The government’s National Information Security Center has warned about 140 organisations, including government ministries and agencies as well as universities and research institutes, not to use a Japanese input method editor developed by Baidu Inc., China’s biggest search engine company, after it was found that text data typed into computers are sent to the company’s server without the users’ knowledge, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
The NISC said it cannot be denied that important information might have been leaked from those organisations.
According to an investigation by The Yomiuri Shimbun, Baidu IME is installed in some computers at the Foreign Ministry and at least 12 universities, including the University of Tokyo.
If the software is used in default settings, words and texts typed in a search window, e-mail, word-processing software and others are automatically sent to Baidu’s server.
In Japan, about two million people are using Baidu IME, according to Baidu’s Japanese unit.