US Department of Defense Awards Contract to Secure Sensitive Data With Blockchain

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
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On March 12, 2020, Indiana-based SIMBA Chain announced it received a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (“DOD”) to architect a blockchain proof of concept for securing sensitive research and development (“R&D”) data. The DOD has historically received the largest percentage (approximately 40%) of federal R&D funding among federal agencies, and has requested 44.3% of President Trump’s FY2020 budget for approximately $134.1 billion in R&D.

The project is dubbed ALAMEDA for Authenticity Ledger for Auditable Military Enclaved Data Access, and was awarded to SIMBA Chain as a Phase I contract within the Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) program. The goal of ALAMEDA is to enable government agencies to securely share documents and scientific data sets in a manner that protects integrity and authenticity, with the ability to control and track who gets access. 

According to SIMBA Chain, Phase I will run from June 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020, and the results may serve as a foundation for an additional $1 million SBIR award focused on a broader commercialization strategy. SIMBA Chain CEO Joel Neidig says the exponential increase in the volume of sensitive data exchange via mobile devices has necessitated more robust data security systems and created “the need for sophisticated blockchain solutions that authenticate and document users, eliminate third party bad actors, and otherwise allow secure direct connections between trusted sources.”

The Phase I architecture requirements for ALAMEDA include:

  • creating access controls for documents and datasets; 
  • ensuring integrity through validation mechanisms; 
  • establishing document delivery and access verifications; 
  • enabling rapid searches, and 
  • establish a standardized path for data providers and repositories to easily integrate documents and data sets into the system.

According to SIMBA Chain, this architecture would serve to maintain the authenticity and provenance of an estimated 4.5 million documents for 4,000 users within the DOD’s Defense Technical Information Center. 

SIMBA Chain has a history of relationships with U.S. government entities, and was formed in 2017 from a grant awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) to develop a secure messaging and transaction platform for the U.S. military. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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