Entirely by coincidence this week IBM and a gaggle of online civil rights groups struck a blow for the digital economy and individual rights, though only one described things in those terms.

The long-term, more commercially relevant contribution came from IBM, which was granted a patent for a Data Privacy Engine designed to encrypt personal data so it would remain safe regardless of whether it was stored in the cloud, on a personal or corporate hard drive or while it crossed the Internet under the potential surveillance of an increasing number of U.S. and International government snooping agencies.

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