MIT Connection Science Builds the Future of Data Trust with Accenture and Mastercard


Cambridge, MA; Sept. 20, 2017 – MIT Connection Science, in conjunction with the Trust::Data Consortium, announced that Open Algorithms (OPAL) has passed its first development milestone in an effort to build trust in identity for the sharing of data.

The OPAL software system is designed to enable data exchange between individuals and entities in a privacy-preserving way, with data distributed across multiple databases.  The Trust::Data Consortium and founding sponsors that include Accenture and Mastercard have been working together for the past year to develop and test the system.

The system is designed to provide better security, privacy, and trust on the Internet.  It addresses many of the common architectural vulnerabilities of current systems that have been widely exploited to steal the personal information of hundreds of millions of people.

“This collaboration operationalizes decades of research into digital identity, and privacy using state-of-the art technologies like blockchain and encrypted computing so that we can update the world’s data systems to meet contemporary and future needs,” said Alex Pentland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor. “We want to provide tools to everybody to enable them the benefits of more control over their personal data, greater security when they allow others to interact with it, and access to the opportunities enabled by better data sharing.”

The software has been released to member organizations for alpha testing with their own sample data. Once this initial round of testing is successfully completed, additional key functionalities such as consent and multi-party computation will be implemented on top of the software.

“Data security remains one of the top concerns of our clients across all industries,” said Sanjeev Vohra, global technology officer, Accenture Technology. “That’s why we are joining forces with MIT and others to co-innovate on blockchain-based data sharing systems for secure multi-party computation. We believe this will accelerate the deployment of robust ethical controls across the data supply chain and build stronger digital trust, creating new opportunities for our clients to innovate and grow.”


Ajay Bhalla, president of global enterprise risk & security for Mastercard, said “Technology is revolutionizing how people and economies operate, but it can’t operate without trust. This is as true for the exchange and sharing of data as it is for any transaction. We need solutions that can adapt in an evolving world, and are pleased with the significant progress made in partnership with MIT and the Consortium.”


The Trust::Data Consortium was originally established in 2016 to build on existing work with government and non-government organizations focused on digital identity, privacy, security and trust. The Consortium is comprised of experienced veterans from MIT’s award-winning Kerberos Network Authentication team.


“It turns out the hardest thing to do with big data, is share it.” said Stephen Buckley, Managing Director of MIT Connection Science.  “Our goal is to create a new system that allows contractual, auditable control over data by all stakeholders.  We are creating a system architecture and matching legal, governance framework for informed consent and best practice collective decision making, that is also privacy-preserving.”  MIT’s open source efforts are now managed under the Trust::Data Consortium.  “Dr. Thomas Hardjono our Chief Technologist, has led a team of dedicated programmers to spearhead our code development,” added Buckley, “and we are actively seeking others to contribute real-world use cases, people and other support to the Trust::Data Consortium.”


The major code projects of the Trust::Data Consortium are:

  • Trusted Computation (Open Algorithms)
  • Credentials and Assertions (user-centric control)
  • Encrypted Queries (secure multi-party computation)
  • Attribute Exchange (privacy preservation)
  • Decentralized Identity (privacy preserving identity)
  • Distributed trust and security (blockchain and ledger systems)


About MIT Connection Science

The world is becoming driven by data, but most organizations are still only innovating around the edges. The internationally-acclaimed MIT Connection Science program can give your organization hands-on experience and open-source software/hardware that enables your use of the world’s most advanced and data acquisition and analysis techniques to

  • view and manage your organization in real-time,
  • view and manage your customer and sales relationships,
  • obtain the highest-quality data and create data-sharing relationships with customers and clients, including legal research that allows you to anticipate future privacy and security regulations


The MIT Connection Science program produces award-winning software and hardware prototype systems, encourages sponsors to co-create systems with us, and helps train both technical and business staff in the newest techniques and methods.


About Mastercard

Mastercard (NYSE: MA),, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.