Intel will help DARPA tackle data privacy

FHE is important because it enables encrypted data to be processed without first having to decrypt it, thus reducing cyberthreats. (Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay)

Intel has joined Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a research partner to help with its Data Projection in Virtual Environments (DPRIVE) program. This program is looking at ways to advance fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). 

FHE is important because it enables encrypted data to be processed without first having to decrypt it, thus reducing cyberthreats. Currently many businesses rely on a variety of data encryption methods to protect their data while it is in transit or in use. However, these techniques require that data be decrypted for processing. But during that decrypted state, data becomes vulnerable to misuse.

If FHE is able to be implemented at scale it would enable organizations to use techniques such as machine learning, to extract value from large datasets while at the same time protecting data confidentiality. This is particularly important to industries like healthcare or finance.

Intel said that the multi-year program will require work from different Intel groups including Intel Labs, the Design Engineering Group and the Data Platforms Group. The company’s goal is to develop an Application Specific integrated Circuit (ASiC) accelerator that will speed up FHE compute times.

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Intel will not only work with DARPA on the project, but it will also work closely with Microsoft because Microsoft has agreed to test FHE in its Azure cloud platform and Microsoft JEDI cloud.

Intel and Microsoft also said that besides working on the core technologies for the FHE accelerator, they will also work with international standards bodies to develop standards for FHE.