Data & Security

Borderless Data Integrity - reliable data exchange across national and industry boundaries

Hiroshi Tsuda

Head of Data & Security Research Laboratory Research Unit Fujitsu Limited

Titles, numerical values, and proper nouns in this document are those reported when this interview was made.

Data and Security - Two Inseparable Elements

Data today is an essential resource that is constantly bringing new value to both society and business. The variety of data involved is, however, multi-faceted –confidential data that should never be leaked, personal data that requires careful security, and open data that is intended for public use. We can take advantage of useful data only if we collect and extract the correct data in the first place, taking into account the relevant location, the user, and the characteristics of each piece of data.

One example involves artificial intelligence (AI), which is increasingly being implemented in society. AI makes decisions based on the results of learning vast amounts of data, but, if the data used for learning is either incorrect or biased, the actions it takes may be unexpected or even inappropriate. As a result, security is an essential prerequisite to prevent data from being altered, as well as to protect the correct data.

Traditionally, securing data that exists in the enterprise has relied on perimeter defense security measures. This approach does not, however, protect data when it is in the external cloud environment. Another difficulty is how to determine whether business data such as bills and open data sent from external sources by email are actually reliable. To solve these evolving data challenges, we are having to rethink the whole concept of security around data and build a new trustworthy world across organizations.

Fujitsu established Data & Security Research Laboratory in 2021 specifically to tackle these challenging issues, integrating our advanced blockchain and data-related technologies with several research organizations that were engaged in information security technologies.

Supporting Digital Trust in Four Key Areas

Data & Security Research Laboratory has a clear focus: "in order to accelerate the exchange of trustworthy data and value across industries, and to make safer society against new threats to cyber physical world, we are working on advanced research and rulemaking to construct digital trust from both the data and security aspects.". To this end, we are engaged in R & D centered around four key projects: "Blockchain Economy", "Decentralized Trust as a Service (DTaaS)", "Trusted Web" and "AI Cyber Security".

In the Blockchain Economy Project, we are the world leader in the open source project "Hyperledger Cactus", which aims to realize a world where different blockchains are connected safely and securely. Focusing on Fujitsu's proprietary security technology "ConnectionChain" that enables multiple blockchains to be interconnected while ensuring transparency and safety, we are working with the OSS community to develop basic technologies that facilitate the integration of blockchains from other companies. We are also engaged in R & D on technologies that apply blockchains to social issues such as the environment and traceability.

The Decentralized TaaS Project is developing digital trust mediation technologies to ensure the authenticity of data exchanged between organizations, as well as Trust as a Service (TaaS) technologies to digitally sign data and transparently ensure authenticity. In this field, it is necessary to forge partnerships in addition to relying on technology alone. For TaaS, we are the technical lead for the rule-making activities in Japan through the Japan Digital Trust Forum. In the Trusted Web Project, we are actively involved in the Trusted Web Promotion Council, which promotes the next-generation web technology concept "Trusted Web" developed in Japan. We also work closely with the Data Society Alliance, which promotes the realization of a reliable data society.

In addition, in an effort to improve the security and trust of AI systems, the AI Cyber Security Project is focusing on the development of technologies to strengthen resistance to the new generation of cyberattacks that are likely to become a social issue in the future, such as using fake data to trick and deliberately mislead AI models.

These diverse activities reflect the Data & Security Research Laboratory’s research focus on digital trust as a social responsibility. Above all, our goal is to position Fujitsu firmly as an industry leader in the area of trust.

Driving Industrial Structural Transformation Through Data Trust

Japan is one of the first countries in the world to see its population start to decline and is about to enter a degrowth society that requires sharing economy and/or global commons. With the advent of "an ultra-efficient society that consumes no resources", resulting from the unbundling of operations (decomposition) and cross-organizational rebundling (division of labor), we will see business operations move completely to cyberspace by 2030. The starting point for this transition is likely to be the digital formation of new industries and communities that operate beyond national and organizational boundaries.

Due to the drastic impact on society caused by the coronavirus crisis, digital transformation (DX) of the industrial structure is now a prerequisite for corporate survival. The key to achieving this is the promotion of cross-industry rebundling. In the future, in addition to the DX of each company, we believe that the DX of society as a whole will be facilitated through optimal restructuring between different companies.

We can only achieve this if we can execute complicated procedures rapidly such as credit, contracting, and accounting, combined with ensuring reliability. This is a fundamental issue in the new normal era, where remote operations are the primary focus. We are working to accelerate this trend by developing a new trading platform that will enable companies to trust each other throughout the information exchange process. We will also create a new industrial structure that will respond to pandemics, environmental changes, and diversification of value. This is the kind of social transformation that Fujitsu envisages, underpinned by TaaS and Trusted Web, areas in which Data & Security Research Laboratory conducts research and development, as the key technologies to realize it.

The Concept of Intangible Values Exchanged as Data in a Sustainable Society

Looking further ahead, we will see the advent of the token economy (virtual economic zone) across countries and industries, as well as the emergence of economic zones where social values other than money will have diversified. For example, in order to achieve zero emissions that do not damage the environment, we have to work together to identify and address the intangible values we have in common. These efforts cannot be achieved by each industry working alone.

Turning to new consumer trends, we are increasingly electing to choose environmentally sustainable products. We can only respond to these changes in values if we can establish a system for exchanging information about the environmental impact. This was previously difficult to track because it was an invisible entity, together with the supply chain behind it. At Data & Security Research Laboratory, we are working to solve these problems by developing a new world-leading blockchain connecting technology.

Fujitsu's Data & Security Research Laboratory is committed to achieving a fundamental social shift in which intangible values are exchanged as data. The Laboratory conducts research to realize trusts that are people-centered, as well as secure in terms of transparency and accountability. We contribute to a society in which everyone can be connected with complete confidence and peace of mind.

Aiming for Advanced Research and Rules Formation to Build Digital Trust in the Data & Security Area

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