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Appeared on: Friday, December 27, 2013
Japanese Government Says Baidu Software Tracks Typing

The Japanese government has warned about 140 organizations as well as universities and research institutions not to use a Japanese-language input method editor developed by Baidu, China's largest search engine company, after it was found that all text data typed into computers using it are sent to Baidu's server.

Baidu IME has been installed on some computers at the Japanese Foreign Ministry and at least 12 universities, including the University of Tokyo, according to an investigation by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Japan's National Information Security Center said it cannot be denied that important information might have been compromised at those organizations.

In mid-December, a probe by an information technology company found that if the software is used with its default settings, all words and text input into search windows, e-mails, word-processing software and other applications are automatically transmitted to Baidu servers. Such a function could be intended to enable higher accuracy in cloud-based hiragana-kanji conversions by gathering data from computers to a host server, but the software's terms of use do not refer to such a system.




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