OmniIndex’s work with fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) enables all the advantages of powerful data analytics while maintaining the security and privacy of encrypted data. Headed up by CEO Simon Bain, the OmniIndex Development team have been working on new ways to utilize this patented technology and they have now released a private blockchain technology preview. Here is a Q&A with Simon about this innovative technology.
Q1: Good morning and thank you for doing this. Can we start with you telling us what the technology preview is showcasing?
No problem. Our technology preview is showing real world examples of how a Blockchain can help an organization that would benefit from being able to distribute and work with highly confidential, private and secure data. Our technology means this secure distribution can also include competitive analysis and facilitate other analytics.
Q2: How does this Blockchain differ from those in the market today?
The OmniIndex Blockchain is completely searchable. It gives Full-Text searching across all your data, without compromising the other data held. It does this in real time without the current lag that other Blockchain implementations have. And when I say all your data, I mean all your data. Using the ‘Proof of Stake’ model, OmniIndex is able to combine its homomorphic encryption technology to enable secure encrypted data to be searched.
It is this that separates OmniIndex from the competition: we believe that we are the only technology and IP to run analytics on data that has been encrypted for maximum security.
As an aside, “Proof of Stake” vs “Proof of Work” is an important differential with US and EU regulations increasingly likely to marginalize Proof of Work blockchains for a number of reasons – not least because of their environmental impacts. But this will make an interesting discussion for the future as there is a lot there to unpack!
Q3: Interesting! I look forward to that chat. But for now, what are some of the possibilities for this new evolution of Blockchain in your opinion?
Analysis of private data that has a public good, but that MUST remain private and secure.
This is incredibly important because there can be no compromises when it comes to data privacy. Whether because of regulations and laws, or a moral responsibility to customers, if data is private then it has to remain so. For example within healthcare services you would never want to risk your private data being exposed to the public. That said, most of us would want to benefit as quickly as possible from that same data being part of broad, global analysis to facilitate research advancements and increased insights for care.
There are ‘solutions’ out there around data masking and other options for trying to make this private data safely shareable and usable by analytics. However, we have seen time and time again that these solutions are flawed. The only way to truly keep data private is to keep it protected by encryption and this is what our technology preview achieves – encrypted data within a blockchain that is fully searchable.
As for when this can be useful? At OmniIndex we have initially been focussing on healthcare. This is an industry with particular requirements for private data and private data sharing. However, we could have equally chosen Insurance or Banking with the same validity.
Q4: Thank you. Now for a potentially tricky question. You have in the past been skeptical about Blockchains – you’ve even been quoted as questioning whether they’re nothing but a fad. What’s changed?
My skepticism has not been about the Blockchain technology, just about its implementations, usage and the so-called security enhancements that a private Blockchain can have. They have time and time again been proved to be not secure. But no, it is not the blockchain itself I have been against. I have just seen a problem, and that’s why we at OmniIndex have worked hard to put a solution in the hands of external testers with our technology preview – a blockchain that is actually secure and does what is needed.
A further consideration is that one of the key features of blockchain security is that it relies on a private key whereby if that key is lost or compromised, then so is the content encrypted along with it. We are now in a place where key management has developed to a point where it can be relied upon with digital wallets and technology that embraces the most modern and secure of these.
Q5: That’s great, thank you. To finish, what else could be possible in the future with OmniIndex’s FHE technology?
A completely secure desktop file system that provides total AI based analytics of context, sentiment, use, storage and all standard file attributes, but also adds a Ransomware cover to secure all files against loss, damage and non availability. Just to name one area! But I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. First we are all excited at OmniIndex to keep working on this new blockchain and bring it to market soon.