The company responsible for the National Broadband Network (NBN) and the CSIRO announced on Tuesday that the data arm of the latter, Data61, will examine the former’s traffic data.
The initial project, which is to be a baseline for future measurements of digital maturity and resilience, will examine aggregated and de-identified NBN traffic data to look into how connectivity was used during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The project will assess how businesses and households across different regions, industries, and occupations moved their activities online as COVID-19 hit, and how this activity evolved as the pandemic, and associated restrictions, tracked over subsequent months,” the pair said.
“This could highlight the relative success of industries in adopting technology, adapting to an evolving work environment, and provide a perspective on productivity under COVID-19.”
Potential projects to follow were flagged as relating to energy, privacy and cybersecurity, the use of automation in agriculture, and digital health.
See also: Team Australia: CSIRO’s multimillion-dollar post-coronavirus plan
“The world is an increasingly connected place, and so much of our research in areas ranging from robotics to healthcare is now predicated on being able to share and compute data via broadband networks,” CSIRO chief Dr Larry Marshall said.
“This collaborative agreement facilitates the generation of new insights into how we are adopting digital technologies, to help solve meaningful issues and shape the future in many areas of society. Working with NBN Co, together we can deliver a unique national outcome.”
In last week’s federal Budget, the CSIRO received AU$459 million over four years to address the impacts of COVID-19, and to continue with its “essential scientific research”.
At the same time, the government allocated AU$2 billion for additional research and development tax incentives, once again saying the move was to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
“Research and development,
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data61 has announced alongside the Monash Blockchain Technology Centre a blockchain protocol they claim is secure against quantum computers while also protecting the privacy of its users and their transactions.
The protocol, MatRiCT, is patented by CSIRO and now licensed to Australian cryptocurrency developer HCash.
Hcash will be incorporating the protocol into its own systems and transforming its existing cryptocurrency, HyperCash, into one that is claimed to be quantum safe and privacy protecting, but according to Data61, the technology could be applied to more than cryptocurrencies.
It highlighted potential applications such as digital health, banking, finance, and government services, as well as services which may require accountability to prevent illegal use.
Data61 researchers said blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are vulnerable to attacks by quantum computers, as they are capable of performing complex calculations and processing substantial amounts of data to break blockchains.
“Quantum computing can compromise the signatures or keys used to authenticate transactions, as well as the integrity of blockchains themselves,” research fellow at Monash University and Data61’s Distributed Systems Security Group Dr Muhammed Esgin said.
“Once this occurs, the underlying cryptocurrency could be altered, leading to theft, double spend or forgery, and users’ privacy may be jeopardised.
“Existing cryptocurrencies tend to either be quantum-safe or privacy-preserving, but for the first time our new protocol achieves both in a practical and deployable way.”
See also: How blockchain will disrupt business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)
MatRiCT is based on “hard lattice problems”, which are quantum secure, and introduces three features: The shortest quantum-secure ring signature scheme to date, which Data61 said authenticates activity and transactions using only the signature; a zero-knowledge proof method, which it said hides sensitive transaction information; and an auditability function,