UN Global Expo Highlights UN Privacy-Enhancing Technology Lab Participation

January 26, 2022

Team xD is thrilled to announce the U.S. Census Bureau’s involvement in the United Nations’ Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PET) Lab pilot alongside Statistics Netherlands, ISTAT of Italy, and the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics.

As the U.S. representative for the pilot, the Census Bureau wanted to ensure it included a diverse set of subject-matter experts which include Team xD, the Office of Information Security (OIS) and other offices within the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). “This collaborative initiative introduces a new era in statistical research and data science by accelerating the use of data while maintaining the security, privacy and confidentiality,” said Chief Information Security Officer Beau Houser.

This week at the U.N. Expo, we are demoing how researchers from participating countries can compute on trade data they cannot see using an open-source platform called PySyft, a peer-to-peer remote data science platform that leverages Federated Learning, Differential Privacy, and Encrypted Computation (like Secure Multi-Party Computation [SMPC] and Homomorphic Encryption [HE]) to enable data owners to keep their data private while simultaneously supporting computation on it. For the Census Bureau, this project represents an opportunity to explore what the future of PETs and differential privacy means to delivering more valuable data to our customers, stakeholders and collaborators across the world without compromising our commitments to data privacy and security.

As Census Bureau Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer Ron Jarmin highlighted at the U.N. Expo, “Economic measurement continues to provide critical statistics on the health and performance of economies, but current methods for collecting and disseminating statistical information are not sustainable. We realize the importance of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies as critical to how we deliver on our mission. We're investing today in practical ways to test these emerging technologies because we believe they provide a vision for how we might continue to serve the public with timely, reliable data that preserves privacy and trust.”

More information about the U.N. Global Platform is available on the U.N.’s website. To get involved in this and other exciting work, check out xD’s Emerging Technology Fellowship. We are hiring!

UN Global Expo Highlights UN Privacy-Enhancing Technology Lab Participation
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