Fine-grained Encryption for Secure Research Data Sharing

Lucio H. A. Reis, Marcela T. de Oliveira, Silvia D. Olabarriaga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Research data sharing requires provision of adequate security. The requirements for data privacy are extremely demanding for medical data that is reused for research purposes. To address these requirements, the research institutions must implement adequate security measurements, and this demands large effort and costs to do it properly. The usage of adequate access controls and data encryption are key approaches to effectively protect research data confidentiality; however, the management of the encryption keys is challenging. There are novel mechanisms that can be explored for managing access to the encryption keys and encrypted files. These mechanisms guarantee that data are accessed by authorised users and that auditing is possible. In this paper we explore these mechanisms to implement a secure research medical data sharing system. In the proposed system, the research data are stored on a secure cloud system. The data are partitioned into subsets, each one encrypted with a unique key. After the authorisation process, researchers are given rights to use one or more of the keys and to selectively access and decrypt parts of the dataset. Our proposed solution offers automated fine-grain access control to research data, saving time and work usually made manually. Moreover, it maximises and fortifies users' trust in data sharing through secure clouds solutions. We present an initial evaluation and conclude with a discussion about the limitations, open research questions and future work around this challenging topic.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2022 IEEE 35th International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems, CBMS 2022
EditorsLinlin Shen, Alejandro Rodriguez Gonzalez, KC Santosh, Zhihui Lai, Rosa Sicilia, Joao Rafael Almeida, Bridget Kane
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665467704
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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