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Accepted Paper:

The political economy of PETs  
Roman Lukas Prunč (University of Technology, Graz) Christian Dayé (Graz University of Technology) Bernhard Wieser (Graz University of Technology) Andreas Trügler (Graz University of Technology)

Short abstract:

With our contribution we address the reconfiguration of the political economy of privacy rights, the common good and financial gain through Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs). To this end, we reflect upon the example of COVID-19 heat maps that utilises the technical possibilities of PETs.

Long abstract:

We present research on a particular application of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs) utilised for public health purposes. Novel cryptographic methods like homomorphic encryption allow the joint analysis of discrete data sets without having to share their concrete content. In the case at hand, PETs allow the privacy-preserving creation of a COVID-19 heat map through the combination of medical records (infection data) with mobile phone data (geospatial data). During the evaluation the individual datapoints stay encrypted and none of the two parties is able to recover the input from the other. Despite this type of data protection, it remains possible to perform mathematical operations on the encrypted data leading to insights on an aggregated level. In other words, while the information about all individuals remains protected, information on the population level can be obtained. Such possibilities hold great potentials for public policy making as the case of COVID-19 heat maps demonstrates.

With regard to the theme of the panel, we ask how such technical solutions lead to a reconfiguration of the European data protection paradigm. Are PETs making the exploitation of personal date possible, that would otherwise be restricted? How do these new possibilities spill over to other domains such as the sector of commerce? Does privacy protection using PETs no longer prevent the exploitation of consumer data without a solution for fair benefit sharing? Ultimately, we address the question as to whether PETs reconfigure the political economy of privacy rights, the common good and financial gain.

Traditional Open Panel P023
Privacy-enhancing technologies: from solution to reconfiguration
  Session 1 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -