Authenticity and Utilization of Data
Knowing the Source of Information
We encounter numerous photos and videos on the internet during our casual scrolling. How are these digital contents we use daily filtered and circulated online? Understanding the process of data handling can contribute to improving our media literacy.
The Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI), announced by Adobe in 2019, is a group of hundreds of creators. Their goal is to clarify the origins of digital content, starting with photos and videos, and ensure media transparency. The service records information at various stages, from content creation, editing, publishing, to viewing, and provides users with this clear data. Their website offers a feature that checks the authenticity information of the content by dragging it onto the platform.
CAI collaborates with numerous media companies, including Canon, BBC, Microsoft, and The Wall Street Journal. They also focus on cross-industry participation, involving creators, technicians, journalists, and activists. The collaboration of diverse media and professionals in ensuring content reliability is fascinating. The involvement of many experts backs the credibility of CAI as an authentication organization. One of CAI’s core principles is accessibility, allowing anyone, regardless of location or technical proficiency, to use information sources. This reminds us that the right to discern the veracity of information should be accessible to everyone.
Knowing the source of information and services like CAI that authenticate information can be one of the ways to protect oneself from misinformation. With technology enabling high-level editing by individuals, it’s also important to pay attention to companies like CAI that strive for transparency in information.
In the following opinion, we will unravel “data management,” based on examples from companies and digitally advanced countries.
The Battle Against Deepfakes
Deepfakes became a major topic in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Nowadays, deepfakes can be easily created using apps, leading to significant social issues like fake porn and harm to celebrities. How are companies addressing this issue?
In October, camera manufacturer ‘Leica’ released a new camera, ‘M11-P,’ with a new feature, ‘Content Credentials.’ This function automatically adds a digital signature with the photographer’s name, camera settings, date, time, and location of the shot. If edited in Photoshop, the editing history is saved as data, enhancing image transparency and protecting the work.
Google also announced a new feature in October to enhance the authenticity of images. The ‘about this photo’ feature allows users to check how a photo was taken, edited, and when it first appeared on Google.
In addition, companies like Microsoft and Twitter’s successor X, as well as media companies like The New York Times and BBC, are collectively advancing these efforts. In the near future, images without provenance information may struggle to gain trust.
Data Management Until Death
We live constantly surrounded by a plethora of data. How many of us know what data about us exists and where? What happens to our online data if we die tomorrow?
Terms like ‘digital end-of-life planning’ and ‘digital legacy’ have become increasingly common. A survey on end-of-life awareness among Japanese aged 50-79 revealed that 24.9% consider ‘organizing data on computers and SNS’ as part of their end-of-life planning, higher than ‘preparing a grave’ (21.1%) or ‘funeral preparations’ (20.6%).
Since 2021, Apple has offered ‘Legacy Contact,’ and Google has ‘Inactive Account Manager’, allowing users to pass their data to a chosen inheritor after death. SNS platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn also have features to manage one’s data posthumously.
While personal data on SNS is secured, digital assets like net banking, cryptocurrencies, and life insurance are often neglected.
How can we securely manage and pass on these data while alive?
A service addressing this digital society’s pitfall, ‘akareko,’ emerged in August this year. For a monthly fee of 495 yen, it allows storing login information for net banking, cryptocurrency accounts, EC sites, payment services, life insurance, and smartphones. After a user’s death, an appointed inheritor can access this information upon uploading a death certificate and approval by the operator.
While literacy in posthumous data management spreads, the exponential increase in online data due to rapid digital technology advancements is inevitable. The question arises: when should we start considering our digital legacy? It’s a challenging thought. Personally, I hope to live healthily for at least another 30 years, but I already feel overwhelmed by my online data.
To avoid being swallowed by the digital society’s whirlpool, might be better to regularly discuss data management with ourselves and our families.
Learning from Denmark's Digital Government
Denmark ranked first in the 2022 UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) World e-Government Ranking. Denmark’s digital government, based on the e-Government strategy initiated in 2001, is realized through collaboration among all administrative institutions, including local governments. Let’s break down how Denmark became a digitally advanced country into three categories.
Consistent Digitalization Driven by Public Institutions
The Danish government has made basic data about the country and its citizens available to all administrative institutions through the ‘Data Distributor’ platform. This prevents citizens and businesses from having to repeatedly access multiple administrative bodies.
User-Centric Standardization of Administrative Processes and Data
The government has created ‘User Journeys’ as guides for citizens to use administrative services for various life events. This initiative revises administrative processes from a ‘user’ perspective, simplifying procedures while reforming systems as needed.
Legal Frameworks to Drive Digitalization
In Denmark, general administrative procedures have been mandatory online since 2014. This has realized 92% digitalization of administrative interactions with citizens and 100% with businesses. Success factors include simultaneous measures for IT literacy improvement and the implementation of a digital proxy system.
Japan’s IT strategy started with the ‘e-Japan strategy,’ almost the same time as Denmark, but recently the lag in administrative digital shift is being criticized. The issuance rate of My Number Cards, a key access tool for citizens, remains at 77.1%. Insights from Denmark’s initiatives could provide clues to improve this situation in Japan.