Yomiuri Shimbun, Line-Yahoo Promote Online Privacy Protection

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Yomiuri Shimbun head office in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

The Yomiuri Shimbun and major information technology company LY Corp. — formed this month through the merger of Line, Yahoo and another company — issued a joint statement Thursday saying they will adopt measures to shield the privacy of people mentioned in online articles and other contents as part of efforts toward a “healthier” internet and enhanced protection of human rights.

The Yomiuri Shimbun — the newspaper with the world’s largest circulation — and LY, which has one of the largest numbers of users in Japan, jointly issued the statement to increase effectiveness of the effort/move. The two firms are also calling on other media outlets and companies to respect online privacy.

The Yomiuri Shimbun and the LY side have been discussing the issue since the beginning of the year.

LY will refrain from using articles that are deemed to lack privacy considerations on its Line News Digest service and on the “Topics” page of its Yahoo News Japan platform.

The company has also added “Overly Intrusive” as an option for users in the “Report” section for each article hosted on its platform. The firm has already received such responses. In cases where many users have flagged concerns, LY may inform relevant media outlets.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, meanwhile, is making sure guidelines for online journalism are thoroughly implemented based on characteristic aspects of the online realm, wherein news articles can be copied and reused more easily than newspaper content. By doing so, the Yomiuri hopes to enhance privacy protection.

Specific measures include limiting the viewing period for articles that report certain incidents, such as accidents; avoiding provocative or sensational headlines that deviate from an article’s content; and carefully determining whether to publish privacy-related information for each article. If requested to do so by LY, The Yomiuri Shimbun will cooperate by providing guideline concepts and information relating to how decisions were reached for individual cases.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Online site will establish a new function to allow users to evaluate individual articles vis-a-vis privacy considerations, content and other factors. The function will be launched before the end of November and leverage user feedback to enhance the quality of articles.

LY is a member of a research association established by The Yomiuri Shimbun and other entities with the aim of achieving practical use of Originator Profile, a digital technology that helps increase online safety.