Sustainable Privacy Enhancing Techniques (SusPETs)

Besides many benefits, ICT also brings societal challenges such as climate change and privacy concerns. With the amount of publications on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has increasing more than fivefold over the last decade, we should consider ICT’s share in the energy consumption. Early studies already warned of the dangers of using digitalisation without rebound considerations regarding the environment and identified the need for a more finegrained analysis of digital processes with respect to their ecological footprint. Recent work states ICT’s carbon footprint is substantive, except if renewable energy is used, and will continue to rise in the future in step with the growth of the digital economy, optimizing the energy consumption of data processing is imperative. Apart from sustainability, there is growing concern about privacy amongst citizens of all ages. To ensure the privacy of those whose data are collected the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been adopted in Europe in 2016. The GDPR regulates that all citizens in Europe have control over their personal data. There is one exception to the GDPR; it does not apply to anonymised data. In the GDPR, anonymous data is defined as: ”information which does not relate to an identified or identifiable natural person or to personal data rendered anonymous in such a manner that the data subject is not or no longer identifiable.”. And so, privacy-enhancing techniques (PETs) as k-anonymity and synthetic data are increasingly used to comply with privacy legislation. For policymakers, weighing the potential and the shortcomings of PETs is crucial for policymakers and practitioners. Researchers can provide crucial insights to facilitate informed decision-making. This workshop addresses these two aspects of privacy-enhancing techniques: energy consumption and data utility. Earlier work examined the impact of synthetic data and k-anonymity on the energy consumption and accuracy of machine learning tasks, but was small scaled. To expand and generalise our knowledge on PETs, we should decide on the research direction for this field. Our workshop discusses current practises and possibilities for future work, we hope to spark new ICT4S papers on PETs such these techniques become usual SusPETs ;).

Call for Participation

We invite researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to participate in our half-day workshop exploring the intersection of Privacy-Enhancing Techniques (PETs) with sustainability challenges. As the volume of Artificial Intelligence (AI) publications skyrockets, it's imperative to address the ecological impact. Early studies warned of environmental repercussions, emphasizing the need for a nuanced analysis of digital processes and their ecological footprint. Our workshop delves into two critical aspects of PETs, namely: energy consumption and data utility. With ICT's substantial carbon footprint, especially without renewable energy, and growing privacy concerns, our event aims to bridge the gap between research and informed decision-making. We host presentations addressing these concerns, allowing discussion of the outcomes in a group of peers. Finally, we discuss hot topics, and potential solutions, and set out directions for future work on sustainable PETs.

Registration to our workshop goes through the ICT4S registration form.