WAN-IFRA Media Congress / Yomiuri Shimbun Managing Editor Promotes Innovation for Safer Cyberspace

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Yomiuri Shimbun Managing Editor Riichiro Maeki delivers a speech at the World News Media Congress in Taipei on Friday.

TAIPEI — “The internet will be a safer space” if a digital technology called Originator Profile is put into practical use, Yomiuri Shimbun Managing Editor Riichiro Maeki said Friday at the World News Media Congress.

Maeki gave a presentation on the OP system at the 74th annual conference, organized by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). This year’s three-day conference started on Wednesday in Taipei to discuss challenges such as fake news and generative artificial intelligence.

“The most critical issue I see concerns the sources of information,” Maeki said at the beginning of his presentation, referring to the risks to media posed by generative AI.

“Generative AI consumes vast amounts of information on the internet to generate answers, but it is not entirely clear where it gets its sources,” Maeki said. “Concerns about whether generative AI might be misused to spread false information must be an issue that cannot be ignored.”

Maeki explained the usefulness of the OP system, which shows the credibility of the source or originator of information, by taking the actual circumstances in cyberspace into account.

The OP system is designed to reveal and confirm the credibility of the source or originator of information online. The technology embeds an electronic identifier in each piece of information, such as an article or advertisement.

Specifically, data about the sender of information is embedded in the identifier, allowing users to view information related to credibility that is confirmed by third-party organizations. This credibility-related information means, for example, stating the editorial policy and reporting responsibility for media companies and the corporate stance for advertisers.

In December last year, The Yomiuri Shimbun and other parties established the Originator Profile Collaborative Innovation Partnership (OPCIP) to test the OP technology, with the goal of putting it into practical use. Since the technology is also useful for advertisements, major advertising firms are among the 27 companies and organizations that have joined. All of Japan’s national newspapers are part of the OPCIP.

By the end of this year, Maeki said that the OPCIP will trial a system in an open internet environment in which digital advertisements embedded with the electronic identifiers are published along with articles that have similarly embedded identifiers that recognize each other.

The aim is for widespread use of the OP technology in Japan by the end of 2025 and the establishment of the technology as an international standard.

“We hope that this model will succeed in Japan, and then spread to many other countries,” Maeki said.

With copyright infringement and the leakage of personal data among the concerns with generative AI, Maeki said: “If we develop the OP that identifies those who made such copies using generative AI, we will be able to clarify the sources of dubious information to some extent. Newspapers and other media also may be able to confirm if their reports and coverage were used by generative AI.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun