Looking Back: Blockchain in IoT and IoP Settings

In preparation for the blockchain panel in a couple of weeks at Stanford (June 12), I decided to revisit what I had written about the technology here on the blog. Though it seems like just yesterday, it was in fact approximately two years ago that I wrote about the blockchain functioning as a data integrity mechanism (outside of bitcoin). So let’s take a look at some of the main themes. (The post title and link appears in parentheses.)

August 2015 – To secure the transportation centric ontology (TCO), I propose implementing a mandatory (users cannot bypass) two-factor authentication in every  autonomous computational law-capable vehicle (ACLV).  The ACLV’s computer system only accepts changes from (i) trusted sources that have (ii) authenticated, each time the vehicle starts, or some other random pattern. The authentication can be controlled/managed through a blockchain. (Computational Law and Cybersecurity.)

June 2016 – Blockchain represents the right remedy (to SWIFT) and to securing the TCO and other similar repositories. And when you consider the prospect of neural networks feeding data to the TCO (see also my post on Fractal Disambiguation for AI) feeding data to the TCO, the criticality of security, and more granularly, data integrity and availability, becomes much more magnified. (Computational Law and Cybersecurity.)

July 2016 – Blockchain can be thought of as a subset of security by design (SBD). It is in addition to end-to-end encryption (e.g., Signal Protocol) and lightweight block cyphers (e.g., SIMON and SPECK.) (Robots Drones and AI: Introducing the Security by Design Paradigm.)

January 2017 – Bloomberg BNA reports that DARPA will use blockchain to strengthen network security. Widespread adoption of blockchain is a welcome, beneficial development since it can facilitate robust applications. For example, consider the following proposition: Not only can TCOs be secured by the blockchain, but let’s expand its use to robots drones and AI (RDAi) identity management. This means that the same identity authentication principles used for humans could also be used with RDAi. From there we can see blockchain security for the TCO and RDAi equating with an efficient SBD profile, one that can be consistently measured and improved over time. And that’s not all. Syncing this effort with relevant identification best practices (e.g., NIST SP 1800-2b ES IdAM) will further strengthen SBD implementation in RDAi. (Robots Drones and AI: Introducing the Security by Design Paradigm.)

March 2017 – The Internet of Things (IoT) and Internet of People (IoP) can be viewed as massive data-creation/aggregation platforms. Exabyte-level data creation becomes the new normal and stands to stretch current data ownership questions, needs and standards to new dimensions. In the IoT and IoP ecosystem, maintaining data integrity will be the single most important attribute and the one that garners the highest design priority. How will this be most efficiently accomplished in IoT and IoP? Through the blockchain. It will become the single most powerful data ownership protection standard in this ecosystem. And here’s a prediction: A not too-distant-future version of NIST SP800-53, or differently numbered publication, (and other standards, e.g., COBIT) will reference blockchain protocols as a must-have for IoT (and a bit later) for IoP. (Driving the Rise of Massive Ontological Frameworks.)

*** Post Conference Updates ***

September 2017Nearly two years after I described securing the transportation centric ontology (TCO) through blockchain (see Computational Law and Cybersecurity) Gemalto, CISCO, Bosch et al, announced the official launch of Trusted IoT Alliance. Its mission: “leverage blockchain infrastructure to secure and scale IoT ecosystems.” Drones and autonomous vehicles are among the identified “things” that will be secured by blockchain. This burgeoning secure ecosystem operationalizes the principles I described a couple of years earlier.