How to gain insights from sensitive data while protecting privacy? It’s a question that bothers tech firms and society as a whole. TNO spin-off Linksight, a Dutch deep-tech privacy-by-design startup, aims to solve this 21st century digital dilemma. LUMO Labs has announced a pre-seed investment in the start-up, as it states in a press release.
The investment – an undisclosed figure – is made through its LUMO Fund II TTT AI fund, the consortium which includes Dutch knowledge institutes, among them academic hospitals in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Nijmegen.
Linksight provides detailed analytics by using multi-party computation to conceal data details and blockchain to prove compliance. Linksight’s technology makes it possible to analyze across multiple datasets without actually sharing sensitive data, giving clients real-time insights while complying with privacy regulations.
This allows, for example, healthcare providers and health insurers to benefit from each other’s data without actually sharing that data. Privacy is baked in from the beginning when designing and developing the Linksight platform. The startup’s initial market focus is healthcare and government agencies, sectors for which optimal privacy protection is crucial.
“Privacy-by-design infrastructure is the new standard for any IoT or Artificial Intelligence application, especially those involving sensitive, personal data,” said Andy Lürling, LUMO Labs founding partner. “The Linksight multi-party computation platform is by far the most innovative and relevant example of privacy-by-design we have seen in this field so far.” In addition, Linksight uses blockchain technology to technically enforce the data analytics/data governance rules and to prove compliance afterward. “Linksight uses a blockchain that does not depend on high energy cost for security,” said Martine van de Gaar, co-founder, and CEO of Linksight.
Linksight is pioneering the development of cryptographic technology called secure multi-party computation (MPC). The original research on which Linksight is based originated at TNO, the independent, public-private Dutch R&D institute. MPC technology allows secure, privacy-enhancing computation on encrypted data without revealing sensitive information within the data.
The first iteration of the Linksight platform was developed by TNO in co-creation with CZ Health Insurance, Zuyderland Medical Center and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Dutch ministry officials recognized Linksight’s innovations and awarded Linksight the SBIR Cryptocommunications Phase 1 for the government market.
“We are very happy that through this investment we contribute to the transfer of the deep tech innovation that happens inside Dutch knowledge institutions to tangible and relevant market propositions,” said Sven Bakkes, LUMO Labs founding partner. “Not only the technology but also the Linksight management team reflect and originate from the vast network, experience and expertise of TNO.”
“We are building a platform where data scientists from different organizations can perform analyses on shared data sets without the underlying sensitive data actually being shared. Not with each other, not with us,” said Van der Gaar. “We believe we can help improve the healthcare sector and other relevant sectors by taking away a major hurdle in data cooperation: the risk and hassle of sharing sensitive data.”
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