global head of economics and competition, show concerns about Japan's request for regular GAFA business reports, the official said.

Amazon has also questioned the requirement for regular reporting, while Facebook has expressed concerns that some rules are stricter than those of the European Union.

The government has already heard the views of home-based information technology companies Rakuten Inc. and Yahoo Japan Corp.

Regarding the protection of personal data, the government will revise the personal information protection law to allow individuals to request digital companies to exclude or suspend the use of their data. Currently, the law only regulates the processing of data collected through illicit means.

Source: Kyodo

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