Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is checking for blockchain technology in order to make sure that the privacy and security of aircraft data is entact. According to a paper published on Monday by Roland Reisman (aero-computer engineer at NASA), smart contracts and blockchain networks have the capabilities of reducing security concerns.
A new system for surveillance (Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast ) must be used as directed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) starting January 1, 2020. The system intends to broadcast aircrafts position and identity in the public domain. According to the paper published by Reisman, this has raised concerns regarding security amongst stakeholders. The paper further suggested that the new ADB-S system ‘does not include provisions for maintaining these same aircraft-privacy options, nor does it address the potential for spoofing, denial of service, and other well-documented risk factors.’
The paper also noted that companies indulging in civil aircrafts would wish to keep some data unshared and private essentially in order to counter track executives as a part of corporate operations. In the words of ‘Department of Defence’, Military aircraft traffic data is ‘Information that, if disclosed, would reveal vulnerabilities in the DoD critical infrastructure and, if exploited, would likely result in the significant disruption, destruction, or damage of or to DoD operations, property, or facilities.’ Reisman further states that ‘the military need for confidentiality is likely to remain decisive in their adoption and use of ADS-B’.
The researcher who published the paper showcased a model where he dubbed the ABI (Aviation Blockchain Infrastructure) working on the principles of smart contracts and Hyperledger which essentially will let you have control on the data which is shared privately or publicly with authorised organisations. The state information of the aircraft (Altitude, airspeed, heading etc) can be secured by using a private channel while he information concerning the flight plan (Aircraft type, destination, origin and route) can be announced on a public platform with access to approved and selective members.
Reisman further added to his paper that ‘We propose to use a ‘lightly permissioned’ blockchain framework to enable the ADS-B systems to meet or exceed the same levels of privacy and security currently provided by radar-based systems in the NAS [National Airspace System].’
In the past as well, Nasa has looked for opportunities to explore the use of blockchain in order to make technological improvements. In the month of February, Nasa allotted an amount of $330,000 to one of the professors at the University of Akron to conduct research and development on Ethereum based blockchain technology with the intention of automatically detecting floating debris.