Top Brazilian Bank Pilots Privacy Encryption Quantum Computers Can’t Break

Even a quantum computer wouldn’t be able to break homomorphic encryption. [Credit: IBM Research.]
IBM Research is focused on how to apply advanced cryptographic schemes such as Homomorphic Encryption (HE) to protect the privacy and confidentiality of both the data during the training of ML models as well as the models themselves, and as a consequence, the prediction task can also be protected. [Credit: IBM Research.]
Timeline of homomoprhic encryption. [Credit: IBM Research.]
Real financial data proof-of-concept with Banco Bradesco. [Credit: IBM Research.]
Homomorphic encryption ensures secure machine learning in the cloud. [Credit: IBM Research.]

“That’s the beauty of homomorphic encryption,” says Bergamaschi. It would be particularly useful to safeguard an individual’s medical records or genome sequence.

Homomorphic encryption also addresses the problem of sharing information. This is crucial because of regulations such as GDPR in Europe, specific privacy laws or even a company’s own regulations. Again, take a bank. There are many different departments: for instance, one is dealing with insurance and another one with investment. If they were to merge, there would be data aggregation — and someone, typically the data analyst, would have access to all the data. “That’s one of the weakest points for data exfiltration,” says Bergamaschi — the person that has the access to all the data as part of their day job. Some banks have strict regulations about the use of external devices, but some don’t — and data may get compromized.

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