Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETS) are a set of tools, methodologies and techniques that are designed to protect the privacy of individuals and their personal data. These technologies are used to help people maintain control over their personal information and protect them against unauthorized access or misuse by others. Examples of PETs include encryption, anonymous communication tools, digital signatures, and privacy-focused search engines.

PETS can be used in a variety of contexts, such as online transactions, data sharing, and communication systems, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data. PETs are particularly useful when deploying systems that collect personal data, such as medical records, online shopping histories, or credit scores. By using PETS in these contexts, individuals can maintain control over their personal information and reduce the risks associated with data loss, identity theft, or other privacy violations.

Here are several well-known PETs:

Name Definition
Homomorphic Encryption Data and/or models encrypted at rest, in transit, and in use (ensuring sensitive data never needs to be decrypted), but still enables analysis of that data.
Multiparty Computation Allows multiple parties to perform joint computations on individual inputs without revealing the underlying data between them.
Differential Privacy Data aggregation method that adds randomized “noise” to the data; data cannot be reverse engineered to understand the original inputs.
Federated Learning Statistical analysis or model training on decentralized data sets; a traveling algorithm where the model gets “smarter” with every analysis of the data.
Secure Enclave/Trusted Execution Environment A physically isolated execution environment, usually a secure area of a main processor, that guarantees code and data loaded inside to be protected.
Zero-Knowledge Proofs Cryptographic method by which one party can prove to another party that a given statement is true without conveying any additional information apart from the fact that the statement is indeed true.