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Guidebook for Utilization of Camera Images Version 1.0 Formulated

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), and IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC) published the Guidebook for Utilization of Camera Images version 1.0 to encourage businesses to take the characteristics of images to be used into account when utilizing camera images. The guidebook is a compilation of streamlined approaches that businesses should carefully consider in protecting the privacy of ordinary citizens who may be unexpectedly captured on camera (hereinafter referred to as “ordinary citizens”) both in utilizing the camera image and in appropriately communicating with those ordinary citizens. In addition, prior to the formulation of the guidebook, METI compiled the results of a public call for comments concerning the draft paper of the guidebook.

1. Background

Concerning the utilization of camera images in data collection efforts for marketing purposes by companies, many businesses are facing difficulties in explaining their efforts to and gaining understanding of ordinary citizens, despite expressing a strong need to utilize such images. To address this situation, METI, MIC and ITAC established the “Camera Image Utilization Sub-Working Group” of the Data Distribution Promotion Working Group under ITAC (chaired by Dr. Hiroaki Kikuchi, Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Mathematical Sciences, Meiji University), and since its establishment, the sub-working group has been holding meetings to discuss issues concerning the utilization of camera images by businesses informed by examination of actual case studies, with careful consideration for the privacy of ordinary citizens.

In October 2016, the subworking group compiled the draft paper of the guidebook. In response, from November 16 to December 15, 2016, the subworking group called for public comments on this paper and 33 entities and individuals submitted their opinions. Based on the results of the public comments, the subworking group discussed issues and compiled the discussion results into the Guidebook for Utilization of Camera Images version 1.0. and published the public comments.

2. Summary of the guidebook

1) Outline of the guidebook

The guidebook is a reference for businesses which intend to establish mutual understanding with ordinary citizens, rather than a list of mandatory requests that these businesses must consider. Businesses are expected to employ this guidebook in setting rules for the utilization of camera images in accordance with their sectors or business conditions.

2) Targets of the guidebook

The guidebook is targeted towards businesses whose operations fall under the Act on the Protection of Personal Information and other related laws and regulations, and that intend to utilize camera images for purposes other than simple identification of individuals.
Note: Camera images taken for security purposes are not covered by the guidebook.

3) Principles to be carefully considered by businesses

The guidebook provides streamlined approaches for businesses to carefully consider, categorized by basic principle and by circumstances of image utilization, i.e., prior notice to ordinary citizens and acquisition, handling, and management of image data.

4) Use cases

  1. Cameras installed inside stores (for customer categorization)
  2. Cameras installed inside stores (for the creation of customer activity records)
  3. Cameras installed on the outside of buildings (to ascertain customer numbers)
  4. Dashboard cameras installed inside taxi cabs (for images of scenery in which ordinary citizens may unexpectedly be photographed)
  5. Cameras installed in station yards (to ascertain crowding sizes)

The guidebook is a compilation of the results of a series of discussions concerning approaches that businesses should carefully consider, based on the information on use cases and other reference data provided by businesses. To address the current situation, the sub-working group will revise the guidebook through a series of discussions regarding current use cases and other issues to further promote the utilization of digital images among businesses.

METI hopes that businesses can effectively utilize the guidebook to make concrete advances in the utilization of digital images.


Link to the related information:

Release date

January 31, 2017

Division in Charge

 Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related website

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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