UniHH © Universität Hamburg

1 million euro for cyber security project at Hamburg university

EU funds CANVAS international research network. Focus is on digitalization in health sector, financial system and national security

The University of Hamburg (UHH) and Schleswig-Holstein’s Independent Center for Privacy Protection (Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz ULD) have joined nine other institutions in seven countries to form the “Constructing an Alliance for Value-driven Cybersecurity” (CANVAS) research network, according to a press statement Thursday (June 16). The network will research the technical and ethical perspectives of digitalization and will receive EUR 1 million in funding from the European Commission and the Swiss Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, for three years beginning in September.

Cyber war poses new challenges for police

Researchers in CANVAS will investigate how to achieve a balance between digitalization and cyber security in terms of basic democratic values. To do so, they will focus on three main fields of application: digitalization in the health sector, the financial system and national security as well as their respective demands on cyber security and ethics.

Prof. Dr. Hannes Federrath, Head of the Working Group on Security in Distributed Systems, pointed out: “Highly sensitive data that requires sufficient protection occurs in the health sector. At the same time, the exchange of such data offers great potential for increasing efficiency.” Digitalisation also leads to upheaval in the financial system, which is simultaneously a lucrative target for cyber criminals. And lastly, police and national security make particularly high demands on data security and must face the new threats posed by cyber war. Federrath added: “We need a value-orientated debate about shaping digitalisation.”

Improving data protection on the internet

Marit Hansen, Head of ULD Schleswig-Holstein, added: “For decades, we have stressed the importance of privacy by design. The basic European regulation on data protection from Spring 2016 makes explicit mention thereof.” Experience has shown that designing technology and law according to a society’s basic values is by no means a given. The CANVAS project aims to heighten the awareness of technology designers and political decision-makers for human rights.

Apart from the University of Hamburg and ULD, universities in Zurich and Dublin are also taking part in the CANVAS project. Workshops with experts on ethics, human rights, data protection, developing and implementing cyber security solutions are being planned. The University of Hamburg and ULD will also work closely in the “AN.ON-Next Anonymity in the Next Generation Internet” and the “AppPETs – Privacy Enhancing Technologies for Mobile Apps” projects. The latter aims to make it easier for developers to integrate privacy. Both projects are being funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research.

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