Fiches de cours 2017-2018


Advanced Topics on Privacy Protection


Lecturer(s) :

Hubaux Jean-Pierre




Every year


Postponed until further notice


Main threats against privacy, description of protection techniques and of their limitations.


Part 1 - Preliminaries
1.1 Introduction
-        History of privacy protection; the legal framework
-        Anonymity, unlinkability, unobservability and related concepts
-        Privacy by Design; privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs)
-        The future: wearable computing, DNA sequencing, electro-encephalogram interfaces,'

1.2 Economics and Incentives
-        The elusive value of private data
-        Economics of privacy; targeted advertisement and ad blocking; why privacy is often not protected
-        Economics of PETS; why incentives often don't work

1.3 Crypto-Based Solutions
-        Identity management and anonymous credentials (zero-knowledge proofs)
-        Secure multi-party computation, including garbled circuits
-        Secret sharing; homomorphic encryption

Part 2 - Data Privacy
2.1 Hiding Data from the Database User
-        k-anonymity, l-diversity, t-proximity
-        Differential privacy and Laplacian noise; composability

2.2 Hiding Access Patterns from the Database Owner
-        Private information retrieval (PIR)
-        Oblivious RAM (ORAM)

Part 3 - Privacy in Networks
3.1 Privacy in the Internet
-        Anonymous routing and anonymous Web surfing; Tor
-        Privacy in online social networks

3.2 Privacy in Mobile Networks
-        Privacy in cellular and WiFi networks
-        Location privacy and its quantification


Due to the limited time, many other privacy-related topics are not covered, including privacy in cloud computing, privacy in biometrics, reputation systems, anonymous cash, e-voting, peer-to-peer systems,...


Privacy protection, Privacy enhancing technologies, data protection, anonymity, information security

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses

Information security or security engineering

Recommended courses

Network security, probability theory, introductory course to cryptography

Important concepts to start the course

Principles of security for systems and networks

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

Ex cathedra lectures

In-class discussions

Paper presentation


Expected student activities

Participate in class, prepare and deliver paper presentation, do, document and present the mini-project, pass the oral exam

Assessment methods

Mini-project (50%)

Oral exam (40%)

Paper presentation (10%)

In-class participation (up to 10% bonus)



Will be provided in class


Slide shows and tutorial/overview papers

Moodle Link

In the programs

Reference week

      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German