Lukas Helminger, KNOW-Center, WP 5

There is no doubt that big data analytics can be helpful in dealing with the coronavirus [1]. Do these benefits outweigh the individual right for privacy? Many countries at least seriously consider this question [2]. The framing of this question and the forthcoming public discussion leaves a false impression. Namely, that we would have – at least temporarily – wave our right for privacy in favor of disease analytics.

In contrast, we believe that it is possible to do data analytics in a privacy-preserving way. More concretely, in recent years, there has been a positive development of privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) in the form of Multi-Party Computation, Homomorphic Encryption, and Differential Privacy. Thereby enabling analytics of sensitive data but still, provide privacy guarantees. This balance of using the value of data without violating privacy is at the heart of the vision of Safe-DEED.

Currently, we are actively researching how our experience developed in Safe-DEED can be transformed into privacy-preserving disease analytics applications. The insights of different experts in cryptography, data science, business innovation, and the legal domain are vital for a successful real-world solution. If you want to learn more about our efforts, then subscribe to the Safe-DEED Twitter Account.