On June 13, US and UK governments announced that they are developing prize challenges focused on advancing the maturity of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) to combat financial crime. The announcements highlight that up to $2 trillion of cross-border money laundering takes place each year. The White House explained that PETs could address financial crime through maturing technologies, which allows machine learning models to be trained on high quality datasets, without the data leaving safe environments. PETs also facilitate privacy-preserving financial information sharing and collaborative analytics; allowing suspicious types of behavior to be identified without compromising the privacy of individuals, or requiring the transfer of data between institutions or across borders.

The prize challenges will allow innovators to develop state-of-the-art privacy-preserving solutions to help combat barriers to the wider use of these technologies without the uncertainty of potential regulatory implications. Innovators will be able to engage with regulators, including the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and Information Commissioner’s Office, and the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Challenge solutions will be showcased in the second Summit for Democracy, to be convened by President Joe Biden, in early 2023.

Putting it Into Practice: PETs present an important opportunity to harness the power of data in a manner that protects privacy and intellectual property, enabling cross-border and cross-sector collaboration to solve shared challenges.