UPRISE-IoT: User-centric PRIvacy & Security in IoT

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Geography


The goal of this project is to allow users to gain control over data generated and collected by the Internet of Things (IoT) devices surrounding them. Since the IoT will be omnipresent in our day-to-day activities, our privacy is potentially at risk. At the same time, the deployment of IoT technologies might be stopped or slowed-down if privacy is not considered from the beginning as a fundamental design objective. In general, for these reasons, we believe that it is essential to adopt a privacy-by-design approach for the IoT.

This project will take a fresh look at the IoT privacy space by considering a user-centric approach. It will be user-centric by considering user's behaviour and context in order to improve security and privacy in a privacy-preserving manner. The approach will also increase data transparency and control. Users will be informed about the data that is being collected in a user-friendly manner, and will have the option to oppose to its collection. We plan to develop a solution that will offer tools for controlling data privacy in the IoT world. Therefore, we believe that the project will raise a new awareness in the users, so that users' behaviour will not compromise their security, favouring also the creation of a new market based on the monetization of IoT data.

The expected result is the creation of a new secure space centred around the user where security solutions are either integrated within IoT devices directly (creating smart secure objects) or made available to the user by powerful user-friendly mobile applications for: (i) "smartifying" the IoT devices that are not intrinsically secure, (ii) fine-tuning the level of privacy; (iii) getting awareness of their behaviour for being protected from security and privacy threats, (iv) getting awareness of the value of their information.

We will validate our results with experimental work involving users. We plan to adopt a mixed quantitative/qualitative approach to the problem: we will both survey users' perception of security, as well as measure the real level of protection of users' data.

Planned Impact

We believe that, given its goals, UPRISE-IOT will have a significant impact in academia, industry and governmental and non-governmental organisations. IoT will be part of our everyday life and therefore usable solutions for IoT are also of paramount importance for citizens, communities, profit and non-profit organisations.

The project will design, implement and evaluate the required modelling, primitives and tools to manage the increased data generation and the emerging unlimited interconnection of devices characterising the new wave of IoT technologies. By doing so, UPRISE-IoT aims to help citizens to gain awareness of IoT data. Moreover, by securing the development of new user-centric IoT applications, the project expects to foster the required short-term impact on the development of IoT algorithms, tools and prototypes. In addition to the technological impact, UPRISE-IoT will have a significant impact in terms of competence building in this emerging key technological area.

The project will put strong effort on dissemination activities to promote the UPRISE-IoT solutions and foster its understanding among relevant stakeholders in the field, including individuals, industry and, in the case the project's results will call for it, standardisation bodies. The UPRISE-IoT consortium agrees that is extremely important to make public (including individuals, academics and industries) the outcome of the project. This will increase the chance for acceptance and further exploitation of experimental results by end-users. The dissemination strategy will have to i) reach out to a broad audience to optimise the general impact of the project, and ii) to target accurately specific industry and research clusters to increase the scientific impact of UPRISE-IoT on the R&D community.

UPRISE-IoT will exploit multiple channels for disseminating its scientific results, such as articles in journals, papers at conferences and demonstrations at fairs, as well as make use of new ways to disseminate results (e.g., YouTube to reach broad public). In addition UPRISE-IoT will develop a storytelling to showcase the technology in dedicated events and conferences, as well as in teaching and public events to make users aware of potential risks.

The dissemination of project results will take place at national and international level through a number of activities. These will include participation in national and international conferences, other scientific events, and commercial exhibitions.


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Mehrotra A (2018) Using Autoencoders to Automatically Extract Mobility Features for Predicting Depressive States in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies

Description We are currently exploring the development of techniques for privacy-preserving IoT systems with a focus on explainability. We are in particular focussing on the aspects related to the applications of artificial intelligence/machine learning techniques to IoT data. These recent developments raise concerns about the privacy of the data of individuals not only in terms of the actual personal information itself (e.g., location) but also with respect to the information extracted through machine learning algorithms. Indeed, machine learning algorithms are seen as black boxes and in order to ensure acceptability of these new technologies, it is of paramount importance to design systems that are able to "explain" the inferences that are extracted from the data themselves. It is worth noting that this project is funded through a CHIST-ERA call and it involves University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (Switzerland), INRIA (France) and EURECOM (France). We are in the process of discussing concrete collaborations with the other partners around the themes of the project.
Exploitation Route We will explore potential collaborations with companies about commercial exploitation of the findings and/or direct commercialisation of the ideas.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Security and Diplomacy