MIT develops new platform to spy-proof websites

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Mariella Moon
March 26th, 2014
In this article: mit, nsa, prism, privacy, research, security
MIT develops new platform to spy-proof websites

You're all likely aware by now that identity thieves and hackers aren't the only ones who surreptitiously collect people's private info. In an effort to keep them (and you know, certain government agencies) at bay, a group of MIT researchers have created Mylar -- a new platform for building secure websites, services and applications. According to MIT's Technology Review, anything built using Mylar keeps your data encrypted all the time in its servers. That data's only decrypted when it's accessed from your computer with the right password, though Mylar can also issue encryption keys if you want to share data with other people.

Raluca Popa, the project's lead researcher, claims that method prevents anyone, even the NSA from snooping on your info: "If the government asks the company for your data, the server doesn't have the ability to give unencrypted data." (Of course, encryption won't do you any good if the government ends up forcing the websites and services you use to surrender their users' information.) Right now, a group of patients are testing a Mylar website to share medical info with their doctors. Popa and his team are also testing their own chat, photo sharing and calendar applications. The group still has to overcome a lot of hurdles before we can see Mylar-built services in the wild, though. After all, web companies might not be keen on using the technology, especially those who rely on accessing user data to serve targeted ads.

[Image credit: Simon Cocks/Flickr]

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