Do You Know Where Your Data Are? Secure Data Capsules for Deployable Data Protection

Do you know where your data are? Who can see them? Who can modify them without a trace? Who can aggregate, summarize, and embed them for purposes other than yours? We don’t, and we suspect neither do you. The problem is that we do not have a widely-available mechanism to answer these questions, and yet, paradoxically, all evidence shows that it should have been solved long ago. The problem is critical; incidents involving sensitive data leakage, unauthorized access, and integrity violations (accidental or not) are a daily occurrence [1]. It is well known, as evidenced by the volume of relevant government regulation and pontification from privacy advocates. It is interesting, since it has inspired much research into data confidentiality, integrity, and authorization. Yet publicizing it, regulating it, and talking about it have not led to solving the problem effectively for the vast majority of users. Why?