James Qu：There are a lot of answers when you google it. Let’s make it simple by example. Imagine in the great old time, when you buy sth in cash, you don’t need to tell who you are, how old you are, your blood type, your birth day, your favorites and dislikes, your family members, and your living area etc. You will disclose only when needed or willing to.
How about now when we do online shopping? Why we are receiving pin-point advertisements on a super right timing?
Privacy is actually the sensitive data of something owned by certain individual or institutes. A third party could gain unfair advantages with those data if got leaked out. So in the core, it is the value of data, or data rights. In current digital era, when we are surrounded by smart IoT devices, our daily life and business are monitored and digitalized from thousands of angles. Different forms data such as audio, video, text, and logs are evaluated by state of art AI modeling running on state of art cloud of hardwires. Massive big data based learning, decision making, procedure optimizations had brought huge value to our daily life as well as business. We are thrilled by pinpoint direct advertisements provided by a few mega platforms which collected far more private sensitive data than needed. Imaging when those mega platforms database got hacked? The key is we lost control of our sensitive data.
Only with source data rights be protected, computation algorithms like AI be protected, and computing power be recognized, we could enter a fair AGI sustainable paradigm. That is what PlatON focusing at! When we speak of privacy computing, according to PlatON’s view, it must be verifiable. Ideally mathematically verifiable. Only been told it is privacy preserving enabled is not enough.
499Block：What does privacy computing provide for privacy protection in the current Internet era?
James Qu：In short, privacy computing is the base for a better digital world.
We believe all data rights are based on computing, a specialized, privacy preserved computing. Data has a long life cycle from “collected” or generated, standardized, stored, computed, till upgraded to next level. Only privacy computing could safe guard raw data, define data ownership, connect data silos with protected AI modules, to generate adding value new data without leak of original source data. Of cause this requires a infrastructure supports a group of functions, such as digital ID, cryptography capabilities, data life cycle management capabilities, ownership transfer, usability management and economical settlement and clearing trustless infrastructure.
According to Statistical analysis, the number of connected devices worldwide is expected to reach 30.9 billion by 2025. Connected devices and services create enormous amounts of data, and IDC forecasts that by 2025 the global data will grow to 163 zettabytes (that is a trillion gigabytes). That’s ten times the 16.1ZB of data generated in 2016. All this data will unlock unique user experiences and a new world of business opportunities.
Data with nick name of modern oil, without privacy computing, AI model will run with out high quality fine data since sensitive good data will not be provided, hence will become a bottleneck moving forward.
Entering the 21st century, many companies worldwide, including Internet giants, have been exposed to data leakage and abuse. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and other U.S. Internet companies have been fined by the EU one after another in Europe in the past two years for data privacy, monopoly, taxation and other issues, which has caused widespread concern worldwide and made people gradually aware of the importance of personal privacy protection. Countries around the world have successively introduced bills to further regulate the market. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU have had a profound impact on the protection and regulation of personal information, the promulgation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Network Security and the National Strategy for Cyberspace Security in China, plenty of laws from different States of US etc., the legal framework is building up worldwide.
499Block：In which areas can privacy computing be used, and are there any relevant cases at the moment?
James Qu：PlatON itself as an open source community, is more focusing on infrastructure building for a new distributed AI network combined blockchain, privacy computing, and AI. There are tons of use cases.
One popular privacy computing algorithm is zkSNARKs, which is being used for Ethereum scalability by zk-Rollup. In theory, this can be used for any off-chain or off-line activities, privacy preserved as one batch for on-chain or on-line proofs. This could also solve the over transparence headache of blockchain when sensitive details need to be protected.
We do see a more interesting cases based on MPC, or secure multi-party computation, one of the typical privacy preserving algorithm. This was successfully used at digital asset management, a grand breaking new way of safe guarding digital asset. We released a product called KeyShard for your reference. The same algorithm could also be used to replace multi-signature cases. I won’t explain technical details here.
Mixture of MPC, HE, TEE, zkSNARKs etc, we could arrange them flexibly for financial cases such as privacy protected asset evaluation model based on true data feeds from trusted data sources, such model could openly providing service with privacy preserving computing in place, and benefits more people fairly.
Another case could be supply chain finance, with multiple related parties cooperates on a secured multiparty computation platform, banks could based on trusted and verifiable credit results to issue loans without access of any sensitive data protected by regulation.
Similarly, biotechnology cases such as highly sensitive human DNA data, patients medicine records data sharing for faster and better pharmacy enhancement etc, could be also in the scope.
I again, call for industry experts who know the procedure and value of data, join us to explore more use cases.
499Block：What is the significance of privacy calculations based on blockchain technology for data right and value distribution? Can you give me an example?
James Qu：In just the past 10 years society has witnessed the transition of analog to digital, and we are jumping into fully digital life. However, the data utilization rate is still very low due to the high centralization of artificial intelligence, coupled with data abuse and privacy leakage. We observe the grow of isolated data silos.
The value of data urgently needs to be intellectualized to be deposited and utilized, hence the growing call for a next-generation intelligent network known as web 3.0. And PlatON brings blockchain, AI and privacy preserving computation together to create a decentralized collaborative privacy-preserving AI network that takes data utilization rate to a new level.
Only based on an underlying blockchain network, we could establish a decentralized privacy-preserving computation network that connects data, algorithms, and computing power through privacy-preserving computation protocols.
Blockchain born with distributed DNA, has a great community driven governance model, after core data asset be protected, we could build up an organically grow ecosystem, where data owners, computing power providers, AI model/algorithm providers, and users could agree on a fair profit distribution model, reach consensus for an AI network of huge data market.
The above example is PlatON’s vision as well.
499Block：At present, Internet companies will not easily give up the ownership of data. Will blockchain-style privacy calculations conflict with them?
James Qu：PlatON is an open sourced, community based, blockchain ecosystem, which aims at serving as the infrastructure for privacy-preserving computation network and distributed economies. By decouple data rights, computing algorithms, and computing power, and empowered by privacy preserving technologies such as MPC, HE, zkSNARKs etc, PlatON will help to reshape our daily digital life, the way business to be done, and how benefits should be distributed fairly based on data rights.
PlatON’s technology will help those giant internet companies to re-shape or re-birth. With more and more detailed data privacy related regulations in place globally, companies dealing with sensitive data must embrace changes, there may not be any other exits. This is not confliction, this is a new way of doing business by recognizing data owner’s rights.
We are answering challenges from technical, real world mirroring, regulation, etc. Technical challenges are endless, no need to mention those scalability, security, safety, liveness related. PlatON did its job on consensus algorithm innovation like Giskard, formally proved. On data privacy front on different kinds of privacy preserving technologies as above. More challenging one is how to mirror real world and get real business done. By decouple data rights, computing algorithms, and computing power, and empowered by privacy preserving technologies such as MPC, HE, zkSNARKs etc, PlatON will help to reshape current daily digital life, the way business, and profit distribution based on data rights.
We are here willing to help!
499Block：How will PlatON develop its own application ecology and expand the advantages of privacy computing?
James Qu：PlatON has its great vision combined with multiple milestones. It is a long run for us as well as for the community. This year we had celebrated mainnet live, then will observe publishing of multiple privacy-preserving protocols, and then the very first release of a privacy computation network. We believe with PlatON’s privacy-preserving technology, and distributed privacy AI, a new wave of creative solutions with privacy-protected data will emerge! Eventually, become a real data market.
To support community developers, PlatON launched world’s first privacy AI framework Rosetta that helps developers easily deeply get involve in Tensorflow and privacy-preserving computation, and helps build the next generation data bank service.
Cryptography contribution to Ethereum as verified strength. For example, PlatON got FY19–0157 grants from Ethereum on 2019 will be used for Secret Sharing Validators. This year FY21–0379, additional contribution will be done.
we still need more community contributors, from developers to documentations contributors, to industry experts, and community governance leaders. Grants are there waiting for applications! Hackathon is ongoing waiting for hackers :) Welcome to join us!