Tokyo police make arrest in massive data leak case

July 17, 2014
A picture shows binary code reflected from a computer screen in a woman's eye

Tokyo police said Thursday they had arrested an engineer for allegedly stealing massive amounts of personal data from an educational services firm, a leak that may ultimately affect more than 20 million people.

Private details—including names, addresses, phone numbers and birthdays—were stolen by 39-year-old suspect Masaomi Matsuzaki, police said, with Japanese media reporting that he sold the information for about 2.5 million yen ($24,600).

The magnitude of the leak, which has been headline news in Japan, prompted angry calls for an explanation from Benesse, one of the country's best-known companies.

The firm, whose holdings include the Berlitz language education brand, offers services ranging from teaching babies how to use toys to English instruction.

Benesse said last week that it had confirmed the leak of of at least 7.6 million people, but it added that the problem could ultimately affect more than 20 million.

However, other details such as , banking data and student performance evaluations were safe, it said.

Matsuzaki was a systems engineer at a Benesse affiliate when he allegedly copied personal details of customers who had supplied the information to the company, according to police. They said a minimum of 10 million were affected.

The theft was discovered when people started receiving phone calls and advertising letters from Benesse rivals that should not have had the information, authorities said.

Explore further: 20 million people fall victim to S. Korea data leak

Related Stories

S. Korea vows harsh penalties for data leaks

January 22, 2014

South Korean regulators Wednesday vowed harsh corporate penalties for data theft, as angry customers swamped credit card offices for a third day after 20 million people had their financial information stolen.

France's Orange hit by hackers data raid

May 7, 2014

Hackers have stolen the personal data of 1.3 million customers of French telephone company Orange, in the second major breach of its kind in a matter of months.

Recommended for you

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Radio frequency 'harvesting' tech unveiled in UK

September 30, 2015

An energy harvesting technology that its developers say will be able to turn ambient radio frequency waves into usable electricity to charge low power devices was unveiled in London on Wednesday.

Professors say US has fallen behind on offshore wind power

September 29, 2015

University of Delaware faculty from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), the College of Engineering and the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics say that the U.S. has fallen behind in offshore wind ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.