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TU Berlin

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Wouter Lueks


is a post-doctoral researcher at EPFL’s Spring lab led by Carmela Troncoso. He focuses on designing, building, and deploying privacy-friendly systems. To do so, he combines applied cryptography, privacy/threats/requirements modelling, and clever systems engineering. He has worked on a secure and privacy document search system for journalists, and more recently, on designing, analyzing, and implementing digital proximity and presence tracing systems.

Privacy-friendly digital proximity tracing (talk will be given in English language)

Digital proximity tracing apps such as the Corona-Warn-App notify people that have been in close proximity to a person that was diagnosed with COVID-19. Such apps aim to complement traditional contact tracing by notify people faster and/or notifying people that would otherwise not be reachable.

This talk will take you on a tour of digital proximity tracing. It explains how we designed a protocol that maintains users’ privacy and prevents abuse. This protocol now forms the basis for the proximity tracing apps in 41 countries. We first look at the basic protocol to explain how digital proximity tracing apps work, how they determine proximity, and how they know to notify the user.

In the second part of the talk, we look at our experiences trying to deploy such a digital proximity tracing systems. Turns out: reality is not as simple as we would like. We’ll discuss the new and unexpected challenges we faced. And how they required new solutions to maintain privacy.

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