New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is using cybersecurity software to protect individual privacy involved in contact tracing.
The healthcare process of identifying who traveled close to contagious patients, known as contact tracing, typically assumes a lack of privacy — but NJIT cybersecurity expert Kurt Rohloff said his software is a good match to fix this.
Rohloff is known in the computer security field for his work in homomorphic encryption, which is a method of processing private information without decrypting it or exposing the sensitive parts. The method has roots in defense and intelligence applications, but is also useful for healthcare and the COVID-19 pandemic, he observed, in a recent United Nations Global Summit webinar series called AI For Good
.Working on data without decrypting it tends to sacrifice some speed, however, “Contact tracing provides a much more quick and [more] effective response than potentially locking down a country if done early enough,” said Rohloff, director of NJIT’s Cybersecurity Research Center. “It’s intended to be a less-painfulstep … but it is very, very privacy-intensive.”
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