Concern about people’s rights being abused online grows to 36%

A record high 36.0 percent of the public is concerned about human rights abuses being waged via the Internet, up 3.3 points from the previous survey five years ago, a recent Cabinet Office report says.

“The higher level of concern perhaps reflects the current situation, where anyone can become a victim as a result of the spread of the Net,” an official at the Justice Ministry’s Human Rights Bureau said.

The survey on human rights, which covers such topics as sexual harassment and bullying, polled some 1,860 people aged 20 or older across Japan in August and September.

More than a third of the respondents chose online human rights abuses when asked which type they were most concerned about. The questions allowed multiple replies.

Asked what type of rights abuses were taking place on the Internet, 57.7 percent chose the “posting of defamatory information.” This was followed by 49.8 percent who mentioned the “posting of privacy-related information,” and 42.9 percent who said “dating and other similar sites are becoming a breeding ground for crimes.”

But respondents also said the Internet can be a tool to protect human rights as well. When asked about effective ways to raise awareness on human rights, those who cited the “use of the Internet and email messages” came to 28.1 percent, up 9.8 points from the 2007 survey.

Aside from Internet-related issues, concerns about rights abuses related to children, such as child abuse and bullying at school, were expressed by 38.1 percent, an increase of 3.1 points and a record high for this type of rights abuse.

In contrast, concerns about human rights abuses on victims of North Korea’s abductions fell 5.0 points to 26.5 percent.

The Japan Times, Oct. 23, 2012
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