Data Authenticity or removing the concept of what people saw the first time…

One of the keys of CPS futures is the concept of data Authenticity. Where the data has a validity and a legitimacy you wouldn’t question. Stamp NOAA on a weather forecast and it is accepted. Sensor data needs a level of authenticity. If only to allow for the legal right to “face your accuser.” But also so that we have recourse.

Authenticity has two components. The first is the data itself. There are three stages of data we have to consider in building a CPS architecture. The first is on the device, the second is in transit and cached other than the device and finally the storage location. Within the storage location I’ve talked before about the data architecture that is important (critical data in real time, and so on) but this is about getting to storage not about storing the data.

It is a funny word. “Are those authentic?” depending on the tone used to ask the question can be a horrible insult or a question right before  a purchase is made. As we move beyond the 10 billion devices deployed today (and does include the devices in near earth orbit?) to the 40, 50 and beyond billion deployed devices knowing which device produced data is critical. As more and more systems of systems are deployed with CPS sensors integrated there where the data comes from and how was it captured becomes important.

I am a huge football fan. I love watching football games. One of the things I really enjoy that is a learned behavior because I hated it at first is instant replay. I like the concept that they use in College and the NFL. The concept of indisputable video evidence. They do this by showing a number of views of the play. There are games when they should review more, and games where they should review less. But often the video catches the mistake or verifies the bang-bang play. The video is authentic, as it comes from the network feed of that specific game. The play however occurs within a small amount of time and there are many variables. They are sometimes called bang-bang plays. The issue? Human beings don’t always see everything possible in that short amount of time. You can replay the video, it doesn’t have bias.

It is a lot harder to move Authentic out of CPS devices and to people. People are often what they want to be, that isn’t driven by what you are looking for but by what they want to be. Intelligent systems have a level of dishonesty that occurs. As we build out Systems of Systems (SoS) that contain CPS devices the individual device has to maintain authenticity.

No offence but ask 20 people that witnessed an event what happened. You will not get the same view as if 20 CPS sensors captured the same event. Sure one sensor may have the relative humidity, but if there are two seeking the relative humidity they will be fractionally different. People see many different things. They notice what is important to them. Sensors and other CPS device record events as they occur, without interpretation.

There is a need to create removable security chips or sets of chips in CPS devices. That way deployed devices don’t have to be replaces every time the security standard changes. Perhaps in that security chipset we can embed something like the IMEI chip that every cell phone has. That chip can uniquely identify the data coming from specific sensors and provide Authenticity.


CPS Dreamer…