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Research Questions

  1. Is the Programming Computation on Encrypted Data (PROCEED) program — which expands the knowledge base of the global cryptographic community — likely to provide more benefits to the United States than it does to its global rivals?
  2. To what degree are PROCEED technologies likely to be adopted, under what circumstances, and for what purpose?

Programming Computation on Encrypted Data (PROCEED) is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program whose primary purpose is to improve the efficiency of algorithms that allow people to carry out computations on encrypted data — without having to decrypt the data itself. RAND was asked to evaluate whether PROCEED — which expands the knowledge base of the global cryptographic community — is likely to provide more benefits to the United States than it does to its global rivals. The research team's assessment focused on the degree to which PROCEED technologies may be adopted, under what circumstances, and for what purpose. The team then used the analytic framework generated to understand technological uptake decisions as a way of ascertaining how such factors would work in Russia and China vis-à-vis the United States (and, by extension, countries similar to the United States).

Analysis of online searches for information about data encryption, information security, and data protection in Russia and China concluded that, given government approval of PROCEED technologies, their diffusion will be more rapid in China than in Russia. Whether PROCEED technologies will be adopted in the face of the processing penalties that will be associated with using them is difficult to determine at this time. If PROCEED is adopted, it is likely to be adopted more rapidly in the United States (and similar developed countries) than it is in Russia and China, in large part because PROCEED is compatible with the U.S. political culture, and in smaller part because it better accords to the U.S. business environment.

Key Findings

Given Government Approval of Programming Computation on Encrypted Data (PROCEED) Technologies, Their Diffusion Will Be More Rapid in China Than in Russia

  • The research team examined the correlation between different types of trust and online searches for information about data encryption, information security, and data protection in Russia and China.
  • In China, the demand for information about data encryption is higher in regions with lower levels of interpersonal trust.
  • In Russia, the demand for information about data protection and information security is higher in regions with lower levels of trust toward the government and law enforcement officials.
  • This suggests that the diffusion of PROCEED technologies in China will be stimulated by cultural factors, which remain persistent over time, and in Russia by popular attitudes toward authorities, which are less resilient.
  • In both countries, the governments tightly regulate the encryption technology markets.

Whether PROCEED Technologies Will Be Adopted in the Face of Associated Processing Penalties Is Difficult to Determine at This Time

  • Although the prospect of being able to combine data from multiple parties or use third-party services while keeping data protected is an attractive one, there are many alternatives to using PROCEED that allow potential customers to make a range of trade-offs between economics and security.
  • Nevertheless, there are many use cases for which PROCEED may be favored.

If PROCEED Is Adopted, It Is Likely to Be Adopted More Rapidly in the United States (and Similar Developed Countries) Than It Is in Russia and China

  • Primarily, this is because PROCEED is compatible with the U.S. political culture.
  • Secondarily, it is because it better accords to the U.S. business environment.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Decision to Use PROCEED Technologies

  • Chapter Three

    Trust and Environments in Russia and China

  • Chapter Four

    Where Will PROCEE D Be Taken Up?

This research was sponsored by DARPA and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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