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Applying zero-knowledge proofs as a way to minimize leaked data for access control 

Tom Godden graduated in 2020 with a Master in Applied Informatics. He is currently working on his PhD and teaches several software courses to Industrial Engineering. His main interest are privacy, security and the application of those to create user empowerment.

Generally, for any online application, users need to provide an authority (e.g. server) with some kind of personal information to be allowed to do something. These usually take the form of a username and password, a secret key, a phone number, etc. However, each one of these examples leaks precious data and metadata about the user, that they don’t necessarily want to share with the server or publish.

Using zero-knowledge proofs of knowledge, we can authorize users to commit certain actions, with minimal loss of privacy. By applying these zero-knowledge proofs, we can create technology that can reason about rules in a system, granting access and authorizing actions without the need for a user to reveal themselves or their data.

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