In 2009 I wrote about a Cryptography Breakthrough IBM had on "fully homomorphic encryption". Now they have a patent on it. Daunting Mathematical Puzzle Solved, Enables Unlimited Analysis of Encrypted Data
The patented breakthrough, called "fully homomorphic encryption," could enable deep and unrestricted analysis of encrypted information — intentionally scrambled data — without surrendering confidentiality. IBM's solution has the potential to advance cloud computing privacy and security by enabling vendors to perform computations on client data, such as analyzing sales patterns, without exposing or revealing the original data.
Invented by IBM cryptography Researcher Craig Gentry, fully homomorphic encryption uses a mathematical object known as an "ideal lattice" that allows people to interact with encrypted data in ways previously considered impossible. The breakthrough facilitates analysis of confidential encrypted data without allowing the user to see the private data, yet it will reveal the same detailed results as if the original data was completely visible.