European call: Privacy & Trust Enhancing Technologies - NGI Zero PET

December 7, 2018

The internet is rapidly changing modern life in many different ways. A significant part of communication in today's society now happens online. After the revelations of Edward Snowden and others, it is perfectly clear that if we are to entrust our personal messages and extremely sensitive data to the internet, we need to make sure that we make the technology itself more trustworthy. The research topic of Privacy and Trust enhancing technologies is aimed at providing people with new instruments that allow them more agency - and assist us with fulfilling the human need of keeping some private and confidential context and information private and confidential.

There is a lot of work ahead, or put differently: a lot of room for great ideas and hard work. Many technologies in popular use were never designed with privacy, security or even extensibility in mind, or failed to fundamentally address key issues. Retrofitting new and fundamental requirements into many different technologies is challenging in many ways, and creating something that is likely to be deployed and used at scale is even more challenging. A complicating factor is that we have to keep the users on board as well: whatever measures are needed at a technical level can therefore only impact the user experience so much. Let's move ahead where we can, and do what is possible to improve the status quo - in the full knowledge that in some cases ultimate relief will come from more fundamental, lower-level solutions, elsewhere in the Next Generation Internet initiative.

We need your contributions to help reshape the state of play, and to help create an open, trustworthy and reliable internet for all. And of course such contributions do not happen automatically. This is why between now and 2021 we will award 5.6 million euro in small to medium-size R&D grants towards privacy and trust enhancing technologies. We are looking for new ideas and core technologies that help society tackle hard but very very important questions, each of which has significant social and economic consequences. The project results become available under an open source license, so anyone can read and validate the source code, and anyone can use the code to create technology that fits their own purposes.

We are seeking project proposals between 5.000 and 50.000 euro's - with the potential to scale them up if there is proven potential. Reliability, confidentiality, integrity and security should be the 'new normal' of the internet, something ordinary users should not have to worry about. Trust is one of the key drivers for the Next Generation Internet, and an adequate level of privacy is a non-negotiable requirement for that. We want to assist independent researchers and developers to create powerful new technology, and to help them put it in the hands of future generations as building blocks for a fair and democratic society and an open economy that benefits all.

The first call of NGI Zero PET opened up on December 1st 2018, with a deadline for submission of February 1st 2019 12:00 CET.