NEC establishes digital trust division
05 October 2018 14:17 GMT

NEC has reported the establishment of a dedicated organization, the Digital Trust Business Strategy Division, to create and promote a strategy based on Human Rights by Design, considering the impact of the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) on society and the utilization of biometric information on human rights, such as privacy.

Human Rights by Design (HRbD) is a concept that helps to expand the idea of "Privacy by Design" to all human rights, and to incorporate the notion of respect for human rights, such as fairness and privacy, into each process of the value chain.

The new organization consists of expert personnel with know-how on social acceptability, such as legal systems and ethics, as well as technologies. In addition, an "External Expert Council" will be formed, comprising of a range of stakeholders, including experts, NPOs and consumers.

This enables NEC to strengthen its ability to respond to new challenges arising from businesses handling a variety of data, including AI and biometric information.

Specifically, the following will be performed: (1) Creating and promoting strategy in business that involves data distribution, and product and solution planning based on HRbD; (2) creating and managing company-wide policies and internal rules based on HRbD; (3) reaching consensus through dialogue with stakeholders and policy proposals; and (4) taking measures to improve the HRbD literacy of stakeholders involved in the value chain, such as employees and customers.

NEC established the Data Distribution Strategy Office in April 2017 and has been working on formulating strategies and policy proposals on the utilization of personal data, including consideration for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

NEC chose the name Digital Trust Business Strategy Division for the new organization with the desire to become a company that continues to be globally trusted in the digital age. It will strengthen NEC's existing structure and functions in order to lead the entire company.

Currently, the creation of new services and innovations that utilize personal data is expected to help solve global social issues. In this situation, consideration for privacy, compatibility with usage principles and legal systems in view of ethics and social acceptability are becoming increasingly important. As for guidelines related to the coexistence of humans and AI, discussions and studies are now in progress on an international level. This strengthening of the business structure is an effort to embody and implement these initiatives as a business operator.

Hiroshi Suzuki, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation, said, "NEC is promoting a social solutions business that utilizes cutting-edge AI technologies, NEC the WISE, IoT technologies and biometric identification, Bio-Idiom, based on iris, face, fingerprint/palm print, finger vein, voice and optoacoustic information. In our Mid-term Management Plan 2020, the safety business is positioned as a global growth engine. The newly established organization plays an important role in the implementation of this growing business."

"Further, as a guide for promoting business originating from social issues, in July, NEC determined nine themes on which the management should work from an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) viewpoint. One of the themes, privacy with consideration for social acceptability, will be promoted mainly by the new organization."