Personal Data Store

Utilizing personal data with consideration for privacy

Research Engineer, Internet Service Systems Research Division

YAMAKAMI Yuki joined NHK in 2011. After working in the NHK Toyama Station, he moved to NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) in 2017, to conduct research on broadcast-broadband integration technologies. His hobby is taking vacations by train.

Almost everyone has had the experience of purchasing a product or visiting a touristic area that they heard about in a television program. In such ways, the television that we watch every day is closely related to our behavior in real life and on the internet. To implement a user experience that enables users to use the information from broadcasts easily and to find new broadcast content that is suited to them, we are researching use of personal data*1, which includes their viewing history.

These days, providers of various internet services are collecting usage history from users, inferring their preferences or behavior, and providing services customized to the user. However, when multiple services are linked, such as a household accounting app and an internet banking app, these different service providers exchange the user’s personal data, and it is very difficult for the user to know how well they will protect their privacy. A resulting issue is that users cannot feel secure in using these services.

As such, we have been studying a mechanism that uses a personal data store (PDS) to keep the personal data with the user, while also enabling provision of personalized services. A PDS is a “box” that enables users themselves to maintain their own personal data and to manage which services will use it. Various data is recorded in a single PDS that users manage themselves, so data can be linked between different services with flexibility. We believe that using such a mechanism, individual users will be able to use personalized broadcast services with confidence.

In this case, we prototyped a system that stores data using a PDS and a smartphone app that uses this data. Rather than disclosing their own personal data to NHK or internet service providers, users are able to check their viewing history of programs from NHK and other broadcasters as well as on YouTube and other internet video services, all on one screen. They can also receive recommendations for programs related to content they have posted on social media. In this way, users can discover behavior patterns they were not aware of in themselves, they can find unexpected programs, and make other serendipitous discoveries.

PDS is still a new idea around the world, which will enable users to control their own personal information. We are keeping an eye on examples where it is used overseas, while also prototyping and verifying concrete examples of services and continuing our research in collaboration with other businesses.

Concept for personalized services using the PDS
Screen images of the prototype application
  1. Data indicating users’ history of television viewing and use of various other internet services.