A New (Old) Way to Protect Privacy: Disclose Less


[Disclaimer: Microsoft is my employer]

Didn’t the tech companies tell us to disclose our data? It’s a brave new world . . . post your life online . . .

But I digress. Microsoft and IBM have collaborated on creating a tool allowing individuals to disclose certain aspects of their identity without revealing others.

Microsoft and IBM’s solution is called Attribute-Based Credentials, or ABC, and their pilot project is scheduled to be announced tomorrow to coincide with what’s being called Data Privacy Day. ABC is supposed to last four years and result in both a credential architecture and a reference implementation complete with source code that will be made publicly available.

The first application is scheduled to appear at Norrtullskolan, a secondary school in Sëderhamn, Sweden, and will allow students and parents to communicate with school officials and access a social network–while protecting their privacy at the same time. Another pilot will be implemented for grading the faculty at the Research Academic Computer Technology Institute in Patras, Greece.

Both pilot project rely on a system called ABC4Trust, which is designed to allow students or parents to “prove” certain aspects of their identity without revealing others. A student can cryptographically prove that she’s a member of a sports team, or demonstrate that he has attended a certain class.

Read the entire article (with some interesting cites) by clicking here.

One thought on “A New (Old) Way to Protect Privacy: Disclose Less

  1. Before I read the article at the end, I was about to comment that this sounds just like Stefan Brands’ work in anonymous digital credentials back around the turn of the century. Come to find out it is just that seeing as how Microsoft bought up Brand’s company in 2008.

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