Michael Osborne  Michael Osborne photo         

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Security Research
Zurich Research Laboratory, Zurich, Switzerland
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Michael Osborne, IBM Research Division, Zürich Research Center, Säumerstrasse  4,8804 Rüschlikon, Switzerland (osb@zurich.ibm.com. Mr Osborne currently leads the security and privacy activities at the IBM Research centre in Rüschlikon Switzerland and has a global role as Lead for IBM Q Security and Encryption. His current focus includes leading IBM Research division's Quantum Safe Cryptography efforts to develop and standardise quantum resistant technology and transferring this technology to IBM’s products and services. A second area includes the development of cryptographic pseudonym security technology that  enables data to be protected while it is being used. This includes the work at Truata to create a GDPR compliant data trust for extracting business insights from anonymised data. 

Other activities include privacy enhancing cryptography, cryptography for blockchains, GDPR  and cloud security. 

Previous to this Mr Osborne lead a number of large scale governmental projects in the area of national identity schemes. Working together with consultants from IBM Global Business Services, Michael has played a key role in designing smart card, biometrics and PKI solutions that address both security and privacy concerns. As a research staff member of the Bluez Business Computing team, Michael was involved in the design and integration of the security architecture for a French land registry project (GILFAM). The project entailed stringent requirements in the areas of long-term digital signatures and biometric based non-repudiation, and mandated a comprehensive security architecture that encompassed SSO, biometrics, smart cards, FINREAD class 4 card readers, PKI, TSA and tamper-proof cryptographic coprocessors.

"Secure identity is about systems that prove in a secure way that you are who you say you are," says Michael. "It covers the processes of collecting and verifying the data required to identify a person, the transferring of this identity to a suitable document, and the usage of this identity in a given infrastructure. These systems require the secure combination of technologies such as security printing, smart chips, cryptography and biometrics in a way that protects the privacy of the user."

Michael's tenure at IBM Research - Zurich began in 1997, developing advanced routing protocols for IBM networking hardware division WAN products. In 1999 his work on routing protocols extended to include mobile networks — an effort that culminated in a Golden Nugget award at the U.S. Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration.

Since 2000, Michael's work has focused on smart card and security projects, including a government services ID card and a nationwide consumer payments smart card for two Global Business Services clients. As more countries move toward providing their citizens with e-government services, the need for portable secure identity cards will increase. In general, he works on augmenting the security features of printed security documents with electronic ones in order to increase reliability, ease-of-use and security. To do so, he integrates advanced plastic and chip technology with biometric capabilities such as fingerprint scanning.

Michael Osborne is currently manager of the Security research group at IBM Research - Zurich, whose work concentrates on many aspects of information security, including secure ID solutions, data storage security, identity governance, cloud computing security and many more.

To produce secure identity in the form of documents containing microchips and biometric capabilities requires bringing together and integrating a raft of various technologies. In addition, existing user enrollment and document production processes must be overhauled, all the while being mindful of the need to protect the privacy of the individual users.