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Development of global data flow technology to achieve personal data protection and free data flow

Reduces data transfer workload to approx. one-sixth, demonstrates global data flow in compliance with Japanese, EU, U.S. and Australian data transfer regulations

August 18, 2020

Global Data Flow Technology


Hitachi, Ltd. has developed a Global Data Flow Technology that can streamline global data analysis and data transfer while protecting personal data and complying with each country or region’s data protection laws. This system performs analysis of confidential data without human input inside the countries or regions in which it was generated and transfers the results, which do not include personal data, to the other countries and/or regions. Demonstration of this system in four locations - Japan, Australia, the U.S. and the EU - revealed that it reduces the human workload for data transfer to approx. one-sixth that of other methods.
Hitachi has incorporated this technology into Lumada Solution Hub*1. With this technology in Lumada Solution Hub, Hitachi is promoting the utilization of data generated in business activities around the world in compliance with data protection and contributing to solving various social issues using digital technology.

Background and issues addressed

Recently, the need for free use of data has increased in all social activities; however, strict management and appropriate use of personal data and confidential information are also strongly required. Japan responded to this thinking at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting with the idea of “Data Free Flow with Trust,” a basic concept needed to extend data governance and business globally. For example, manufacturers operating on a global scale visualize and analyze the proficiency levels of their workers to improve production plans and give technical support to their workers. In such cases, since some data protection laws such as GDPR*2 prohibit transfer of workers’ personal data across countries and regions, the personal data has to be converted to anonymized data and transferred to the other country/region where the data analysts are. However, this workflow often requires manual analysis by engineers at each manufacturing base, which increases the workload of global data analyses.

Developed technologies

To reduce the workload, Hitachi developed this Global Data Flow Technology.

Confirmed results

Demonstration of this system in four locations - Japan, Australia, the U.S. and the EU - revealed that it reduces the human workload for data transfer to approx. one-sixth that of other methods.

Published papers, conferences, events, etc.

Part of this technology was presented at IEEE MobileCloud 2020 at Oxford University in the UK on August 3-6, 2020.

Details of developed technologies

1. Application execution technology that enables easy configuration of location to perform personal data processes

With this technology, data analysts can configure the location to perform processes within one application so that a process using personal data can be configured to be performed only in the location where the personal data was generated. In addition, processes using personal data, such as the anonymizing process and data transfer, are automatically performed without human input.
Furthermore, because it employs the same container technology*3 as Lumada Solution Hub, the system can perform the application without depending on an executing environment at each location. This feature allows data distributed across multiple locations to be analyzed and transferred by one application, reducing workload across the board, from requesting data analysis by local engineers to sending results to data analysts.

2. Cross-border processing technology based on the widely available distributed processing platform HAF/EDC

The system uses Hitachi Application Framework/Event Driven Computing*4 (HAF/EDC), which is a highly reliable and scalable platform for executing distributed processing, to transmit processing orders between applications at different locations. This enables high-speed processing of large amounts of data from multiple, distributed environments, reducing the time required for data analysis and data transfer. In addition, even if one server fails, the system can continue to perform the application because HAF/EDC automatically works with other running servers. Therefore, an application that requires high reliability can be performed by this system.

*1
Lumada Solution Hub: Registers Lumada solutions and application development environments, which have incorporated technologies and industrial expertise accumulated through collaborative creation with customers, into catalogs as an easy-to-introduce package, and provides them on a cloud infrastructure. See the Lumada Solution Hub website for details (https://www.hitachi.co.jp/products/it/lumada/about/lumada_hub/).
*2
GDPR: General Data Protection Regulation
*3
Container technology: Virtually executes application processes using mainly Docker and Kubernetes (open-source software) at the Lumada Solution Hub. See the Docker website (https://www.docker.com/) and Kubernetes website (https://kubernetes.io/) for details. Docker is a registered trademark of Docker, Inc. and Kubernetes is a registered trademark of the Linux Foundation.
*4
HAF/EDC: An event-driven systems development platform and application execution platform created for high-speed processing of large amounts of data in distributed environments. See the HAF/EDC website for details (https://www.hitachi.co.jp/HAF_EDC/).

For more information, use the enquiry form below to contact the Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd. Please make sure to include the title of the article.

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