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Cybernetica researcher wins grant to study soft spots in digital identity

Cybernetica researcher wins grant to study soft spots in digital identity

Cybernetica Senior Researcher Peeter Laud has won a research grant for 769,600 Euros (approximately US$812,000) from the Estonian Research Council to work on points of failure in digital identity proofs.

Laud will lead a project made up of three areas, researching single points of failure in digital identity proofs and how they can be addressed with distributed identity and zero-knowledge proofs (ZKP), according to the announcement.

“Digital identity systems are a cornerstone of our society. Distributing the functionalities of such systems as much as possible allows us to remove single points of failure, and improve the privacy properties of the system. It may also allow us to better carry over the formation of someone’s identity to the digital world,” comments Laud.

The three directions of the research project are an exploration of how the issuance of digital evidence can be made as private as possible through cryptography and ZKP, post-quantum secure protocols, and how digital identity management can take advantage of how identity is formed from a collection of attributes.

Cybernetica has been working on the development of a zero-knowledge proof compiler for close to three years, Laud says, which could address the first area. The second area tracks close to Cybernetica’s patented SplitKey technology, which has been integrated with biometric digital identity solutions from Idemia.

“The world is moving rapidly towards digital identity solutions to provide meaningful value to citizens, service providers and governments. Privacy in regards to digital identity is a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed and Peeter’s research on zero-knowledge proofs is another commitment by Cybernetica and Peeter to provide world class eID solutions whilst preserving end users’ personal data, which is an absolute must today and, in the future,” explains Michael Buckland, Cybernetica’s head of digital identity technologies department. “Peeter’s work with threshold cryptography for private key protection is already providing positive and effective outcomes every day and as we move to a post quantum world, it’s work like Peeter’s that will drive a new level of unbreakable protection mechanisms.”

The research project will be funded for four years.

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