IBM trialling cryptographic algorithm for identity management

IBM is working with Australia's CSIRO and the German Red Cross to investigate the use of its Identity Mixer technology, which it hopes will allow consumers to better protect their personal data online.

Identity Mixer uses an algorithm to encrypt the certified identity attributes of a user, such as their age, nationality, address and credit card number, in such a way that the user is able to reveal only selected pieces to third parties.

It can be used within a digital wallet, which contains credentials certified by a trusted third party, such as a government-issued electronic identity card.

To demonstrate the new cloud version of Identity Mixer, IBM scientists are collaborating with the Deutsches Rotes Kreuz and the CSIRO on a new pilot project called Authentication and Authorisation for Entrusted Unions (AU2EU).

Previously available for smart cards, Identity Mixer is now being made available to developers as a web service in IBM Bluemix, IBM's new platform-as-service (PaaS) cloud. BlueMix subscribers can experiment with Identity Mixer within their own applications and web services.

Developers can choose the types of data they wish to secure and BlueMix will provide the code, which can then be embedded in their service. Identity Mixer can also be implemented for on-premise private clouds.

The two-year project will involve CSIRO testing the technology to protect Australia’s agricultural productivity and related export trade from exotic diseases, particularly in animals.

A second pilot will run simultaneously with Deutsches Rotes Kreuz (DKR), which delivers tailored social care services including emergency services, assisted mobility, housekeeping and nursing assistance. The organisation has four million volunteers and professional staff, 52 hospitals and more than 500 nursing homes operated worldwide.

In the AU2EU pilot, 20 DRK pilot participants in the southwest of Germany will be equipped with sensors for in-home activity and status monitoring. The data gathered from these sensors will be transferred to a dedicated cloud server, where the data will be analyaed to determine the type of assistance required.

In addition, DRK field representatives will be provided with a mobile device to collect and register sensitive customer data, such as medical records, medication and family contacts, to establish a service contract. Identity Mixer will be used to keep all of this data confidential and private. The technology will be implemented by NEC Europe and Tunstall Healthcare.

Australia has developed an emergency rapid response plan to quickly take action before an outbreak spreads, involving bringing together government, academic and other research organisations into a secure, trustworthy online collaborative environment.

Using Identity Mixer, the pilot will help facilitate the secure sharing of sensitive information in a timely matter across several remote locations and between collaborating partners.

“Speed and responding rapidly to disease incidents are absolutely vital towards saving the lives of both humans and animals,” CSIRO principal research scientist John Zic said. “Using the advanced technologies in this pilot, we expect to see gains in the ability to respond, while still maintaining the security, privacy and trust required to be effective.”

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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