Stronger Security and more Privacy


Security & Privacy Week 2016 from July 18th – 22nd: Three Questions to the Organizers

The security of mobile applications and users’ privacy will be the key topics at the Security & Privacy Week (SPW) 2016. The themed week comprises for the first time three international conferences and seven workshops, and invites experts from around the world to the “German Silicon Valley” Darmstadt.

The themed week at TU Darmstadt brings together the internationally renowned conferences Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS), ACM Conference Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (WiSec), and IFIP International Conference on Trust Management (IFIP TM) – as well as several international workshops. The workshops cover topics such as usable security, privacy of medical data, effects of digitization and other technological developments in the field of IT security and privacy.

The organizers Prof. Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, Prof. Matthias Hollick and Prof. Max Mühlhäuser expect over 500 attendees that will participate in the main conferences and workshops. This year the different conferences and workshops take place united for the first time.

What are the week’s highlights and impacts? Three questions to Prof. Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi (General Chair PETS) and Prof. Matthias Hollick (General Chair WiSec).

From your point of view, what are the highlights of the Security & Privacy Week 2016?

Professor Matthias Hollick: By establishing the Security & Privacy Week we bring together the top-level conferences WiSec (Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks) and PETS (Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium) for the first time. During the past years they have become the most important events within their disciplines. By gathering the finest minds in the fields of wireless and mobile communication security we want to initiate fruitful discussions between the two disciplines.

Professor Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi: The highlight of the Security & Privacy Week is the presentation of different topics in IT security by international experts, which will be especially interesting as the concepts of security and privacy are not confined to technical aspects but will also include social and economic issues. There will be also specialized conferences that will deal with many different technical aspects – such as WiSec and to a certain degree also PETS.

Why are the topics that will be discussed during the themed week important for the society? What kind of new ideas can be conveyed to the general public?

Sadeghi: We will discuss many topics that are currently relevant for society. For example the protection of privacy such as the protection of medical and genetic data, the danger of comprehensive surveillance that is advantaged by the digitization, the influence of social networks, new expert directives of the European Union, new EU guidelines and the role of the European IT security in the global arena.

Possible impulses from SPW2016 are a growth of society’s attention towards surveillance, a more responsible usage of social networks and the ability to weigh up privacy and security. Furthermore, we provide an insight into current security and privacy research generating impulses for future research.

Hollick: Collaboration between the two areas is necessary to guarantee user privacy and the security of services in an increasingly networked society. Today, there are more than five billion people who are using mobile devices and the “Internet of Things” will be based on billions and billions of sensors.

If those systems are not secure and cannot withstand attacks or if they render the users transparent, there might be severe consequences for the functioning of society and ultimately our social order. We want to gain new impulses through technological innovations, new methods of securing systems, and giving privacy guarantees. Furthermore we want to initiate a dialogue between the two scientific disciplines to be able to give recommendations for politics and society.

Why is Darmstadt the ideal location for Security & Privacy Week?

Hollick: Because of the above-average amount of experts within the mentioned disciplines. TU Darmstadt is a beacon for IT security and privacy research. Cybersecurity is one of the university’s core topics which is why we established the profile area CYSEC.

Sadeghi: Darmstadt hosts one of the largest and internationally most renowned centers for cybersecurity in Europe. It employs several hundreds of researchers from 47 countries and more than 20 professors who engage in IT security and privacy research. There are many software companies located in Darmstadt which already cooperate very closely with TU Darmstadt.