Data Privacy and Protections

For the ongoing discussion of data theory and applications, Science News, an organization that reports research of various subjects, released an article called Theoretical computer science provides answers to data privacy problem. For the purpose of this article, concepts related to the handling of data are discussed, and their applications. Specifically, the purposes that relate data to people are recognizable. Science News (2015) said, “Some data may be trivial, but in many cases, data are deeply personal. They can even influence our insurance premiums or the price we pay for a product online.” An example of a working system model with privacy worked with was reported by Science News as researched by a professor of computer science in Harvard University and former director of the Center of Research on Computation and Society, Salil Vadhan (2015). Described as “differential privacy” (2015), this concept protects data with approximations. With this premise, a series of queries may provide an identifiable pattern; a summation may be reckoned. The calculus of this approximation would then be equivalent to an integral that will produce an exact result. Science News reported that this is defended against by good judgment that would be increasing randomization and taking full care in comparing characteristics across queries (2015). This assessment seems vague because what people view as good judgment depends on initial assumptions about reality.

Although rule utilitarianism, for example, is discussed in contemporary times as a serious ethical concept, there is debate about its efficacy. Bo Brinkman and Alton F. Sanders describe rule utilitarianism. Brinkman and Sanders (2013) said, “In rule utilitarianism, we select a set of rules, and each act is evaluated as to whether it conforms to them” (p. 16). In this case, a rule utilitarian approach might be that the supposedly good judgment of differential privacy is people who may have access will have the keys to accurate information retrieval, and people with incorrect keys will get incorrect values returned to them. In the late 20th century AD, Winslett, et al. (1994) supposed a similar proposal. Winslett et al. (1994) said, “We believe that many of the MLS problems can be resolved by directly addressing the question of what an MLS database means, rather than making syntactic adjustments to avoid semantic problems” (p. 627). This proposal essentially asserted that lying is an effective form of confidentiality for cyber security. Although the supposed truth of relative semantics makes sense for the access key holders for secret information in short term, this causes a failure of integrity. For a historical account, the Apostle Paul discussed the Hebrew Bible. Paul (KJV) said, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Rom 3:10). This was the view before grace.

As Joachim Biskup showed, lying is not the correct approach. Biskup (2000) said, “The initial belief and the first k-1 answers (lies) would reveal the last secret psi_k.” This is a mathematical statement that reflects a Biblical prophecy. The Son of Man (KJV) said, “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” (Lu 12:3). Therefore, when randomizing data for the purpose of producing lies or untrue information for those who seek unauthorized access to data, I think that more secure concepts require something other than this sort of concept because true information will eventually be revealed, though that may be understood as defense in depth with protections being more understood as unapproachable like the image that a security guard for a crucial represents to attackers, defenders, and other vulnerable groups. Similarly, an available mathematical problem that computers would have difficulty solving would serve as a known defense that would be well defensible in contemporary times.

References

Biskup, J. (2000). For unknown secrecies refusal is better than lying. Data & Knowledge Engineering, 33(1), 1-23. doi:10.1016/S0169-023X(99)00043-9

Brinkman, W. J., & Sanders, A. F. (2013). Ethics in a Computing Culture. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Marianne Winslett, Kenneth Smith, and Xiaolei Qian. 1994. Formal query languages for secure relational databases. ACM Trans. Database Syst. 19, 4 (December 1994), 626-662. DOI=http://0-dx.doi.org.library.regent.edu/10.1145/195664.195675

National Science Foundation. (2015, October 7). Theoretical computer science provides answers to data privacy problem: New tools allow researchers to share and study sensitive data safely by applying ‘differential privacy’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 25, 2016 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151007144933.htm

Reflections of Previous Semesters, and Thoughts on Moving Forward

Since January to August, my course schedule has been steady every week except for a couple times when there was a week break during or after the semesters, and more is here. During the Spring and Summer 2016 semesters at Regent University, I experienced an introduction to 8-week accelerated courses. They were very challenging with a promise of gaining knowledge of how I may approach various fields with Biblical thinking. In-depth studies of Christian theology was the start of my journey at Regent after transferring from a local public college. It was the first time that I had ever sat down and read the works of leaders of Christian thought throughout history from St. Anselm to Thomas Aquinas about arguments for the existence of God, and to topics such as friendship, art, and marriage from Biblically-based perspectives both from centuries in the past to our contemporaries such as Aelred of Rievaulx, St. Augustine of Hippo, and Richard J. Foster. I learned the significance of the superior quality of Biblical prophecy with research into Jesus the Christ’s life on earth. Old Testament studies further built on these understandings.

After that, I faced testing with the understanding of this Biblical foundation in the form of applied dialogues in every course from Microeconomics to Introduction to Programming, and from Making of the Christian Leader to Operating Systems. Each course required rapid integration of faith with the study of reason. With these completed, I became accustomed to this eight-week format.

After a business week and a couple weekends for a break between semesters, Fall classes began, this Monday, the 22nd. Interestingly, I enrolled in a Calculus III course for my program that is fifteen weeks in duration. I say so because the study time was estimated for about the same amount of time as the eight-week courses; there is the same study challenge as an eight-week course, but that duration is doubled. Calculus being the study of infinity is a relevant topic for the integration of the Biblical Scriptures. As one of the Psalmists wrote, “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” (NIV, Ps 103:17). According to Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, the relevance of this chapter is related to the agenda of the editor of the Psalms. About what its purpose is, Hill and Walton said, “Critical discussion of God’s forgiving the sins of the nation” (Hill & Walton, 2009, p. 429). The Psalms verse and Hill and Walton stated that God Almighty grants his servants blessings of mercy that are collectively grace. This may be interpreted as the privilege of understanding His justice and infinite wisdom, though that does not mean God, himself, is understood beyond his character. Even when Immanuel walked the earth, God the Father reigned in heaven thus his character is known in the flesh, but his infinite Spirit is not fully known. I think that this may apply to Calculus III well as the concept of infinity may be known, but true infinity is not. It is an appealing dichotomy that may be studied for the purpose of growing in true faith for we all assume something as the basis for our worldviews. While this truth about humanity persists, the study of conceptual theory should continue in my view. Having said that, I have more courses this semester.

In general, my other courses are computer science topics, and they are Database Fundamentals, Ethics for Computer Science, and Distributed and Parallel Programming. Each of these eight-week courses required for my major are what interest me. In particular, the research that may equip me with a purpose-driven education is appealing, and I believe that this is the right path for me. Having said that, as these three eight-week courses are accelerated, I chose them two at a time at most. Towards the halfway completed date of the Fall semester, Database Fundamentals has completion as part of its scheduling whereas the remaining two have the beginning of their scheduled coursework for students. While this is work for me, I believe that any truths that I learn from these courses come from God, so I receive blessings then He receives glory. Therefore, my goal in this study consists of working for God Almighty.

Bibliography

Hill, A. E., & Walton, J. H. (2009). A Survey of the Old Testament (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI, MI: Zondervan Pub. House.