General speaking, information is confidential if it cannot be accessed or seen by unauthorized persons, instances, parties or processes. There are different categories of it:
- Protection of personalized private or business-critical information.
- Identity protection of participants, partners or subscribers against third parties.
- Anonymity protection of user- and exchange or signalizing data against traffic analysis.
Computerized transactions of all kinds are becoming ever more pervasive. Many of them based upon schemes that identify themselves during every transaction. If the trend toward identifier-based solutions continues, personal privacy will be increasingly eroded.
It is hard to identify a clear winner in such a conflict between organizational security and individual liberty. Turning privacy to business, every new round of improved identification techniques, sophisticated data mining or extended linking has the potential to be frustrating by widespread noncompliance or even legislated limits, which may engender attempts at further control.
Maintaining own cryptographically guaranteed records and making only necessary disclosures is the only way being able to protect privacy without infringing legitimate needs and rights. Keeping private information in the hands of individuals on one or of organizations on the other side define about future scale of control of people's lives.
Privacy is a major concern of individuals who join an ePayment system. The definition of privacy varies. For some people privacy means protection against eavesdropping but for others it includes payer’s anonymity, such that a third party can’t tell whose money was used in a particular payment.
Our fairCASH definition of privacy includes unconditional perfect anonymity and protected secrecy of payment data, payment information and user information against third parties like the eMint, the RCA, or a trust-center (CA), and all other outsiders. Just as Physical Cash fairCASH is anonymous too, and cannot be directly traced back to a particular individual.
Payment systems that don’t pay attention to privacy are privacy-invading systems. Virtually all commercial systems (excepting the Physical Cash case) currently being proposed are privacy-invading. They emphasize the bank’s security, but pay little attention to the security of the customer in terms of protection from financial surveillance.
Nevertheless, anonymity, unobservability, untraceability and unlinkability are considered sub-properties of privacy. Our fairCASH provides them all and shields transaction data from unauthorized disclosure during transit and storage by encryption. It is our objective to reach a possible maximum of privacy & confidentiality.