The government in Japan this week warned messaging app provider Line to take measures to protect its customer information after such data were accessed by a Chinese affiliate without user consent.
Four technicians at Line’s Chinese affiliate had accessed its database at least 32 times. They were able to inappropriately view usernames, phone numbers and email addresses since 2018.
After an investigation, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Line has failed to provide a sufficient surveillance system to protect the ‘secrets of communications’ as required by law.
Government ministries and public sector organisations in Japan have for the moment suspended the use of Line.
The government has also given the app operator to institute improvement measures within a month and to provide a sufficient surveillance system.
In response, Line said that data stored in Korea will all be transferred to databases in Japan.
Line is used by 85 million Japanese citizens, or more than two-thirds of Japan’s population. The app is one of the most popular social communications tools not only in Japan, but also Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand.