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Homomorphic Encryption Finally Ready for Commercial Adoption

Homomorphic encryption, which allows meaningful computing on encrypted data, ready for commercial applications.

eetasia.com, Aug. 28, 2019 – 

Homomorphic encryption has often been referred to as the Holy Grail of encryption, since it allows computations to be carried out on encrypted data, without needing to decrypt it first.

With existing encryption schemes, encrypted data may be shared, but the key also has to be shared if you want to do anything with it – a critical vulnerability. With homomorphic encryption, sensitive data could be encrypted and then processed in the cloud, and the encrypted result returned without the data ever having been decrypted.

Homomorphic encryption was first discovered in 2009, and ten years on, it is finally ready for initial commercial adoption. Up to now, while processing encrypted data was theoretically possible, it was so computationally intense that it was deemed out of reach for real-world applications. Recent advances have brought it within the realms of usability for the first time.

The implications for AI are tremendous. In the world of machine learning, large-scale computation tasks, particularly training, are frequently offloaded to remote computing resources or accelerators in the cloud. This is a concern for privacy-bound industries such as finance and healthcare, which hold vast untapped potential for data science and AI. Then there is the concept of pooling data from different sources for training AI systems, without actually sharing the data – each party retains their data privacy, while the system learns from it anyway.

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