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Policy Proposals  Industrial Technology Aiming to Strengthen Japan-EU Collaboration for Internet Policies

November 15, 2012
(Japan Business Federation)

In order to promote free flow of information globally and further develop the global economy, international collaboration is required to secure internet security for socioeconomic activities. Therefore, we would like to present the opinions of Japanese industry to Japan and to the EU and expect a constructive exchange of views in order to carry out effective security measures to enable the best use of the internet.

1. Ensuring free internet environments

Freedom of the internet significantly contributes to the development of economy, innovation and society. Utilizing a multi-stakeholder approach in which governments and industries play respective roles, the security of an open and free internet environment with a high level of transparency is required along with facilitating sound internet governance.

2. Sharing of best practices in the effort to ensure information security

Measures for information security are indispensable for users to enjoy the full benefits of the internet while still maintaining its freedom. Keeping in mind that cross-border exchanges of information and provision of services will progress along with the utilization of a variety of devices with the wide spread use of smartphones, going forward it is imperative that the best practices are shared between Japan and the EU, and a system for cross-border cooperation in information security measures is established.

3. Maintaining a good balance between the protection of personal data and the free flow of information

The issue of personal data protection and its utilization has been discussed in a variety of ways over the years in many countries, regions and international institutions in view of the different histories, cultures and ways of thinking in each country. In formulating global rules for data protection, pursuit of the following factors is required:
(1) Transparency; (2) Guaranteeing fairness and ensuring harmony at home and abroad; (3) Effectiveness; (4) Avoiding excessive restrictions and burdens on corporate activities.

In the current situation, where enormous volumes of information are readily transferred across borders, the importance of acknowledging personal data protection is indisputable. However, under such circumstances, we would like to seek particular considerations designed to not hamper user convenience and innovations in corporate activities through excessive legislative regulations, and to not place excessive restrictions on management of global companies.

Given the change in the environment surrounding the handling of personal data, the European Commission proposed new data protection rules which urge both Japan and EU industries to take new measures to address this issue.

In view of the aforementioned four factors, the deliberation of an international framework corresponding to the social environment is required for the handling of personal information. We expect both Japan and the EU to prepare and implement policies that ensure an appropriate balance between personal data protection and the free flow of information while considering the views of each industrial sector.

4. Facilitating a system of international cooperation against cross-border cyber attacks

While companies are endeavoring to protect confidential information and advanced research information in businesses against all kinds of attacks, it is difficult for Japan and the EU to take countermeasures against cross-border cyber-attacks under independent legislative frameworks. While securing a good balance between information security and the free flow of information, Japan and the EU need to enhance information security by strengthening further collaboration on countermeasures, establishing an information sharing system in which the public and private sectors participate by creating and sharing databases of organizations involved in cyber-attacks and their attack methods, in addition to joint cooperation in such exercises.

Moreover, aside from confidential information and advanced research information in businesses, important infrastructures, particularly IT, finance, aviation, railroads, electric power, gas supply, government and administrative services (including local governments), medical care, water supply and logistics are important sectors that need to be protected from cyber-attacks.

Regarding the possibility of correspondence under the existing legal frameworks, research on cyber-attacks and political issues for facilitating human resource cultivation including these areas, Japan and the EU need to discuss details through more practical dialogue and consider an ideal system for international cooperation.

5. Exchanging views between Japan and the EU on a regular basis

Lastly, in order to soundly develop the internet economy to lead to further growth of the global economy, the creation of new business through the promotion of open-data policies and active collaboration in the planning and execution of information and communications policies are crucial.

We request that Japan and the EU strengthen their cooperative structure by carrying out a constructive exchange of views on a regular basis, including the respective industrial sectors.

We expect that active efforts to address these issues by Japan and the EU will lead to efforts among multiple nations in the future.

(Tentative Translation)

Industrial Technology