European Research Council, 2020-2025
ERC Starting Grants with funding of up to €1.5 over five years are awarded to researchers with two to seven years of experience since completion of the PhD and a scientific track record showing great promise.
Users of Internet services currently have to entrust the respective service provider with their data. However, attackers or secret services can obtain access to that data by using vulnerabilities or backdoors in hard- or software. Moreover, authorities can force the service provider to give out data. The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now mandates that companies take appropriate measures to protect user data.
The ERC Starting Grant „PSOTI“ (Privacy-preserving Services On The Internet) will eliminate the need to trust a single service provider in Internet Services and empower users to keep full control over their data. For this, the user can choose from multiple service providers who jointly process the data, without gaining direct access to the contents. The data will be protected, as long as at least one provider is trustworthy.
The main goal of PSOTI is to develop privacy-preserving services for commonly used applications on the Internet like data storage, online surveys, and email. These services will provide extensive functionalities and will allow to securely and efficiently store, retrieve, search, and process data. This will allow to comply with the GDPR and preserve the fundamental rights to privacy and the protection of personal data.
A practical system for secure multi-party computations will be developed which can also be used for the secure processing of other sensitive data such as in the areas of genomics or machine learning. Also protocols for private search queries will be built that even hide the structure of the query and that can be used in multiple application scenarios.
See also the official fact sheet as well as the press releases by TU Darmstadt and the ERC.