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AI and Human Rights
NEC has formulated the “NEC Group AI and Human Rights Principles” (hereinafter referred to as the “Companywide principles”) to guide our employees to recognize respect for privacy and human rights as the highest priority in our business operations in relation to social implementation of AI and utilization of biometrics and other data (“AI utilization”).
In addition to facilitating compliance with relevant laws and regulations around the globe, the Companywide principles will guide our employees to recognize respect for human rights as the highest priority in each and every stage of our business operations in relation to AI utilization and enable them to take action accordingly.
In accordance with the Companywide principles, the NEC Group is committed to the three following initiatives:
Ensure that all products and services are implemented and utilized by NEC employees, customers and partners appropriately
Continue to develop advanced technology and talent to further promote AI utilization
Engage with a range of stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborate with closely
In October 2018 we established the Digital Trust Business Strategy Division to create and promote Companywide strategies to incorporate the notion of respect for human rights into business operations in relation to AI utilization. The division is promoting business operations with respect for human rights through ways such as establishment of internal systems and conducting training for employees to incorporate the Companywide principles into our business operations, as well as strengthening its links with relevant divisions such as the research and business divisions.
Main Activities and Results for Fiscal 2020
In AI utilization, we conducted the following initiatives in fiscal 2020 to promote business operations with respect for human rights.
Incorporation of the Companywide Principles into Business Operations
Since the formulation of the Companywide principles in April 2019, we have promoted initiatives to incorporate this way of thinking into relevant businesses.
Training for Employees
As a part of this, we conducted training for employees of NEC Corporation and affiliated companies in Japan so that they can act appropriately with respect for human rights in business operations, in accordance with the Companywide principles.
For example, approximately 50,000 people including employees of affiliated companies in Japan received online training that presents human rights issues associated with AI utilization and points to be aware of in related businesses.
In addition to the above, employees who are key players in our biometrics business were given lectures on global trends in biometrics and human rights to deepen their understanding. We also provided support to ensure that respect for human rights is incorporated into individual proposal and promotion activities.
Establishment of External Expert Advisory Council
NEC has established the Digital Trust Advisory Council (hereinafter referred to as the “Advisory Council”). Our aim is to incorporate diverse opinions from external experts, (a lawyer, a member of an NPO, an academic, and a consumer), who have specialized knowledge on legal systems, human rights and privacy, and ethics, and use them to strengthen our ability to deal with new issues arising from AI utilization.
In fiscal 2020, we held the Advisory Council twice in Japan, and consulted on the impacts to be grasped and measures to deal with them, as well as our initiatives to promote business operations with respect for human rights based on the Companywide principles in light of global trends around biometrics authentication. The Advisory Council provided expert knowledge on directions for strengthening our initiatives, as well as valuable opinions such as consumers’ expectations for NEC and other matters.