Privacy Enhancing Technologies

  • Type: lecture
  • Semester: summer of 2020
  • Place:


  • Lecturer:

    Dr. Javier Parra-Arnau, Dr. Patricia Arias-Cabarcos, Prof. Dr. Thorsten Strufe

  • SWS: 3



17.4.2020: We just learned that despite our planning the lecture times have been configured as TUESDAYS and Thursdays, not Mondays and Thursdays in ILIAS. We assume that most students plan their agenda using ILIAS, so we are switching to TUE 11:30AM and THU 2PM, now!

17.4.2020: Please note that there have been some hickups regarding the lecture time and place -- and we just learned that you couldn't register for the course on ILIAS (our apologies, we are new to these systems).

13.04.2020: Due to the Corona situation we will start the lecture online, using the open source lecture casting software "BigBlueButton". Please not that we will be recording the lecture, in case that anything fails (or in case that some of the students have slow Internet connectivity and cannot participate live). You will get the chance to ask questions and participate in the chat discussion - so we will ask your consent to be recorded at the beginning of the lecture (feel free to refuse consent, we can stop the recording intermittently if you still have questions or would like to participate in discussions).



This course will provide students with a basic understanding of privacy risks, the most common technologies to tackle them and the human factors shaping their design. The course will analyze the adversary models and evaluation metrics underlying the design of privacy-enhancing technologies.

Learning outcomes

  •     Critical reasoning about privacy
  •     Gaining knowledge in the evaluation of privacy risks
  •     Understanding of the design aspects of privacy-enhancing technologies
  •     Familiarity with the latest research in the field
  •     Ability to analyze and discuss the space of solutions to a given privacy problem

Course content

  •     Freedom of information, the surveillance economy, and other motivations for privacy
  •     Privacy metrics and adversary models
  •     Anonymous communications
  •     Data-perturbative privacy-enhancing technologies
  •     Anonymization algorithms for databases
  •     Homomorphic encryption and zero knowledge proofs
  •     Selective disclosure for identity management
  •     Usable privacy
  •     Applying privacy principles and case studies


Organizational matters

Tuesdays     11:30 online
Thursdays   14:00 online

Access to online lectures through ILIAS.

The course will consist of a lecture (3SWS) and an exercise course (1SWS). The exercise course consists of two parts: we will hold a biweekly reading group and there will be a task assignment. We will read papers from the context of the topics in class in the reading group. Everybody is expected to read all mandatory papers (around 9), and we will choose volunteers for each paper to briefly summarize the content, before the entire group discusses their questions and comments regarding the paper. We hope to discuss two papers during each session. The implementation task will be introduced in the context of the class discussing database publication and differential privacy. Each participant of the course will be tasked to implement a simple solution for data sharing with differential privacy, and the results will be presented and discussed during the last exercise course.

There will be a mailinglist, please enrol as soon as it's published.
There will be an etherpad to organize the reading group.