Definition of anonymously processed personal information
Requirements applicable to anonymously processed personal information, as defined in Article 2(9) of the APPI, are stipulated in Section 2 of Chapter 4 of the Act ("Duties of an Anonymously Processed Information Handling Business Operator"). Conversely, such information is not governed by the provisions of Section 1 of Chapter IV of the APPI which includes the articles stipulating the data protection safeguards and rights applying to the processing of personal data under that Act. Consequently, while "anonymously processed personal information" is not subject to the "standard" data protection rules (those specified in Section 1 of Chapter IV and in Article 42 of the APPI), they do fall within the scope of application of the APPI, notably Articles 36 to 39.
According to Article 2(9) of the APPI, "anonymously processed personal information" is information relating to an individual that has been "produced from processing personal information" through measures prescribed in the APPI (Article 36(1)) and specified in the PPC rules (Article 19), with the result that it has become impossible to identify a specific individual or restore the personal information.
It results from those provisions, as also confirmed by the PPC, that the process of rendering personal information "anonymous" does not need to be technically irreversible. Pursuant to Article 36(2) of the APPI, business operators handling "anonymously processed personal information" are merely required to prevent re-identification by taking measures to ensure the security of "the descriptions etc. and individual identification codes deleted from personal information used to produce the anonymously processed information, and information relating to a processing method carried out".
Given that "anonymously processed personal information", as defined by the APPI, includes data for which re-identification of the individual is still possible, this could mean that personal data transferred from the European Union might lose part of the available protections through a process that, under Regulation (EU) 2016/679, would be considered a form of "pseudonymisation" rather than "anonymisation" (thus not changing its nature as personal data).
To address that situation, the Supplementary Rules provide for additional requirements applicable only to personal data transferred from the European Union under this Decision. According to Rule (5) of the Supplementary Rules, such personal information shall only be considered "anonymously processed personal information" within the meaning of the APPI "if the personal information handling business operator takes measures that make the de-identification of the individual irreversible for anyone, including by deleting processing method etc. related information". The latter has been specified in the Supplementary Rules as information relating to descriptions and individual identification codes which were deleted from personal information used to produce "anonymously processed personal information", as well as information relating to a processing method applied while deleting these descriptions and individual identification codes. In other terms, the Supplementary Rules require the business operator producing "anonymously processed personal information" to destroy the "key" permitting re-identification of the data. This means that personal data originating from the European Union will fall under the APPI provisions regarding "anonymously processed personal information" only in cases where they would likewise be considered anonymous information under Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (22).