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Homomorphic Encryption Standardization

In addition to becoming widely used in practice, homomorphic encryption is also in the process of being standardized. Duality Technologies has been a leader in this effort, but we’ve had many brand-name partners in the effort who all see it in their interest to use standardized homomorphic encryption technologies, like the open-source PALISADE technologies that we are commercializing.

Homomorphic encryption standardization began as a collaboration between Microsoft, NIST and two Duality Technologies co-founders, Prof. Kurt Rohloff and Prof. Vinod Vaikuntanathan.  This group organized the first-ever homomorphic encryption standardization workshop in June 2016, with hosting and financial consideration from Microsoft.  Initial participants included IBM, NIH, US Navy, NIST, Microsoft, ISO and many others.

This initial meeting was a huge success, with several concrete outcomes.  Participants wrote three white papers on 1) security settings for secure homomorphic encryption, 2) API standards for homomorphic encryption and 3) applications of homomorphic encryption.  There was further broad agreement on the need to see real progress on standardizing homomorphic encryption.  We, as a community, agreed to form an industry consortium to organize homomorphic encryption and to plan for regular follow-up meetings to develop the homomorphic encryption standard.

With leadership from Duality Technologies co-founders, the industry consortium was formed.  This organization has, as its reason for existence, the mandate to generate a community-driven standard for secure homomorphic encryption.  Participants in this consortium include major multi-nationals such as IBM and Microsoft, leading academic institutions such as a MIT and Stanford, and leading startups like Duality Technologies.

As a result of the early standardization efforts, the PALISADE open-source community adopted the open-source library to conform with the emerging standard.  The PALISADE team has committed to maintaining standards compliance in their library, the Duality Technologies team is heavily supportive of this.  All customizations and modifications that Duality Technologies makes to the PALISADE library for our customers’ needs will continue to conform to standards.

The next step in our standardization effort is a two-day meeting in March at MIT, host by our co-founder Vinod Vaikuntanathan, and sponsored by Microsoft and Duality Technologies.  A goal for this meeting include the generation of a draft security standard for homomorphic encryption, and the growth of our community’s consortium.  Draft white papers are hosted on the site, but please feel free to ask us for more information about the standardization efforts – we’re heavily involved!

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