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Messaging app Line to transfer all users' data to Japan for security

News Desk

Kyodo News

Tokyo, Japan  /  Tue, March 23, 2021  /  08:50 pm
Messaging app Line to transfer all users' data to Japan for security

This illustration picture taken on July 24, 2019 in Paris shows the logo of the Japanese instant messaging application Line on the screen of a tablet. (AFP/Martin Bureau)

The president of messaging app provider Line said Tuesday all data of its users will now be transferred to Japan and stored in the country to better protect its customers' personal information.

The measure comes after Line, whose app is used by over 86 million of Japan's some 126 million people, said last week its users' data had been accessed by technicians in China without users being informed as required by law.

Line President Takeshi Idezawa will hold a press conference later Tuesday to explain the company's additional measures to protect users' personal information after having attended a third-party panel to investigate the company's data protection.

The app operator said last Wednesday four technicians in its Chinese affiliate had accessed its database at least 32 times. They were able to see users' names, phone numbers and email addresses, along with messages reported by users as inappropriate from around the summer of 2018.

Access to the database from China has raised concerns over privacy and national security as data on Japanese citizens could have been transferred to the Chinese government, while many public organizations including Japanese government ministries are using the Line app as a communications tool with the public.

Line has said it has confirmed no improper data use and blocked access to its database from China in February, while photos and video footage posted by its users are stored in South Korea.

The government's Personal Information Protection Commission, Financial Services Agency and the telecommunications ministry requested Line and its parent company Z Holdings Corp. to report details of the incident.

The Line app has been also popular as a main social communications tool in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.

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