Smart In Media supports EasyAnon research project

High-profile consortium wants to make data sets legally accessible as Open Data

Data is helpful – if it can be used freely (anonymized) to understand reality better. Often, however, especially in Germany, they lie in silos without further use. The main reason is the lack of instruments that take data protection and information security into account. The EAsyAnon project, led by TH-Deggendorf (THD), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and supported by Smart In Media, addresses this problem by developing a system for the secure and appropriate use of data.

The background to the project is the realization that in public authorities, healthcare facilities, research institutions, and companies are the owner of data that could be used for further development in many areas and published as Open Data. However, these often remain withheld from the general public due to data protection, security, and personal rights; no social added value can be generated. The EAsyAnon project aims to develop a solution to this problem. On the impulse of the TH-Deggendorf, a top-class consortium has been founded. Participants are the Technologie Campus Grafenau, the Technologie Campus Vilshofen), the Gesundheitscampus Bad Kötzting, the University of Augsburg, the companies PASSION4IT GmbH (Viechtach) and Smart in Media AG (Cologne) as well as the IT-Sicherheitscluster e. V. (Regensburg).

Research project aims to create added value for society

A few days ago, the kick-off meeting of the partners took place in the research center of the TH-Deggendorf in Grafenau. Three years of funding will now be used to find an answer to the question of how processes of anonymization can generate Open Data. Specifically, EAsyAnon aims to facilitate the process of anonymization associated with Open Data. “We are pleased to be part of this high-caliber consortium,” says Matthias Kampmann, project manager of the IT Security Cluster, “unfortunately, with the current legal situation, we are depriving ourselves of potential added value for society, also with regard to information security, if we do not actively research in this area”.

Intelligent recommendation system

An overall system consisting of three components will be developed for this purpose: EAsyAnon consists of an intelligent recommendation system that suggests a suitable anonymization concept based on the description of a data set. In addition, an audit system is to be developed that evaluates the possibility to de-anonymize the resulting data set. This is done on the one hand by automated methods and on the other hand by a crowd-sourced peer review process. The third component is a so-called “trust service “, which, through pseudonymization, allows the publication of parts of a data set that are worthy of protection in compliance with the German “Datenschutz Grundverordnung “and the evaluation of encrypted data for a specific purpose.

EAsyAnon is framed by empirical research, in which concrete application scenarios are evaluated as well as the influences of the system on the open data publication process. The evaluation is primarily based on real case studies from the healthcare sector. In addition to the technical issues, EAsyAnon also considers legal and ethical issues.

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