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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

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