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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Privacy – from accessing databases to location based services

Johann-Christoph Freytag - Humboldt University

Apr 08, 2009

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Over the last years it has become apparent that privacy issues become more
and more important when accessing data sources either on the Web or by
database management systems. That is, the user does not only want to hide
the query, but also the result of that query from others. In the past the
problem of querying a database privately was solved by organizational rather
than by technical means.

In this talk we describe the problem of querying databases privately more
formally and discuss existing solutions from the area of private information
retrieval (PIR). The lack of efficiency and scalability motivated us look
for alternative approaches using a so called “secure co-processor” (built by
IBM). We introduce a set of algorithms that take advantage of the (physical)
properties of the co-processor and show which algorithms are necessary to
guarantee privacy for database queries. In the last part of my talk I
briefly describe our vision how to extend the current privacy approach to
location-based services, in particular to moving objects such as vehicles

About the Speaker

Johann-Christoph Freytag is a full professor for databases and information
systems (DBIS) at the Computer Science Department of the
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. Before joining the department in
1994 he was a research staff member at the IBM Almaden Research Center
(1985-1987), a researcher at the European Computer-Industry-Research Centre
(ECRC, in Munich, Germany, 1987-1989), and the head of Digital's (DEC)
Database Technology Center (also in Munich, 1990-1993). He holds a Ph.D. in
Applied Mathematics/Computer Science from Harvard University, MA.

Dr. Freytag's research interests include all aspects of query processing and
query optimization in object-relational database systems, new developments
in the database area (such as semi-structured data, data quality, databases
and security, Semantic Web), privacy in database systems, mobile systems and
mobility, and applying database technology to applications such as GIS,
genomics, and bioinformatics/life science.

Dr. Freytag spent two sabbaticals at IBM Research and IBM Development (1997,
2001) and was a regular visitor of Microsoft Research and the SQLServer
group, Redmond, as a research scientist (2002, 2005, 2007, 2008). In the
last years he received the IBM Faculty Award 4 times for collaborative work
in the areas of databases, middleware, and bioinformatics/life science. He
was a member of the VLDB Endowment until 2007 organizing VLDB 2003 in
Berlin. He heads the German database interest group of the GI (Gesellschaft
für Informatik) since 2007.


Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52 (Suite 050B), West Lafayette Campus. More information...


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