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Recruit's Privacy Center: an easy-to-understand data privacy guide for users

Safely use data to provide better, high-value services continuously

Recruit Co., Ltd. revised its privacy policy effective April 1, 2021 after officially launching the "Privacy Center" webpages on February 16. Three of the project members, Sayaka Akagawa, Daiske Yamashita and Kayo Kojima, shared the initiative overview and its background.

Building trust with individual users through the Privacy Center

Recruit Co., Ltd. believes it is the natural responsibility as a matter of course to uphold and protect the privacy of the individual users using its services when utilizing user information. How that data is used must be communicated in a humble, easy-to-understand, and honest manner in order to respect the rights of individual users and give them peace of mind.

However, in the 2019 incident involving the "Rikunabi DMP Follow" service (which has since been discontinued), user consent was not properly obtained. Recruit took this incident very seriously, releasing the "Personal Data GuidelinesTo an external site" (only in Japanese) in April 2020 to reaffirm Recruit's group-wide commitment to user privacy. Based on these guidelines, the Privacy CenterTo an external site (only in Japanese) was established to outline and explain Recruit's privacy policy and initiatives to individual users.

"While working on this project, we spent a lot of time discussing and considering our attitude toward handling our users' privacy," said Sayaka. "What we wanted to do was to create a trusting, transparent relationship with our users by openly providing them with our privacy policy and ensuring they have the right understanding and expectations for us."

Gathering feedback from experts and individual users to determine how to get our message across

When developing the Privacy Center webpages, Recruit Co,. Ltd. put much importance on objectivity.The team improved the Privacy Center's structure and language by incorporating external feedback from experts.

"For example, researchers at the ELSI Center at Osaka University, who study issues related to implementing new science and technology into society, pointed out legal and ethical issues with our initial policy," said Daiske. "It helped us to reflect on our policy and what information is necessary to include on our website. In addition, we conducted a survey and learned that some individual users believe that 'too much information dilutes the message,' and gives the impression that we are 'singing one's own praises,' which is not our intent. This external review process challenged us to create a balanced public policy statement."

The Privacy Center was officially launched on February 16, 2021. The webpages feature easy-to-digest illustrations and diagrams that explain how personal user data is collected and used. This initiative has since been praised by those outside the company for clearly presenting Recruit's stance and attitude toward safely using personal data.

"Recruit is a company that holds a lot of personal data," said Kayo. "There are things that we should communicate and demonstrate to the public, as a company which experienced the Rikunabi DMP incident back in 2019. I hope we can create an upward spiral not only within Recruit, but also in society as a whole, by sharing our path of improvement and evolution."

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Using the Privacy Center as a touchpoint to build trust with society

The Privacy Center is not only a message to the outside world, but also this is a message to Recruit employees.

"The awareness of risk and governance within Recruit is higher than ever," Daiske said. "That's exactly why we've developed the Privacy Center—to make it clear that it is our goal to protect sensitive information and safely use data to provide better, high-value services to society."

Professor Tatsuhiko Yamamoto of Keio Law School, who served on the advisory committee that created the Personal Data Guidelines, said, "The newly established Privacy Center is a sincere response to what most companies tend to find troublesome. On the other hand, I believe there is still room to make the content more interesting. Recruit should broadly communicate to society its concerns and struggles with data handling and privacy issues, if Recruit is to be in a position to lead Japan in terms of data. The challenge of communicating intriguing topics to society will be important not only for individual users but also for building trust with corporate clients."

Sayaka Akagawa

Sayaka Akagawa

Quality Coordination Office, Product Management Division, Risk Management and Product Management Division, Recruit Co., Ltd.

Sayaka joined Recruit Co., Ltd. in 2007. After working in sales and planning in the human resources field, she moved to the sales promotion field, where she was involved in CRM, marketing, and the Recruit ID integration project.

Daiske Yamashita

Daiske Yamashita

DPP1 Group, Data Protection & Privacy Department, and Solution Legal Office, Risk Management, Recruit Co., Ltd.

Daiske joined Recruit Holdings in 2013 after working in business development at a web-based startup and a major telecommunications company. After working on partnerships with external platformers, he was temporarily transferred to Blogwatcher Inc. in 2018. He currently serves as Blogwatcher's Data Privacy Officer and also works in Recruit's Solutions Legal Department.

Kayo Kojima

Kayo Kojima

Risk Management, Recruit Co., Ltd. and PR Corporate Communications External Communications Group, Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd.

Kayo joined Recruit Holdings in 2017 after working for a major internet service company and a PR firm. Since then, she has been consistently involved in external PR work, and joined the Privacy Project in November 2020.

June 1, 2021

This article is based on information available at the time of publication.