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Professor Ken Takeuchi develops “right to be forgotten” memory

Professor Ken Takeuchi (Department of Electrical, Electronic and Communication Engineering; Faculty of Science and Engineering) has successfully developed a memory system which realizes the “right to be forgotten,” a concept for protecting privacy on the Internet.

In today’s society, there is the problem of losses and disadvantages caused by private information and incorrect information which has been posted on the Internet in the past. Accordingly, digital data’s “right to be forgotten” is currently attracting great attention. This issue of whether data should be forgotten (deleted) is quite complex and requires judgment based on the principles of “right to know” and “freedom of expression.” Ultimately, individual response is required based on the creator and content of data.

Professor Takeuchi has developed a memory system in which the lifespan of data posted on SNS or other Internet sites is set in advance. Upon reaching the specified point in time, the data is automatically corrupted. By automatically corrupting data in the memory where data is recorded at the time specified by the user, and by making it impossible to reproduce the destroyed data, this new system (Privacy-protection Solid-State Storage (PP-SSS) System) realizes “the right to be forgotten” which ensures greater privacy. Specifically, the system uses the property of being able to predict with high accuracy the error rate of flash memory. Based on the designated lifespan, a specified number of errors are intentionally inserted into the data when it is written to a memory. This causes the data to be corrupted at the specified time and makes it impossible to fix the data.

The system can control intentional corruption of the data at the specified point in time. Accordingly, there is no physical damage to the memory device itself and memory can be reused.

In the case of HDD, magnetic tape, DVDs, and other conventional memory mediums which used mechanical parts, it was difficult to predict the fatigue and breakdown of mechanical parts. This prevented the forecast and control of data lifespan. On the other hand, the new system uses a flash memory (a semiconductor product) as the memory medium. Since the data corruption (generation of error) in flash memory due to leakage current can be predicted, it is possible to freely control the data lifespan. This technology is expected to create a new market for semiconductor memory.

This research is the result of the “Very-Low Power Consuming Data Centric Computing Technology Necessary for CPS in the IoT Era,” part of the Program for Leading New Technology for Energy and Environment which is a commissioned project of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The research was conducted as part of Data Centric Computing Research at the Research and Development Initiative of Chuo University.

These research results were presented at the IEEE Symposium on VLSI Circuits which was held in Kyoto from June 15 to 19, 2015.

Details are available at the links below.
Press release (PDF: 519KB)new window
Green-Nano LSI Circuit System (Takeuchi Laboratory)new window