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[Slashdot] - Why IBM is Pushing 'Fully Homomorphic Encryption'


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VentureBeat reports on a "next-generation security" technique that allows data to remain encrypted while it's being processed. "A security process known as fully homomorphic encryption is now on the verge of making its way out of the labs and into the hands of early adopters after a long gestation period." Companies such as Microsoft and Intel have been big proponents of homomorphic encryption. Last December, IBM made a splash when it released its first homomorphic encryption services. That package included educational material, support, and prototyping environments for companies that want to experiment. In a recent media presentation on the future of cryptography, IBM director of strategy and emerging technology Eric Maass explained why the company is so bullish on "fully homomorphic encryption" (FHE)... "IBM has been working on FHE for more than a decade, and we're finally reaching an apex where we believe this is ready for clients to begin adopting in a more widespread manner," Maass said. "And that becomes the next challenge: widespread adoption. There are currently very few organizations here that have the skills and expertise to use FHE." To accelerate that development, IBM Research has released open source toolkits, while IBM Security launched its first commercial FHE service in December... Maass said in the near term, IBM envisions FHE being attractive to highly regulated industries, such as financial services and health care. "They have both the need to unlock the value of that data, but also face extreme pressures to secure and preserve the privacy of the data that they're computing upon," he said. The Wikipedia entry for homomorphic encryption calls it "an extension of either symmetric-key or public-key cryptography."

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