Homomorphic encryption standards group could help secure cloud biometrics

Categories Biometric R&D  |  Biometrics News  |  Trade Notes

The security of many cloud biometrics systems could soon be significantly enhanced, as a group of nearly 100 members of the security, privacy, and artificial intelligence communities are coming together under the direction of Intel, Microsoft Research, and Duality Technologies to create standards for homomorphic encryption (HE).

An HE standards workshop was held at Intel’s Santa Clara campus to begin the project on the encryption method, which is becoming a leading way to protect privacy in machine learning and cloud computing, according to the announcement. HE allows AI computation to be performed on encrypted data, enabling sensitive data to be processed without decrypting it or the models used.

“Many of the AI systems that we use and enjoy today are built on and shaped by data, which can be private and sensitive,” comments Intel AI Products Group Office of the CTO Senior Director Casimir Wierzynski. “As homomorphic encryption gains momentum, Intel is proud to collaborate with Microsoft Research and Duality Technologies on standardizing homomorphic encryption to unlock the power of AI, while still respecting and protecting data privacy.”

The full-day workshop provided researchers, application developers, security practitioners and encryption experts with an introduction to HE, including real-life applications and the latest research, and a group discussion on standards.

“As a provider of a data science platform optimized for homomorphic encryption, we are excited to be working with Intel and Microsoft Research on this industry standardization initiative,” says Kurt Rohloff, CTO and co-founder of Duality Technologies and associate professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. “Homomorphic encryption standards are opening the market to a broad range of participants on all layers of the secure computing stack – industry, science, governments, academia, and beyond. Standards are accelerating the adoption of privacy-enhanced information sharing across regulated industries, helping reconcile data utility and data privacy.”

Microsoft says it has invested heavily in HE, including the commercial enterprise tool Microsoft SEAL, while Intel open-sourced its HE-Transformer last year to enable data scientists to develop neural networks on open-source frameworks for operation on encrypted data.

The global Biometrics-as-a-Service market is expected to grow at a 17 percent CAGR to $2.7 billion by 2024.

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