Galois Awarded $6.2 Million DARPA Contract To ‘Crash Test’ System Privacy

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TAMBA will develop a system for evaluating the privacy, performance and utility of Brandeis systems, both from a technological and a human perspective

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Galois today announced that its TAMBA project has been selected by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to measure the privacy, performance and utility of systems for its Brandeis program, which is focused on developing tools and techniques for building systems in which private data may be used only for its intended purpose and no other.

Brandeis seeks to restructure society’s relationship with data by providing the data owner with mechanisms for maintaining control of their data while sharing it with others. The multi-disciplinary TAMBA team, which includes the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Maryland College Park, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Charles River Analytics, will evaluate the level of privacy being offered at a system level, while also accounting for users’ motivations, personal notions of data value and other human factors that impact system effectiveness.

“Every day we knowingly and unknowingly contribute data to applications and systems that claim to be privacy preserving – ranging from navigation apps on your phone to social networks and medical systems – but for which there are limited means to measure true privacy levels and user privacy expectations,” said Stephen Magill, Research Lead, Software Analysis, Galois. “TAMBA will build the analysis techniques and tools necessary to formally check whether the privacy controls offered by a system match user expectations.”

TAMBA’s approach involves a novel collection of analyses and metrics called the Knowledge-Based Measurement Framework (KBMF). The KBMF is built on semantics for tracking how private data leaks from the system over time and can be used to reason about the broad variety of privacy guarantees provided by Brandeis systems. The KBMF tools will measure the damage caused by leaks, including economic measures to capture the impact of any information release.

TAMBA research will result in both theoretical advances and practical tools, all of which will be widely shared. The resulting software will be released as open source.

About Galois
Galois has been performing computer science research and development since 1999. With many of the world’s foremost experts in computer science and mathematics and a world-class team of programmers and engineers, Galois is uniquely positioned to take on the world’s most difficult challenges in computer science. Galois is a trusted partner in the defense and intelligence industries, proving the feasibility of cutting edge research as it applies to critical systems. Technology companies turn to Galois to build reliability, safety and security into their product development efforts from day one. For additional information, visit

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Brian Lustig
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