Privacy & Trust Enhancing Technologies

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The first call of NGI Zero PET opened up on December 1st 2018, with a deadline for submission of February 1st 2019 12:00 CET.

Submission is open

Technology without adequate privacy controls affects the quality, intimacy and depth of human relationships and of life in general. In our online environments we do not just have to deal with those who mean well - our next of kin, friends, acquaintances, co-workers or the people we share private or professional interests with. Privacy wasn't part of the original design of the internet, leaving users vulnerable to bad actors and abuse in many ways. Whether this involves safeguarding the online environment of teenagers in an experimental phase of life or tackling foreign intelligence agencies nosing into the social fabric of entire nations doesn't matter - we believe our collective capability to uphold privacy is a strong indicator of how well we can sustain and grow the democratic values of our future society. And of course: it is no more than logical to look at technology to help us out of the mess it has gotten us into.

The internet is rapidly changing modern life in many different ways. A significant part of communication in today's society now happens online. After the revelations of Edward Snowden and others, it is perfectly clear that if we are to entrust our personal messages and extremely sensitive data to the internet, we need to make sure that we make the technology itself more trustworthy. The research topic of Privacy and Trust enhancing technologies is aimed at providing people with new instruments that allow them more agency - and assist us with fulfilling the human need of keeping some private and confidential context and information private and confidential.

Privacy isn't dead, but we lack the right tools to protect our intimacy.

There is a lot of work ahead, or put differently: a lot of room for great ideas and hard work. Many technologies in popular use were never designed with privacy, security or even extensibility in mind, or failed to fundamentally address key issues. Retrofitting new and fundamental requirements into many different technologies is challenging in many ways, and creating something that is likely to be deployed and used at scale is even more challenging. A complicating factor is that we have to keep the users on board as well: whatever measures are needed at a technical level can therefore only impact the user experience so much. Let's move ahead where we can, and do what is possible to improve the status quo - in the full knowledge that in some cases ultimate relief will come from more fundamental, lower-level solutions, elsewhere in the Next Generation Internet initiative.

We need your contributions to help reshape the state of play, and to help create an open, trustworthy and reliable internet for all. And of course such contributions do not happen automatically. This is why between now and 2021 we will award 5.6 million euro in small to medium-size R&D grants towards privacy and trust enhancing technologies. We are looking for new ideas and core technologies that help society tackle hard but very very important questions, each of which has significant social and economic consequences. The project results become available under an open source license, so anyone can read and validate the source code, and anyone can use the code to create technology that fits their own purposes.

We are seeking project proposals between 5.000 and 50.000 euro's - with the potential to scale them up if there is proven potential. Reliability, confidentiality, integrity and security should be the 'new normal' of the internet, something ordinary users should not have to worry about. Trust is one of the key drivers for the Next Generation Internet, and an adequate level of privacy is a non-negotiable requirement for that. We want to assist independent researchers and developers to create powerful new technology, and to help them put it in the hands of future generations as building blocks for a fair and democratic society and an open economy that benefits all.

The first call of NGI Zero PET opened up on December 1st 2018, with a deadline for submission of February 1st 2019 12:00 CET.

Submission is open

Next Generation Internet

A human centric Next Generation Internet shall reflect the openness, diversity and the inclusion that are at the core of European values - Roberto Viola

The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us.
Next Generation Internet initiative logo

The overall mission of the Next Generation Internet initiative is to re-imagine and re-engineer the internet for the third millennium and beyond to shape a value-centric, human and inclusive society for all. How we share and retrieve information is an essential part of that equation. The internet can and should bring out the best in all of us. It should enable human potential, mobility and creativity at the largest possible scale – while dealing responsibly with our natural resources. Doing so is essential to preserve and expand the European way of life. The Next Generation Internet initiative aims to mobilise the best ideas to improve how we find and connect people, devices, services and ideas.

Privacy and trust enhancing technologies: as sensors, objects, devices, AI-based algorithms, etc., are incorporated in our digital environment, develop robust and easy to use technologies to help users increase trust and achieve greater control when sharing their personal data, attributes and information.

Read more at NGI.eu

Acknowledgements

Logo European Commission

NGI0 PET is made possible with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 825310.