Section: New Software and Platforms


Keywords: Databases - Personal information - Privacy - Hardware and Software Platform

Functional Description: en PlugDB is a complete platform dedicated to a secure and ubiquitous management of personal data. It aims at providing an alternative to a systematic centralization of personal data. The PlugDB engine is a personal database server capable of storing data (tuples and documents) in tables and BLOBs, indexing them, querying them in SQL, sharing them through assertional access control policies and enforcing transactional properties (atomicity, integrity, durability).

The PlugDB engine is embedded in a tamper-resistant hardware device combining the security of smartcard with the storage capacity of NAND Flash. The personal database is hosted encrypted in NAND Flash and the PlugDB engine code runs in the microcontroller. Complementary modules allow to pre-compile SQL queries for the applications, communicate with the DBMS from a remote Java program, synchronize local data with remote servers (typically used for recovering the database in the case of a broken or lost devices) and participate in distributed computation (e.g., global queries). PlugDB runs both on secure devices provided by Gemalto and on specific secure devices designed by PETRUS and assembled by electronic SMEs. Mastering the hardware platform opens up new research and experiment opportunities (e.g., support for wireless communication, secure authentication, sensing capabilities, battery powered ...). PlugDB engine has been registered first at APP (Agence de Protection des Programmes) in 2009 - a new version being registered every two years - and the hardware datasheets in 2015.

PlugDB has been experimented in the field, notably in the healthcare domain. We also recently set up an educational platform on top of PlugDB, named SIPD (Système d’Information Privacy-by-Design) and used at ENSIIE, INSA CVL and UVSQ through the Versailles Sciences Lab fablab, to raise students awareness of privacy protection problems and embedded programming. As a conclusion, PlugDB combines several research contributions from the team, at the crossroads of flash data management, embedded data processing and secure distributed computations. It then strongly federates all members of our team (permanent members, PhD students and engineers). It is also a vector of visibility, technological transfer and dissemination and gives us the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from other disciplines around a concrete privacy-enhancing platform.

PlugDB is now being industrialized in the context of the OwnCare Inria Innovation Lab (II-Lab). In OwnCare, PlugDB acts as a secure personal cloud to manage medical/social data for people receiving care at home. It should be deployed over 10.000 patient in the Yvelines district. The industrialization process covers the development of a complete testing environment, the writing of a detailed documentation and the development of additional features (e.g., embedded ODBC driver, TPM support, flexible access control model and embedded code upgrade notably). It has also required the design of a new hardware platform equipped with a battery power supply, introducing new energy consumption issues for the embedded software.