Can digital privacy-protection techniques such as encryption be employed to effectively protect data shared within a large-scale enterprise such as a humanitarian relief effort?
The U.S. Defense Department's research arm -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- has awarded SRI International in Menlo Park an $8.5-million contract to research this question.
Encryption is one technology to be considered, according to SRI, along with techniques to protect the identity of individuals making database inquiries, and encryption designed specifically to shield data used in collaborative efforts. "Researchers will explore the best ways to allow the use of information without losing control of that information," SRI said in its announcement.
"Our goal for this project is to uncover or develop novel privacy-preserving technologies that strike a balance between unfettered information sharing and maintaining the privacy of information embedded in the data," Karen Myers, a program director and principal scientist in SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center, said.