Top digital policy official to stress harmonization of AI and data privacy

By Kuksung Nam, The Readable
Jun. 23, 2023 7:53PM GMT+9 Updated Jul. 24, 2023 9:15PM GMT+9

South Korea’s top digital policy official shared his visions on rapidly developing artificial intelligence on Friday, saying that the latest technologies should harmonize with the protection of personal information.

“During the process of using AI and collecting data for its training, we need both technologies and systems to protect personal information,” said Koh Jean, chairman of the presidential committee on digital platform government, during a keynote address at the international conference on AI and data privacy hosted by the presidential committee and South Korea’s privacy watchdog, the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC). The presidential committee, which was established last year, aims to innovate government operations based on emerging technologies.

Koh Jean, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Digital Platform Government, is sitting next to the desk at the chairman’s office. Source: The Presidential Committee on the Digital Platform Government

“AI is indeed a groundbreaking technology, however, there remain concerns over its misuse,” said the chairman. He asserted the importance of establishing measures that will guarantee AI algorithms’ fairness, transparency, and responsibility. These measures would work as a guardrail against possible bias and social discrimination resulting from the misjudgments of the latest technologies.

However, the chairman also expressed his worries related to human emotions. Although emotions such as fear and misunderstanding naturally arise alongside optimistic views, these could work against the development of responsible AI technologies. According to a report issued by the Statistics Research Institute on life satisfaction this year, South Koreans are more afraid of personal information breaches than they are of national security issues, natural disasters, crimes, and outbreaks of new diseases.

In the words of the chairman, with the use of AI, government officials could work more efficiently, making scientific and reasonable policy decisions and provide a higher level of public service to individuals. “We should not limit the use of personal information in AI based on our worries because that data is essential for the benefits that we could be gain from AI,” said the chairman. “Therefore, we need to find ways for the development of AI and the protection of personal data to coexist.

The description of the cover photo: Koh Jean, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Digital Platform Government, is delivering a keynote address at the international conference on AI and data privacy held on Friday. Photo by Kuksung Nam, The Readable

Kuksung Nam is a journalist for The Readable. She has extensively traversed the globe to cover the latest stories on the cyber threat landscape and has been producing in-depth stories on security and privacy by engaging with industry giants, foreign government officials and experts. Before joining The Readable, Kuksung reported on politics for one of South Korea’s top-five local newspapers, The Kyeongin Ilbo. Her journalistic skills and reportage earned her the coveted Journalists Association of Korea award in 2021 for her essay detailing exclusive stories about the misconduct of a former government official. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in French from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, a testament to her linguistic capabilities.