Privacy Protection & Cryptography

As digitalization of society keeps progressing, notably with cloud computing and the Internet of Things, the need to protect data increases. This pillar develops technologies that open doors to new use cases and business opportunities in which sensitive data, such as health, biometric or other highly-personal data, can be used with strong privacy guarantees. It also seeks to strengthen existing guarantees.

A key goal is to develop and adapt advanced cryptographic techniques for privacy-preserving data sharing and data analytics. This includes techniques that maintain the absolute secrecy of private data when it is shared or analysed, notably homomorphic encryption, zero-knowledge proofs, privacy-preserving authentication, and secure multiparty computation approaches such as garbled circuits or secret sharing. It also includes techniques to control and manage lost privacy and protect against inference (differential privacy).

Furthermore, underlying much of existing data protection approaches is a form of cryptography (public key) that is at risk because of the progress of quantum computers. The pillar will include the development of post-quantum cryptography, capable of responding to these near-future threat models for data sharing and data analytics.

Techniques to help quantify lost privacy (information leakage) will complement the cryptographic aspect of the pillar. Key will be the ability to evaluate complex scenarios that include partially-trusted or untrusted cloud providers. It will require an understanding of information leakage not only in end results, but also at the site of intermediate computations. Such techniques are essential for risk assessments, notably for compliance with data protection regulations in the EU and elsewhere.

Carmela Troncoso 2022 EPFL Latsis Laureate

IC Tenure Track Assistant Professor Carmela Troncoso has won this year’s EPFL Latsis University Prize. She has been recognized by the Latsis Foundation for exceptionally important contributions at a Swiss university by researchers under the age of 40.
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[FR] La gardienne de la sphère privée numérique

Carmela Troncoso dirige le Laboratoire d’ingénierie en sécurité de l’information et respect de la vie privée de l’EPFL. L’Espagnole, militante LGBT+, s’est forgé une aura internationale grâce à sa contribution à l’app de traçage SwissCovid.
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Deploying Decentralized, Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing

Contact tracing is a time-proven technique for breaking infection chains in epidemics. Public health officials interview those who come in contact with an infectious agent, such as a virus, to identify exposed, potentially infected people. These contacts are notified that they are at risk and should take efforts to avoid…
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The SwissCovid App

In response to the COVID-19 disease that has stormed the world since early 2020, many countries launched initiatives seeking to help contact tracing by leveraging the mobile devices people carry with them. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) commissioned the effort for Switzerland, which resulted in the official SwissCovid…
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Chelsea Manning wants to take crypto back to its cyberpunk roots

In an interview with The Block, whistleblower Chelsea Manning shares her take on the current state of crypto. Manning is part of C4DT associated partner Nym, a startup that aims to use blockchain technology to increase privacy online.
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“Deepfake generation and detection is like an arms race”

Two EPFL computer scientists have taken home a major prize in Singapore’s Trusted Media Challenge, a five-month long competition aimed at cracking the code of deepfakes.
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[FR] Montres connectées : des mesures pas toujours fiables

C4DT Academic Director Jean-Pierre Hubaux discusses the privacy and security of smart watches on a new episode of RTS's 'A bon entendeur'.
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[FR] DIS, POURQUOI? – La crypto (1/5)

Une série d'épisodes traitant de la crypto dans l'émission "DIS, POURQUOI?", avec Rachid Guerraoui, Professeur dʹalgorithmes en réseau et chercheur à lʹEPFL.
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[FR] Chelsea Manning: «J’ai plus d’accès à la guerre en Ukraine avec mon laptop que je n’en avais en Irak»

Dès le lundi 7 mars, Heidi.news invite à prendre de la hauteur par rapport à la guerre en Ukraine et son flot incessant d'informations. Pour cette «semaine des spécialistes», nous sommes partis à la recherche d’esprits aiguisés pour nous aider à mieux comprendre ce qui se joue là, sous nos…
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DuoKey, Futurae and Nym join the C4DT through its associate partner program

We are delighted to announce that 3 additional start-ups have joined the C4DT community through the C4DT start-up program. For two years Duokey SA, Futurae Technologies AG and Nym Technologies SA will complement the already diverse group of partner companies through their start-up perspectives to collaborate and share insights on…
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Ruag AG joins the C4DT

We are pleased to announce that Ruag AG, Switzerland, has just joined the C4DT as partner. Owned by the Confederation, Ruag AG is the technology partner of the Swiss Armed Forces. Together with armasuisse, Ruag’s presence strengthens C4DT's expertise in cybersecurity and cyber defense. We are convinced that this partnership…
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Client-side scanning is like bugs in our pockets

Encryption provides a solution to security risks, but its flipside is that it can hinder law enforcement investigations. A new technology called client-side scanning (CSS) would enable targeted information to be revealed through on-device analysis, without weakening encryption or providing decryption keys. However, an international group of experts, including EPFL,…
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Tune Insight secures pre-seed round from Wingman Ventures

Tune Insight B2B software enables organizations to make better decisions by collaborating securely on their sensitive data to extract collective insights. Incubated at the EPFL Laboratory for Data Security, with a deployment in Swiss university hospitals and customer-funded projects in the insurance and cybersecurity businesses, Tune Insight will use the…
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Federal government launches examination of new e-voting system

With consultations already underway on new federal provisions that define extensive security requirements for e-voting systems and their operation, some cantons are planning new trials with the redesigned Swiss Post e-voting system. The Confederation is therefore launching an independent examination of this system and its operation. This will take several…
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“Network neutrality is a buzzword but there is no agreed definition”

C4DT affiliated Associate Professor Katerina Argyraki works on computer networks and neutrality, a notion she believes is critical to ensuring that the internet continues to foster competition and innovation.
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Little Syster: the first privacy trust index for digital services

Giving back to citizens the control of their private life in the face of digital technology: this is the mission of the French company Little Syster. Launched in 2020, it uses a technology based on artificial intelligence that was developed at the LSIR EPFL laboratory headed by C4DT affiliated Prof.…
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12 Questions on the Digital Immunity Passport

The certificate linked to the virus will not be available before June in Switzerland. Until then, here are twelve answers linked to questions of security, data and accessibility concerning what some call the "Immunity Passport". In particular, Jean-Pierre Hubaux, C4DT Academic Director, provides insights on the questions linked to data.
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Deepfakes wreak havoc

Take a look at the RTS documentary on the impacts of deepfakes featuring an interview from C4DT affiliated professor Touradj Ebrahimi.
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Using “proof of personhood” to tackle social media risks

The ease of creating fake virtual identities plays an important role in shaping the way information—and misinformation—circulates online. Social media platforms are increasingly prominent in shaping public debates, and the tension between online anonymity and accountability is a source of growing societal risks. This article outlines one approach to resolving…
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NotifyMe, a new app to relaunch social events

NotifyMe is a new app that alerts people who attended an event where there was a risk of COVID-19 infection. The app, using technology developed in part at EPFL, in no way compromises users’ personal data. NotifyMe works well in conjunction with SwissCovid and is currently being pilot-tested at EPFL.
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