Visa’s Rolls Out New Blockchain LucidiTEE – Tackles Concerns related to misuse of sensitive user data, when shared with third-parties.

LucidiTEE: Policy-Compliant Fair Computing at Scale

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Visa’s LucidiTEE claims to be the first system to enable multiple parties to jointly compute on large-scale private data while guaranteeing policy-compliance even when the input providers are offline and allows fairness to all output recipients. The project, from the research arm of Visa –  aims to take on growing concerns related to misuse of sensitive user data when shared with third-parties. 

It is a system they claim provides transparency and control to users by: 

  1. Enforcing agreed-upon policies on what functions can be evaluated over private data (even when the users are offline).
  2. Enforcing the set of parties with whom the results are shared. For this level of control, the system must ensure policy compliance, and they demonstrate, using modern applications, the need for history-based policies, where any decision to compute on users’ data depends on prior use of that data. Moreover, the system must algorithmically ensure fairness: if any party gets the output, then so do all honest parties. It is an open research challenge to construct a system that ensures these properties in a malicious setting.

From the dense, lengthy paper called  LucidiTEE: Policy-based Fair Computing at Scale: 

“In light of the widespread misuse of personal data, we enable users to control the sharing and use of their data, even when offline, by binding that data to policies. A policy specifies the allowed function, conditions guarding the execution (based on the history of all prior computations on that data), and identities of the input providers and output recipients. For this level of control, we aim for a computer system that ensures policy compliance to the input providers, and fairness (i.e., either all or no party gets the output) to the output recipients, without requiring these parties to trust each other or the compute host. Recently, trusted execution environments (TEEs), such as Intel SGX and Sanctum enclaves, are finding applications in outsourced computing on sensitive data. However, since TEEs are at the mercy of an untrusted host for storage and network communication, they are incapable of enforcing history-dependent policies or fairness.”

“For instance, against a user’s wish that only an aggregate function over her entire data is revealed, an adversarial host can repeatedly evaluate that aggregate function on different subsets of her dataset, and learn the individual records. The adversary may also collude and deliver the output only to a subset of the output recipients, thus violating fairness. This paper presents LucidiTEE, the first system to enable multiple parties to jointly compute on large-scale private data while guaranteeing that the aforementioned policies are enforced even when the input providers are offline and guaranteeing fairness to all output recipients. To that end, LucidiTEE develops a set of novel protocols between a network of TEEs and a shared, append-only ledger. LucidiTEE uses the ledger only to enforce policies; it does not store inputs, outputs, or state on the ledger, nor does it duplicate execution amongst the participants, which allows it to scale to large data and a large number of parties. We demonstrate several policy-based applications including personal finance, federated machine learning, fair n-party information exchange, and private set intersection for medical records.”

According to the paper, LucidiTEE was trialled on Hyperledger Fabric and Tendermint –  but it appears it can also be used on forkless public blockchains that use a proof-of-stake consensus system. 

The paper concludes that LucidiTEE enables parties to jointly compute on private data, using protocols (between TEEs and a shared ledger) to ensure that all computations provide fairness and comply with history-based policies, even when any subset of parties act maliciously. The ledger is only used to enforce policies (i.e., it does not store inputs, outputs, or state), letting them scale to a large number of parties and large data.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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