DARPA looks to measure privacy protection

DARPA looks to measure privacy protection

Privacy, especially when it comes to data, can be difficult to pin down. Security measures are key, but when done wrong can add to the difficulty, making it hard for authorized users to effectively access the data they need.  So the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been funding research efforts to develop technologies that could help bridge troublesome privacy gaps.

A DARPA effort known as the Brandeis Project -- named after former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and privacy advocate Louis Brandeis -- for the past year has been underwriting research and development for a range of privacy tools. And for the second time in three months, DARPA has awarded more than $6 million to Galois for privacy research.

The latest grant is for the TAMBA Project, which involves a collection of analyses and metrics known as the Knowledge-Based Measurement Framework. The KBMF tracks how private data leaks from a system over time and measures the damage of those leaks to assess the impact of the information released. (TAMBA stands for Testing and Modeling of Brandeis Artifacts.)

The TAMBA project team includes researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland, College Park, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Charles River Analytics.

Stephen Magill, the research lead for Galois, is confident TAMBA can change privacy metrics.

“Every day we knowingly and unknowingly contribute data to applications and systems that claim to be privacy preserving,” Magill said. “TAMBA will build the analysis techniques and tools necessary to formally check whether the privacy controls offered by a system match user expectations.”

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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