What the tool offers
Transparency Log (TL) is a tool that provides a secure and privacy-friendly one-way messaging system. Compared to. e.g., email or push notifications, TL protects both the content of the message and associated metadata (like who is the recipient of this message?) from third-parties. For distributed and dynamic settings, like in the cloud, TL also supports sending messages to potentially offline recipients anywhere in the cloud supply chain. This can be use, e.g., by a cloud service provider offering storage to another cloud provider to send messages to the data subjects whose personal data are being stored at the cloud storage provider. These messages can be used to send breach notifications, data handling descriptions, or other types of messages that increase the transparency of the service towards end-users.
The tool innovation
Both security and privacy have been taken into account from the start of the design of TL, resulting in strong cryptographically-based protections. TL is easy to integrate for both senders and recipients of messages. For end-users, TL provides a missing building block that can enable greater transparency and insight into what happens with their personal data in the cloud. Finally, TL provides publicly verifiable proofs of sender, recipient, content and time of selected messages. This increases the utility of all messages sent through TL, e.g., by enabling a cloud provider to prove that it provided timely breach notification to its customers or customers to prove the contrary.
The technology underlying TL is closely related to Blockchain technology, which is currently being widely investigated in the market for everything ranging from banking to tracking intellectual property assets. The impact of TL would probably widen this investigation to also include transparency and accountability-related topics focused on end-users, especially given the upcoming EU GDPR.