Google is known for developing software and open sourcing it for the community to use, with its core business continue to revolve about advertising and data-mining. Yes, critics always echo that Google’s “don’t do evil” former motto was just for PR, which got some credit given that the search giant removed (or forgotten) that motto existed today. The company continues with its tradition of open sourcing their software, the latest of which is the Private Join and Compute, designed for core PSI protocol augmentation platform for multi-parties. Labeled as “Collaborating with data sets in the privacy-safe ways”, Private Join and Compute can be considered as Google providing the community to compute and compare large data sets as Google does internally.
“When you’re working with sensitive data, how can one party gain aggregated insights about the other party’s data without either of them learning any information about individuals in the datasets? That’s the exact challenge that Private Join and Compute helps solve,” explained Amanda Walker, Engineering Director at Google in their official blog site.
Google boasted that their tool provides two fundamental cryptographic techniques, namely:
- Homomorphic encryption
Encrypted data can be computed, even without the need to decrypt it. This is very useful for data analytics while being with full compliance with data privacy laws, especially EU’s GDPR. All identifiable properties of the encrypted data remains secret, but the technology still provides useful information, a quasi-meta data in other words.
- Private set intersection
A technology where two distinct parties can both probe the data at the same time. Encrypted properties remain hidden from them, yet they can identify common patterns between data sets.
“This combination of techniques ensures that nothing but the size of the joined set and the statistics (e.g. sum) of its associated values is revealed. Individual items are strongly encrypted with random keys throughout and are not available in raw form to the other party or anyone else,” added Walker.
Google has a high interest in their customers/users to be able to gather more data, as such data will probably land on one of their services as well, a win-win for the search giant. The company mentioned to watch this space, given that it already started experimenting with collaborative machine learning which is expected to focus on user security and aggregated ads measurement in the very near future.
“This is just the beginning of what’s possible. This technology can help advance valuable research in a wide array of fields that require organizations to work together without revealing anything about individuals represented in the data,” highlighted Walker.
Google is expecting the following industry to take advantage of the Private Join and Compute Open Source Community, which the company promises will be further enhanced through the lifecycle of the product:
- Automobile manufacturers
- Health Care providers
- Diversity & Inclusion industry
- Government and Policy Makers
Private Join and Compute keeps individual information safe while allowing organizations to accurately compute and draw useful insights from aggregate statistics. By sharing the technology more widely, we hope this expands the use cases for secure computing,” concluded Walker.