EPRI Tests VIA Data Privacy Platform Through Independent Evaluation Process

VIA’s blockchain-based data privacy platform successfully passes independent validation

SOMERVILLE, Mass., March 2, 2022 — VIA, the only U.S. Department of Defense cybersecurity accredited blockchain provider, is pleased to share that after an objective evaluation process, the company successfully completed an independent validation of the functionality of key data privacy protection features of its blockchain-based software platform. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a leading energy R&D non-profit, began testing VIA’s platform capabilities at the request of multiple power companies to address the requirements of data analytics for clean energy rollout and individual consumer data privacy. Notable observers of the validation process included American Electric Power (AEP), Consolidated Edison (ConEd), Électricité de France (EDF), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and Salt River Project (SRP). 

“Data privacy and cybersecurity are critical challenges facing the grid, and are requirements for the clean energy transition,” said Matt Wakefield, director of information, communication, and cyber security (ICCS) at EPRI. “The energy industry needs to explore and evaluate privacy-preserving technologies like VIA’s to maintain reliable and affordable electricity.”

EPRI’s evaluation process used Advanced Metering Infrastructure (smart meter) data as a use case. Smart meter data has value to both traditional power providers and also new entrants to the energy sector (see chart below).

User of Smart Meter DataUse Case
System OperatorCalculating grid service requirements
Electricity RetailerTariff setting
Network OperatorDemand growth forecasting
Solar Installers and EV Charging CosCustomer targeting and pricing
Amazon, Google, City PlannersAmazon, Google, City Planners Proxy of citizens’ activity levels over time and geography to direct services, manage infrastructure, target marketing

“The value of smart meter data to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable is clear,” said VIA CEO Colin Gounden. “At the same time, individual consumer privacy is a top priority. Data privacy technologies, like VIA’s platform, enable a “no trade-off” solution where insights from data can be leveraged for good while individual data privacy is guaranteed.”

VIA’s platform passed several scenarios representative of typical requests made to power companies for their meter data. The specific data privacy protection algorithm employed “K-anonymity” along two dimensions: number of customers and amount of data per customer per request. Smart contracts that controlled the K-anonymity rules were stored on VIA’s blockchain, the first and only blockchain to have cybersecurity accreditation from the U.S. Department of Defense up to top secret level. In addition, VIA’s multi-cloud platform capabilities were demonstrated on both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

As data privacy rules evolve, VIA continues to validate its software platform with the strictest regulations worldwide. As an example, VIA is currently working with legal experts in Switzerland to match recent Data Privacy Act enhancements passed in September 2020 due to be enforced later this year.

About EPRI

Founded in 1972, EPRI is the world’s preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, with offices around the world. EPRI’s trusted experts collaborate with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe. Together, we are shaping the future of energy.

About VIA

90% of the world’s data is trapped in silos. VIA makes it accessible. Trusted by leading government agencies and clean energy companies around the globe, VIA’s secure, digital collaboration platform overcomes the most common barriers to AI: lack of data, data quality issues, and data privacy risks. VIA enables decentralized energy data analysis at the locations where datasets are stored. Blockchain-based permissioning ensures that only anonymized or aggregated results are transmitted instead of the underlying datasets. VIA brings AI to data 100 times faster than alternatives. As the first and only U.S. Department of Defense-wide cybersecurity accredited blockchain application, VIA’s platform is the driving force to unlock data-driven business cases for power and energy service providers. VIA is headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, with a technology center in Montreal, Quebec, and European offices in Denmark and Rotkreuz, Switzerland. For more information, please visit www.solvewithvia.com.