Zurich, Switzerland, 27 May 2004—The winners of the 2004 Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, which is sponsored by Microsoft, were announced today in Toronto. Birgit Pfitzmann, Matthias Schunter and Michael Backes (left to right) of ZRL's Computer Science department were honored for tackling the problem of managing personal data in large, transnational organizations. Matthias Bauer of the University of Erlangen earned an award for his strategy to use normal online traffic to protect sensitive communications from observation by blending them into the "cloud" of ordinary Internet transactions.
The ZRL team has produced a tool kit for meshing privacy policies, including a vocabulary, rules and semantics. This makes it easier to share customer data appropriately among operational divisions and across geographic borders, a process that is often highly complex because different business units may have disparate privacy policies and legal requirements for handling personal data differ across jurisdictions.