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Homomorphic Encryption: The ‘Holy Grail’ for Big Data Analytics and Legal Compliance in the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Sector?

Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci, Janos Meszaros, Timo Minssen, Arasaratnam Arasilango, Talal Ous, Muttukrishnan Rajarajan


The pharmaceutical and healthcare sector is a prime target for cybercriminals around the world. These cyber-attacks represent significant challenges in the context of data protection and data security. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes strict rules regarding the processing and analysis of personal data. In conventional approaches, data analysts request data from various sources. Then, they anonymise or pseudonymise the data using various tools and techniques. These methods often use powerful algorithms to ensure a high level of security. However, these methods tend to either reduce the quality of data for further analysis or they expose the data while decrypting it for analysis. Homomorphic Encryption (HE) has recently been touted as the ‘Holy Grail’ of cryptography since it allows the analysis of big data sets without ever needing to decrypt and thus compromising the confidentiality of the data. This provides a whole new layer of protection and at the same time allows the processing of data for secondary use and scientific research. While HE is not a new technology, it is still in the early stages of development. In this piece, we will introduce a new automated tool for searching and analysing encrypted data using HE techniques, which is being developed within the scope of the EnergyShield project.

Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL), Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen (UCPH). For correspondence: <>. Janos Meszaros is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica. Timo Minssen is a Professor of Law at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Founding Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL). Arasaratnam Arasilango is a Technical Associate at Tech Inspire Ltd. Talal Ous is the CEO of Tech Inspire Ltd. Muttukrshnan Rajarajan is a Professor of Security Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, City University of London.


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