U.S. and U.K. Launch Innovation Prize Challenges in Privacy-Enhancing Technologies to Tackle Financial Crime and Public Health Emergencies

Today, the U.S. and U.K. governments launched a set of prize challenges to unleash the potential of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) to combat global societal challenges. Announced at the Summit for Democracy last year, innovators from academia, industry, and the broader public will have the opportunity to participate in up to two separate tracks (improving detection of financial crime and forecasting an individual’s risk of infection during a pandemic) as well as the option to design one generalized solution that works for both scenarios for broader applicability.

Competing for cash prizes from a combined U.S.-U.K. prize pool of $1.6 million (£1.3 million), innovators will develop privacy-preserving federated learning solutions that enable artificial intelligence models to be trained on sensitive data without organizations having to reveal, share, or combine their raw data. Winning challenge solutions will be showcased at the second Summit for Democracy, which President Biden plans to convene in the first half of 2023.

The first track – aimed at transforming financial crime prevention – will spur technological innovation to tackle the challenge of international money laundering. According to United Nations’ estimates, money laundering costs up to $2 trillion each year, undermining economic prosperity and financing organized crime. PETs can be harnessed to facilitate privacy-preserving financial information sharing and collaborative analytics, allowing anomalous payments to be identified without compromising the privacy of individuals.

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