The Tokyo District Court rejected plaintiffs’ demands over a huge leak of personal information from education company Benesse Corp., ruling that names, birth dates and addresses are just not “private enough” to warrant compensation.

Presiding Judge Yoshihide Asakura also said in his ruling on June 20 that such data are disclosed to third parties on daily basis, and that the plaintiffs did not suffer much psychological distress from the leak.

The lawsuit was filed by 158 former customers of Okayama-based Benesse, a major correspondence education provider, for allowing private data of its clients, including parents and children, leaked by a subcontractor.

In 2014, it came to light that an employee of the subcontractor sold about 35 million pieces of information of Benesse’s customers to a list broker. The data thief was arrested and received a prison sentence for violating the unfair competition prevention law.

The plaintiffs were demanding compensation between 30,000 yen ($270) and 100,000 yen from Benesse.

Mansaku Kanada, a lawyer who is one of the plaintiffs, criticized the ruling at a news conference, saying it was “clearly unjust to conclude that we received no psychological distress (from the incident).”

Kanada, whose son’s details was also stolen, said he “especially wanted to protect the children’s information.”

Asakura acknowledged Benesse’s negligence over handling the data, and said the plaintiffs’ privacy had been breached.

But he said the Benesse case involved “less private matters” compared with other information, such as religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

If the leaked data were published on the Internet and easily searchable, the information would bear “more privacy,” he said.

However, the sold data has not been circulating online, so no actual damage from the leak has been confirmed, the judge said.

In addition, the judge noted that Benesse has sent 500-yen vouchers to most of data leak victims who wanted them.

In addition, Asakura said large-scale leaks or thefts of personal data from companies and government offices have become frequent occurrences, both domestically and internationally. He added that there is “no precedent in Western nations where compensation was ordered just for leaked personal information.”

Asakura concluded that the incident “did not cause enough psychological distress to receive monetary compensation,” and said Benesse has no obligation to pay.

Lawyer Kanada said the plaintiffs still feel “anxiety that the data could be linked to other pieces of information” and “used in unexpected crimes.”