Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen from Flinders University, Australia visted our RTG at the end of 2016

2017/01/18

Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen from Flinders University, Australia visted our RTG at the end of 2016

Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen (Senior Lecturer, Flinders University, Australia) has been selected as one of the Mercator fellows of the GRK 2050. His initial visit took place from 05.10.2016 to 21.01.2017. Prof. Hollick acted as the host of Dr. Gardner-Stephen. The fellowship is closely linked with Research Areas B (Privacy and Trust in Social Networks) and C (Privacy and Trust in Sensor-Augmented Environments) of the Doctoral College GRK PAT.

The general research subject of Dr. Gardner-Stephen was on Privacy and Trust of Mobile Users in Emergency Response Scenarios. In case of emergencies, individual users and the affected population in general can benefit if they utilize technical means to communicate and coordinate appropriate emergency response strategies. The use of mobile end systems can facilitate such means of communications and act as an enabler of mobile social networks among the affected population. It is vital for the protection of the vulnerable population that such solutions address information security and particularly trust and privacy aspects.

Aim of the collaboration with Dr. Gardner-Stephen as a Mercator fellow is to jointly work on creating privacy-preserving solutions for disaster relief communication systems. This involves to improve of the design of an existing emergency communication system to provide strong information security properties, can make effective use of existing social media platforms where appropriate, and can operate in a completely infrastructure-deprived and distributed manner, thus facilitating secure private and social communications in challenging environments. Joint work towards realizing this aim has been started during the first stay of Dr. Gardner-Stephen in Darmstadt.

The stay was very fruitful and yielded a number of excellent contribution such as publications as well as awards:

  • Accepted article: M. Fomichev, F. Alvarez, D. Steinmetzer, P. Gardner-Stephen, M. Hollick. Survey and Systematization of Secure Device Pairing, IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials. Vol 99.
  • Accepted conference paper: J. Lakeman, M. Lloyd, R. Challans, A. Wallace∗, M. Schmittner, M. Hollick, P. Gardner-Stephen. A Practical and Secure Social Media Facility for Internet-Deprived Populations. In proceedings of IEEE GHTC 2017 (accepted for publication, to appear).
  • Accepted conference paper: P. Lieser, F. Alvarez, P. Gardner-Stephen, M. Hollick, D. Boehnstedt. Architecture for responsive emergency communications networks. In proceedings of IEEE GHTC 2017 (accepted for publication, to appear).
  • Accepted conference paper: F. Alvarez, M. Hollick, P. Gardner-Stephen. Maintaining both availability and integrity of communications: Challenges and guidelines for data security and privacy during disasters and crises. In proceedings of IEEE GHTC 2016.
  • Award winner at the Pacific Humanitarian Challenge (partner TU Darmstadt supported the application, Dr. Gardner-Stephen was the main applicant): pacifichumanitarianchallenge.org/winners/

Additionally, an interdisciplinary cooperation between subareas C.1 (computer science), C.2 (law) and Prof. Gardner-Stephen resulted in a joint statement on a planned legislation on wireless devices in Germany that would have severely affected the work of area C.1. Further work on exploring and comparing the legal contexts in Germany and Australia/Pacific region is ongoing. It is focusing on analyzing the legal implications of distributed telecommunications networks and services consisting only of citizen’s devices, which lack centralized infrastructure.

During his stay, Dr. Gardner-Stephen interacted with PhD candidates. For instance he helped Mr. Max Maass to get started with his work in subarea C.1 on decentralized techniques for privacy-protection in human-centric sensor environments. This allowed a quicker familiarization with the state of the art in that area. Paul Gardner-Stephen also worked with the associated PhD from area C.1, which resulted in the aforementioned journal article.

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