Intel Solutions Help to Combat Modern Slavery


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Intel, enterprise technology and services firm R3 and nonprofit Hope for Justice are working together to build a pilot application that enables organizations combatting modern slavery to confidently share sensitive data related to individual cases with the enhanced privacy protections offered by confidential computing. The Private Data Exchange, built for Hope for Justice, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization working to end modern slavery and human trafficking, aggregates and analyzes data, then notifies the appropriate agencies when relevant data matches are identified.

“As security technology creators, we have both the responsibility and the opportunity to help protect every person’s data and privacy. We’re seeing this occur through confidential computing advancements – the innovations we are bringing forward today will help us facilitate change and soon become the standards for how we operate tomorrow,” says Paul O’Neill, director of strategic business in Intel’s Confidential Computing Group.

Confidential computing enables encrypted data to be processed in memory while lowering the risk of exposing it to the rest of the system. It reduces the likelihood that the sensitive data of those affected by human trafficking will be compromised or misused.

Hope for Justice’s Private Data Exchange application takes advantage of the industry-leading security capabilities delivered by Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX), the security features built into 3rd and 4th generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. These features are designed to help provide protection for data-in-use, independent of the cloud provider, operating system or hardware configuration. They also enable multiple organizations to collaborate on shared analyses and validate algorithms while shielding confidential or regulated data from other parties. 

“Human traffickers are exploiting new technology and globalization at a staggering scale and pace. Most trafficking is now facilitated via the internet and other digital technologies that pay little attention to borders or jurisdictions,” said Tim Nelson, CEO of Hope for Justice. “We cannot lose the technology race against human trafficking. That is why we are so pleased that the Private Data Exchange platform has the potential to revolutionize how the sector collaborates across borders and tackles issues surrounding data privacy and confidentiality. For the first time, civil society, governments, U.N. agencies and businesses can truly collaborate to make technology a force that will help to end human trafficking.”

By leveraging the built-in security and attestation features of Intel SGX and R3’s Conclave platform, the application can provide organizations with confidence that information on slavery victims or those seeking to help them are better protected from their data being exposed. Conclave provides the tools necessary for organizations to run code without the burden of managing a complex infrastructure, putting the power of Intel SGX into the hands of developers and enabling them to write privacy-first applications with ease. This combination opens new possibilities for organizations seeking to benefit from the enhanced security of confidential cloud computing.

Globally, organizations working on human trafficking cases have collected large pools of valuable data on both victims of slavery and perpetrators, as well as contextual information relating to emerging patterns and trends. Given the data’s sensitivity, there is a reluctance to collaborate on sharing, meaning maintaining high security and compliance is mission critical. To reap the benefits of collaboration, each organization must utilize trustworthy security solutions that help keep data confidential and private, and aid in ensuring the data’s integrity. 

Confidentially matched information will enable participating organizations such as nonprofits, national actors and intergovernmental agencies to realize tangible outcomes in the fight against slavery and enable victims of human trafficking and modern slavery to be better identified, rescued and provided the services they need. For instance:

  • Perpetrator name matching: If the same person appears in multiple matches, they may be involved in numerous cases of trafficking and be a serial offender or part of organized crime. The appropriate group can begin an investigation or notify law enforcement.
  • Victim family name matching: Discovering the same surname in multiple cases may indicate that two or more family members have been trafficked separately. Linking the two cases may accelerate rescue and help reunite the family.
  • Address matching: If the same property keeps showing up in results, it may be owned or operated by perpetrators or criminal organizations. This can be enough to trigger an investigation.
  • Lower-level contextual matching: If information, like location and industry, doesn’t present an active investigation opportunity, it can still reveal critical trends and trigger future outreach efforts.

Overcoming many of the obstacles to data sharing enables Hope for Justice to prepare to use the Private Data Exchange in consortium with national and intergovernmental stakeholders in direct response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Europe. The increased prevalence of human trafficking is a critical moment for both innovation and intervention, and this is an example of how technology plays a part.

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