Patent number 8768971 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In the field of data storage, one challenge is to protect the data from unauthorized access and loss. For example, some people (or other entities) may attempt to access data that they are not authorized to access. Or, a device on which the data is stored may malfunction or get stolen, thereby resulting in loss of the data stored on that device.
"Commercial expectations or a regulatory framework may call for some degree of protection against unauthorized access or loss. For example, when a company is in the business of storing data, the company's customers may expect the company to protect the privacy of the data, and to ensure that the data will be available for retrieval in the future. Medical data is one example of data that may be protected from unauthorized access or loss. Patients and healthcare providers--and often legal regulatory frameworks--expect that medical data will be kept private and will be guarded against loss.
"Many systems that protect against unauthorized access and data loss have been inadequate."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Data may be protected against unauthorized access and/or loss by dividing the data into portions, shuffling the data in or among the portions, and distributing the storage of different portions across different resources.
"When data is to be stored, the data may be received by a data divider, which may divide the data into portions such as blocks. The portions are then provided to a shuffler, which shuffles the data in the portions. Shuffling may involve changing the placement of data within a portion, and/or swapping data between portions. The shuffler generates a key that describes how to reconstruct the original data from the shuffled portions. The key may be provided to a user, such as the owner of the data. For example, if the data is medical data, the key may be provided to the patient to whom the data relates. The key may be provided in a physical form (e.g., on a flash memory that the user keeps in his or her possession), or may be provided to the user by maintaining the key for the user (e.g., in a storage area of the user's password-protected account). Reconstructing the data without the key is difficult, so giving the key to the user (or to a small set of entities) guards against misuse of the data. When the user wants to obtain the data, the user provides the key to a reassembler, which obtains the portions from their various sources and uses the key to reconstruct the original data from the different portions.
"When the data is divided into portions, some amount of redundancy may be introduced, so that it may be possible to construct all of the original data from fewer than all of the portions. Thus, if one or more of the portions are stored on a device that is later damaged or stolen, it may be possible to reconstruct the original data without those portions.
"This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Apacible, Johnson T.; Marcjan, Cezary; Nikiel, Mark A.; Thomas, Michael W.. Distributed
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