Protecting the data of European citizens and businesses that is processed in untrusted IT environments
Madrid, 12th February 2015 – Atos, an international leader in digital services, coordinates a Consortium of 7 partners for the implementation of the project “empoWering prIvacy and securiTy in non-trusteD envirOnMents” (WITDOM for short), a three-year multi-disciplinary, Research and Innovation Action co-funded by the European Commission in the context of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
WITDOM aims at protecting the privacy and security of data outsourced to untrusted ICT providers, such as clouds. By protecting sensitive data cryptographically and by applying the privacy-by-design paradigms, WITDOM will provide a holistic framework that addresses end-to-end security for sensitive data. WITDOM’s data protection methods will be tailored to the risks associated with different classes of data, so that users remain immune to the threats, vulnerabilities, and risks that may affect remote data processing.
Large global ICT infrastructures owned by third-party providers enable distributed processing and storage of data at unprecedented scale today. Despite their convenience, these services are exposed to concerns about the security and privacy of data entrusted to them. WITDOM will develop methods and provide tools for protecting privacy in the context of remote ICT services, thereby increasing the trust within the European society in cloud-based services.
WITDOM will realize domain-specific protection methods for critical health-care data and for data processing by financial services. Whereas traditional security mechanisms are often static or follow an all-or-nothing principle, the solutions envisaged by WITDOM shall be flexible and adapt automatically to the degree of protection needed. At the same time, these solutions will uphold and comply with relevant ethical and legal principles, such as the ones found in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Alicia García, Director of Research & Innovation at Atos, said: “WITDOM represents a pan-European concerted approach to maximize security and privacy with which Europe will be better prepared to spearhead in the international arena state-of-the-art solutions in the areas of trustworthy ICT and cybersecurity, effectively demonstrating the robust protection of personal and sensitive data in ICT services domains with very high potential growth for transnational cooperation and where multilateral trust is key. With WITDOM, users and data controllers will rest assured that European citizens’ personal and sensitive data get adequately preserved by keeping such data confidential (encrypted and privacy-protected) in previously untrusted environments, securely managing and using their data while keeping it away from prying eyes.”
The power of WITDOM lies on addressing realistic scenarios with privacy-by-design methodologies and on developing resource-efficient cryptographic tools (e.g., efficient homomorphic encryption, differential privacy, secure multiparty computation…), to permit secure processing of remote data without a need to decrypt or to relax security. Through employing strong cryptography WITDOM’s approach ensures effective protection of personal and sensitive data. While currently there are theoretical grounds for secure processing of data by a third party, research and innovation in WITDOM will go further, aiming at truly efficient and practical privacy enhancing techniques (architectures, cryptographic primitives and privacy-preserving tools). The results of WITDOM will be designed for empowering users, and for enhancing their control over their own personal data. The project outcomes will be finally packaged as modular building blocks for easy re-use and adoption by the industry.
WITDOM has received co-funding from the European Commission under the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) theme of the H2020 framework programme (H2020-ICT-2014-1). The project started in January 2015, coordinated by Atos and with partners Universidad de Vigo (Spain), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), IBM Research (Switzerland), XLAB (Slovenia), Fondazione Centro San Raffaele (Italy), and BBVA (Spain). More information about the project is available at www.witdom.eu.