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EIT ICT Labs students at the Security and Privacy Summer School learned to tranform their ideas into business

“Security and Privacy in Digital Life (SPDL)” was the theme chosen for the summer school held in Trento, Italy from July 27 - August 8, 2014.

The Summer School was organised by the EIT ICT Labs Action Line on Privacy, Security & Trust, in cooperation with the EIT ICT Labs partners - University of Trento and Trento Rise. The school was part of the innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) education of the EIT ICT Labs Master School. It was attended by 54 international Master and PhD students.

The main purpose of the Summer School was to demonstrate the importance of data security and privacy for ICT applications, to point out the market needs and business opportunities in the area, and teach the students how to transform the gained knowledge into innovative business ideas, to turn these ideas into concrete business proposals and to present them to investment companies.

“The roles of data security and privacy are of ever-increasing importance for the ICT world, and there are many already practical cryptographic techniques that can help bridge the existing gaps between theory and practice and open new business opportunities,” - says Jovan Golic, the Action Line Leader for Privacy, Security & Trust.

The programme consisted of frontal lectures held by prominent speakers from academic world and industry on the use cases of user profiling, e-ID provisioning, e-commerce, e-health, and e-voting/polls. The subjects included an introduction to cryptography, law and ethics, secure and privacy-aware computing platforms, and, most importantly, various practical cryptographic techniques enabling trustworthy business applications of security and privacy.

A significant part of the programme was dedicated to business and pitch coaching and team building. Visits to Security Operations Centre of Poste Italiane in Rome and Telecom Italia Lab in Trento in order for the students to get into practical contact with industry experts and researchers were also organised.

During the Summer School students were divided into ten teams. The teams worked out interesting and (perhaps surprisingly) solid business proposals and presented them in 7-minute pitches. At the end of the programme, a jury evaluated the proposals and the pitch presentations and selected three winners:

  • The team Bridge won the first place with their proposal Digital Will about the usage of secret sharing techniques for privacy-preserving closure of user accounts in case of accidental death of their owner (note that presently Facebook has a problem of closing about 50 million such accounts). The winning team was awarded a visit to one of the EIT ICT Labs CLCs.
  • The team TBA won the second place with their proposal TBA about the usage of behaviour-based user profiling for securing the user accounts against hijacking.
  • The team iTrackerswon the third place with their proposal AllMe about the email proxy providing pseudonymous email accounts associated with a single private email account.

Photos from the summer school are available on EIT ICT Labs' Flickr pages.