Amazon has won two patents related to means for safeguarding the integrity of digital signatures and augmenting distributed data storage.
The two patents were published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) just recently.
The first patent document, initially filed in April of this year, cites a “signature delegation” method for “protecting the integrity of digital signatures and encrypted communications,” by permitting the generation, distribution, validation, and revocation of one-time-use cryptographic keys.
In the proposal, these keys are organized in what is known as a “Merkle Tree” structure, which is a binary tree of hashes built from the bottom up.
As tech media platform Hackernoon outlines, Merkle Trees are a “fundamental part” of blockchain systems, as they allow for a large body of data to be efficiently and securely verified:
“The Merkle Root summarizes all of the data in the related transactions, and is stored in the block header. It maintains the integrity of the data. If a single detail in any of the transactions or the order of the transactions changes, so does the Merkle Root. Using a Merkle tree allows for a quick and simple test of whether a specific transaction is included in the set or not.”
According to the patent document, Amazon’s proposed Merkle Tree-structured, encrypted system seeks to deal with how to delegate signing authority from a central entity to the different subordinates that are authorized to sign on its behalf.
The patent filing also states: “the signature authority provides a key-distribution service that distributes blocks of cryptographic keys to authorized signing delegates. An authorized signing delegate contacts the key-distribution service and requests a block of cryptographic keys.”
In cases where a cryptographic key is “marked as invalid,” after a “key revocation service queries the Merkle tree of delegable keys,” then the service “provides the verifying entity with a revocation value associated with the revoked cryptographic key.” Amazon explained that in specific cases, the key revocation database may be applied with the use of a blockchain.
Amazon’s second patent, which was also released just recently and first filed mid-in December 2015, relates to issues relating to distributed data storage.
Amazon’s filing recommends a “grid encoding technique,” utilizing groups of collected “shards,” where each shard marks a logical distribution of data items stored in a given grid. The patent filing advocates this method can help to diminish storage redundancy, while also paving the way for maximum availability, durability, and means of recovery.