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The imPACT project, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) through the ERC Synergy Grant, identifies the many different security issues in today's Internet and seeks to provide conclusive and practical solutions for a secure Internet of tomorrow.
Find a white-paper in which the principal investigators outline the goals of the imPACT project here.

imPACT researchers

The four researchers Peter Druschel, Rupak Majumdar, Michael Backes and Gerhard Weikum are the principal investigators of the imPACT project and will lead the joint research groups that will tackle the challenges identified throughout the project.

imPACT at a glance

The Internet has undergone dramatic changes during the past 15 years, from an information and communication network used by tens of millions of users to a global platform for communication, social networking, entertainment, education and trade used by more than two billion users. This transformation has brought tremendous benefits to society, but has also created entirely new threats to privacy, safety, law enforcement, freedom of information and freedom of speech. In today’s Internet, principals are amorphous, identities can be fluid, users participate and exchange information as peers, and data is processed on global third-party platforms. Existing models and techniques for security and privacy, which assume trusted infrastructure and well-defined policies, principals and roles, fail to fully address this challenge.

The imPACT project addresses the challenge of providing privacy, accountability, compliance and trust (PACT) in tomorrow’s Internet, using a cross-disciplinary and synergistic approach to understanding and mastering the different roles, interactions and relationships of users and their joint effect on the four PACT properties. The focus is on principles and methodologies that are relevant to the needs of individual Internet users, have a strong potential to lead to practical solutions and address the fundamental long-term needs of the future Internet. We take on this challenge with a team of researchers from relevant subdisciplines within computer science, and with input from outside experts in law, social sciences, economics and business. The team of PIs consists of international leaders in privacy and security, experimental distributed systems, formal methods, program analysis and verification, and database systems. By teaming up and committing ourselves to this joint research, we are in a unique position to meet the grand challenge of unifying the PACT properties and laying a new foundation for their holistic treatment.

Principal Investigators

Michael Backes

Michael Backes is a professor at the Computer Science Department of Saarland University where he he has the chair for Information Security and Cryptography, and is a Max Planck Fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. He moreover is the Director of the Center for IT-Security, Privacy, and Accountability (CISPA), and a Principal Investigor and Vice-coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI). More Information

Peter Druschel

Peter Druschel is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) and leads the distributed systems research group at MPI-SWS. Furthermore, he is professor in the Department of Computer Science of Saarland University and principal investigator at the Excellence-Cluster for Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI). More Information

Rupak Majumdar

Rupak Majumdar is a Scientific Director at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and an adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. More Information

Gerhard Weikum

Gerhard Weikum is a Research Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbruecken, Germany, where he is leading the department on databases and information systems. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Computer Science of Saarland University, and he is a principal investigator of the Cluster of Excellence for Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI). More Information

Selected Publications

DeClarE: Debunking Fake News and False Claims using Evidence-Aware Deep Learning
Kashyap Popat, Subhabrata Mukherjee, Andrew Yates, Gerhard Weikum
EMNLP Conference 2018

Equity of Attention: Amortizing Individual Fairness in Rankings
Asia J. Biega, Krishna P. Gummadi, Gerhard Weikum
ACM SIGIR Conference 2018

Randomized Testing of Distributed Systems with Probabilistic Guarantees
Burcu Kulahcioglu Ozkan, Rupak Majumdar, Filip Niksic, Mitra Tabaei Befrouei, Georg Weissenbacher
PACMPL 2(OOPSLA): 160:1-160:28 (2018)

Why is Random Testing Effective for Partition Tolerance Bugs?
Rupak Majumdar, Filip Niksic
PACMPL 2(POPL): 46:1-46:24 (2018)

Concentration of Measure for Chance-Constrained Optimization
Sadegh Soudjani, Rupak Majumdar
Proceedings of the Workshop on Analysis and Design of Hybrid Systems, ADHS 2018

Identifying Personal DNA Methylation Profiles by Genotype Inference
Michael Backes, Pascal Berrang, and Mathias Humbert
Proceedings of the 38th IEEE Symposium on Security & Privacy. 2017

Reconciling Privacy and Utility in Continuous-Time Diffusion Networks
Michael Backes, Manuel Gomez-Rodriguez, Praveen Manoharan, Bartlomiej Surma
Proceedings of the 30th IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium. 2017

Learning to Un-Rank: Quantifying Search Exposure for Users in Online Communities
Asia J. Biega, Azin Ghazimatin, Hakan Ferhatosmanoglu, Krishna P. Gummadi, Gerhard Weikum
ACM CIKM Conference 2017

Privacy through Solidarity: A User-Utility-Preserving Framework to Counter Profiling
Asia J. Biega, Rishiraj Saha Roy, Gerhard Weikum
ACM SIGIR Conference 2017

Where the Truth Lies: Explaining the Credibility of Emerging Claims on the Web and Social Media
Kashyap Popat, Subhabrata Mukherjee, Jannik Strötgen, Gerhard Weikum
WWW Conference 2017

Verification of Population Protocols
Javier Esparza, Pierre Ganty, Jérôme Leroux, Rupak Majumdar
Acta Informatic 191-215. 2017

Deferrability Analysis for Javascript
Johannes Kloos, Rupak Majumdar, Frank McCabe
Haifa Verification Conference, 2017

Privacy in Epigenetics: Temporal Linkability of MicroRNA Expression Profiles
Michael Backes, Pascal Berrang, Anne Hecksteden, Mathias Humbert, Andreas Keller, and Tim Meyer
Proceedings of the 25th USENIX Security Symposium. 2016

Membership Privacy in MicroRNA-based Studies
Michael Backes, Pascal Berrang, Mathias Humbert, and Praveen Manoharan
Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. 2016

Your Choice MATor(s): Large-scale Quantitative Anonymity Assessment of Tor Path Selection Algorithms Against Structural Attacks
Michael Backes, Sebastian Meiser, and Marcin Slowik
Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies. 2016

Anonymous RAM
Michael Backes, Amir Herzberg, Aniket Kate, and Ivan Pryvalov
Proceedings of the 2016 European Symposium on Research in Computer Security. 2016

On Profile Linkability despite Anonymity in Social Media Systems
Michael Backes, Pascal Berrang, Oana Goga, Krishna P. Gummadi, and Praveen Manoharan
Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society. 2016

Credibility Assessment of Textual Claims on the Web
Kashyap Popat, Subhabrata Mukherjee, Jannik Strötgen, Gerhard Weikum
ACM CIKM Conference 2016

R-Susceptibility: An IR-Centric Approach to Assessing Privacy Risks for Users in Online Communities
Asia J. Biega, Krishna P. Gummadi, Ida Mele, Dragan Milchevski, Christos Tryfonopoulos, Gerhard Weikum
ACM SIGIR Conference 2016

Privacy in Epigenetics: Temporal Linkability of MicroRNA Expression Profiles
Michael Backes, Pascal Berrang, Anne Hecksteden, Mathias Humbert, Andreas Keller, and Tim Meyer
Proceedings of the 25th USENIX Security Symposium. 2016

Membership Privacy in MicroRNA-based Studies
Michael Backes, Pascal Berrang, Mathias Humbert, and Praveen Manoharan
Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. 2016

Oblivion: Mitigating Privacy Leaksby Controlling the Discoverability of Online Information
Milivoj Simeonovski, Fabian Bendun, Muhammad Rizwan Asghar, Michael Backes, Ninja Marnau, and Peter Druschel
Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Applied Cryptography and Network Security. 2015

Mitigating Privacy Leaks by Controlling the Discoverability of Online Information
M. Simeonovski, M. Backes, P. Druschel et al.
Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Applied Cryptography and Network Security (ACNS). 2015

Controlling Unwanted Photo Capture
P. Druschel, P. Aditya, M. Fritz, A. Kate, and R. Sen
Proceedings of the 8th ACM International Systems and Storage Conference (Systor). 2015

Creating a Precedent: a Framework for Reasoning about Privacy Case Law
M. Backes, F. Bendun, J. Hoffmann, and N. Marnau
Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Principles of Security and Trust (POST). 2015

Credibility of User Statements in Health Communities
S. Mukherjee, C. Danescu, and G. Weikum
Proceedings of the 20th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD). 2014

Imprint
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