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Business

Seven-Eleven Japan clamping down on access to personal data

NEC facial recognition system tapped as Japan broadens information law

TOKYO -- Seven-Eleven Japan will strictly limit access to personal information held in the retailer's stores by using facial recognition technology from fellow Japanese company NEC.

The Seven & i Holdings unit is upgrading its information management systems in response to Japan's revised personal information law, which takes full effect Tuesday. Businesses handling personal data of no more than 5,000 people had been exempt. But the amended law extends even to businesses that manage relatively little personal information, requiring security controls and other measures to prevent data leaks.

The majority of Seven-Eleven's 19,000 locations in Japan are franchises, and it will be necessary to upgrade the management systems handling the personal data of employees and customers at each site.

Currently, personal data can be accessed by entering a four-digit password into a store computer. The convenience store operator intends to use NEC's facial recognition system with cameras installed on such computers to limit access to registered personnel. Trials begin in September, with Seven-Eleven targeting a spring 2018 introduction.

(Nikkei)

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