Building a Privacy Testbed

Friday, June 24, 2022 - 9:50 am10:05 am

Dr. Partha Das Chowdhury and Professor Awais Rashid, University of Bristol


How do we assure that a software application preserves privacy properties – whether it is with regards to contact tracing in a pandemic, information flows from AI assistants or leakage from client-side scanning of end-to-end encryption services? Formal verification is one means but often not within the purview of most software developers and intractable for end-users and regulators. Privacy researchers also require easy and repeatable ways of generating data on privacy properties of applications and third party APIs. We present experiences of building a first of its kind privacy testbed as part of the UK’s National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online. We will discuss our software-defined networking architecture, design challenges encountered, how these have been overcome and ongoing work on integrating the captured traffic with privacy frameworks. We will also discuss plans for the testbed to be widely accessible to the privacy research community.

Partha Das Chowdhury, University of Bristol

Dr. Partha Das Chowdhury is a Research Associate in the REPHRAIN centre at the University of Bristol, UK. His research interests are in privacy enhancing technologies, intersection of PETs and social sciences, secure software development, security protocols and adoption of tools to protect citizens from online harm. He has published at IEEE SecDev, ESORICS SecPre and the Security Protocols workshop held annually at Cambridge, UK. He has over a decade of industrial technology implementation experience for various client organisations including Tata Steel, city traffic management systems and mining majors. He was associated with the Center for 4th Industrial revolution, an initiative of the World Economic Forum as one of the contributors for the Blockchain toolkit. He was invited as an expert to the Commonwealth Working Group on Interception of Communication and Related Matters at Marlboro House, London in 2005. He also served as an invited panellist at the Vizag Fintech summit 2018, an annual event of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India. Partha has been a recipient of Army Commander's commendation, Eastern Command, Indian Army, 2021.

Awais Rashid, University of Bristol

Professor Awais Rashid is Director of the REPHRAIN Centre which includes > 80 researchers across 11 universities as well as 25 partners from government, industry and third sector organisations. He is also Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Trust, Identity, Privacy & Security at Scale with an annual minimum intake of 10 doctoral students per year. His research interests are in secure software development, security of cyber-physical systems and human factors. He has published on security and privacy in software systems at major venues such as International Conference on Software Engineering, PoPETS, ACM CHI and USENIX SOUPS as well as journals such as IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security, ACM Transactions on Software Engineering Methodology. Rashid has extensive experience of building testbeds. He led the development of the state-of-the-art testbed on cyber-physical systems, the leading facility in the UK (currently in its 3rd generation), which underpins multiple major programmes of research.

@conference {280248,
author = {Partha Das Chowdhury and Awais Rashid},
title = {Building a Privacy Testbed},
year = {2022},
address = {Santa Clara, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jun

Presentation Video