The amended Act on the Protection of Personal Information (APPI) in Japan is going to introduce a legal scheme of “anonymously processed information” this year in order to facilitate high utilization of individuals’ information, while protecting privacy. This system can be made effective by implementing anonymous processing technology and its methods of operation in accordance with Privacy by Design.
Privacy by Design, a globally accepted framework for personal data management and privacy protection, advances the view that privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with regulatory frameworks but must become an organisation’s default mode of operation. We are proposing a similar template for the research ethics review process.
Make no mistake, privacy is a necessary condition for both a prosperous and free society. However, ever since the tragic events of 11 September 2001 and the terrorist acts that have followed, privacy has been increasingly cast as an antagonist of public safety.
The argument that privacy stifles Big Data innovation reflects a dated, zero-sum mindset. It is a false dichotomy, consisting of unnecessary trade-offs between the benefits of Big Data and the protection of personal information within Big Data sets. In fact, the opposite is true—privacy drives innovation and it forces innovators to think creatively to find solutions that serve multiple functionalities. We need to abandon zero-sum thinking and adopt a positive-sum paradigm where both Big Data innovation and privacy may be achieved.