EARTO prize for Fraunhofer

Press Release /

Fraunhofer researchers receive an Innovation Prize this year from the European Association for Research and Technology Organisations EARTO for the development of software that protects companies from theft and improper use of data. In addition, Frank Treppe, Division Director of Corporate Strategy and International Affairs at Fraunhofer, has been elected as EARTO Vice President. Together with EARTO President Maria Khorsand, he will be representing 350 institutions conducting applied research in Europe.

© Fraunhofer
Prof. Dieter Rombach, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE one of this years‘s winners of EARTO Price.
© Fraunhofer
EARTO Vice President Frank Treppe.

The digital age is also accompanied by risks and unintended consequences. The danger posed by improper use of data is rising along with the flood of data. Not just individuals are unsettled by this – companies are also. “Agreeing to the general terms of business by checking off a box is hardly sufficient today because information can be duplicated and provided to third parties,” explained Prof. Dieter Rombach, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering IESE at the awards ceremony. “Encryption is also often insufficient today if extensive data needs to be exchanged during business processes. In the age of Big Data, we have to find new ways.”

Fraunhofer researchers together with three partners from industry and business have developed a technology named IND²UCE (Integrated Distributed Data Usage Control Enforcement) that will protect sensitive information from improper use in future. “We are no longer relying exclusively on conventional access monitoring & control or encryption, but instead supplement the data with our own monitoring & control functions,” says Christian Jung, who heads the IND2UCE project. The trick: all data are augmented with small supplementary information packets containing data usage rules. Exactly what is or is not allowed in future is in these packets. With them, the owner can precisely define which files may be read, copied, and/or forwarded, as well as how often, whether they can be read on a smartphone and if so, whether this is allowed in public locations or only on company property.

Various prototypes of this new security solution are now available. One of the three partners is planning to bring this solution to market over the coming years by integrating it within its software.




The importance of networks – Frank Treppe is EARTO‘s new Vice President

“EARTO represents 350 organisations involved in applied research throughout Europe and thus offers outstanding opportunities for networking,” explains Frank Treppe, Division Director for International and Corporate Strategy, and new Vice President of EARTO. “In addition, the organization gives members the opportunity to proactively provide input to research policy development in the European sphere, as EARTO represents the members’ interests to the European Commission.”

About the EARTO Innovation Prize

Research can have a positive impact on our lives. To honor outstanding examples EARTO has been awarding three prizes annually since 2009. An independent jury selects projects that have the potential to trigger social or economic change. Fraunhofer has now received the distinction for a third time.