Japan warns of security risk in language input software

Ministries are told to avoid certain software for generating Japanese characters when making confidential documents, because the service is linked to cloud servers overseas.

The Japanese goverment has warned its ministries to avoid certain language input software when writing confidential documents because of potential security leaks, according to Bloomberg.

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Such programs can send a record of the writing to overseas-based servers, said Japan's National Information Security Center (NISC). Such software, which are made by the likes of  China's Baidu, Google, and Microsoft, allow users to write Japanese characters with an English-language keyboard by spelling them phonetically.

So far, Japan's Foreign Ministry has already removed software made by Baidu from five PCs in its Tokyo headquarters, spokesperson Makoto Higashiyama told Bloomberg. It is instead now using programs made by Tokyo-based Justsystems and Microsoft, said the ministry.

There have been heightened concerns by Asian governments over their communications security, following Snowden's whistleblowing on the United States's PRISM program. This has include the reviews of their use of  e-mail services by U.S. service providers such as Google and Yahoo, with India set to ban government employees from doing so.