News 2018

Security & Privacy

Krishna Gummadi and Alan Mislove awarded a Facebook "Secure the Internet" grant

October 2018
MPI-SWS faculty member Krishna Gummadi and MPI-SWS alumnus Alan Mislove have been awarded a "Secure the Internet" grant by Facebook. Their proposal, “Towards privacy-protecting aggregate statistics in PII-based targeted advertising,” has been awarded $60,000 to develop techniques for revealing advertising statistics that provide hard guarantees of user privacy, based on a (principles-first) approach. Their goal is to develop a differential privacy-like approach that can be applied to existing advertising systems.

The Facebook "Secure the Internet" grant program is designed to improve the security, …
MPI-SWS faculty member Krishna Gummadi and MPI-SWS alumnus Alan Mislove have been awarded a "Secure the Internet" grant by Facebook. Their proposal, “Towards privacy-protecting aggregate statistics in PII-based targeted advertising,” has been awarded $60,000 to develop techniques for revealing advertising statistics that provide hard guarantees of user privacy, based on a (principles-first) approach. Their goal is to develop a differential privacy-like approach that can be applied to existing advertising systems.

The Facebook "Secure the Internet" grant program is designed to improve the security, privacy, and safety of internet users. Gummadi and Mislove's proposal was one of only 10 winning proposals, which were together awarded more than $800,000 by Facebook.
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Aastha Mehta invited to attend Rising Stars Workshop

September 2018
MPI-SWS Ph.D. student Aastha Mehta has been selected to attend the Rising Stars Workshop to be held at MIT from October 28-30, 2018. She is one of 76 participants, and one of only three invited from a European university. Rising Stars is a prestigious workshop that provides mentoring to women graduate students and postdocs interested in pursuing an academic career.

French Data Protection Authority CNIL Republishes Francis' Article

September 2018
The French Data Protection Authority CNIL has recognized the benefits of Diffix anonymization by republishing an article by Paul Francis in which the utility of Diffix anonymization is highlighted. Diffix is the anonymization technology developed in joint research between Francis' group and Aircloak GmbH.

Last year, CNIL published an article titled "Can anonymized data still be useful." The purpose of the article was to demonstrate that strong anonymization does not necessarily prevent useful analytics.  …
The French Data Protection Authority CNIL has recognized the benefits of Diffix anonymization by republishing an article by Paul Francis in which the utility of Diffix anonymization is highlighted. Diffix is the anonymization technology developed in joint research between Francis' group and Aircloak GmbH.

Last year, CNIL published an article titled "Can anonymized data still be useful." The purpose of the article was to demonstrate that strong anonymization does not necessarily prevent useful analytics. In this work, CNIL uses K-anonymity on the New York City taxi database. Inspired by this effort, Francis shows that Diffix can be used for a wide range of analysis on the NYC taxi database, including trip times to LaGuardia airport, taxi driver work profiles, and congestion in the Manhattan financial district.

CNIL re-published the article under the title "Anonymity vs. Utility: Another shot at Anonymizing the New York City taxi dataset".
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Paul Francis featured in CNIL interview

Paul Francis was featured in an interview by CNIL, the French national data protection authority. The interview discusses the innovative way in which MPI-SWS is tackling the data anonymity problem. The interview follows Paul's visit to CNIL in May 2018, where he presented the first-ever bounty program for anonymity. The bounty program, designed by MPI-SWS and implemented by the startup Aircloak, is one of the innovative ways in which MPI-SWS develops practical data anonymity techniques.

MPI-SWS researchers have a distinguished paper at CSF 2018

May 2018
A paper by Vineet Rajani and Deepak Garg has been honored as a distinguished paper at the upcoming 31st IEEE Symposium on Computer Security Foundations (CSF 2018). The paper is titled "Types for Information Flow Control: Labeling Granularity and Semantic Models".

Paul Francis launches first-ever anonymization bounty program

January 2018
Bug bounty programs are a popular way to find security flaws in deployed systems. We are the first to use a bounty program to find flaws in anonymization schemes, namely the anonymization scheme we designed called Diffix. We take an empirical approach to anonymization rather than the more common formal approach. The empirical approach leads to anonymization schemes with high utility, but also uncertainties about the anonymization properties. The bounty program helps build understanding and confidence in Diffix. …
Bug bounty programs are a popular way to find security flaws in deployed systems. We are the first to use a bounty program to find flaws in anonymization schemes, namely the anonymization scheme we designed called Diffix. We take an empirical approach to anonymization rather than the more common formal approach. The empirical approach leads to anonymization schemes with high utility, but also uncertainties about the anonymization properties. The bounty program helps build understanding and confidence in Diffix. To learn more, visit challenge.aircloak.com
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