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The University of Southampton
The Alan Turing Institute

Anonymisation and Provenance: Reasoning over Data Environments with PROV


In collaboration with the University of Manchester, this project is to conduct the pilot phase of a study that explores utilising prescriptive and descriptive provenance to clearly delineate data environments for better Functional Anonymisation. This phase of the project complements Turing's research challenge areas for research in cybersecurity, and fits within the Defence and Security Program in its goal of usage of data with sharing restrictions. It focuses on determining whether data movement and agent involvement, as encoded in PROV, can be used to describe and possibly identify data environments correctly in order to facilitate better contextual awareness and correct usage of anonymisation techniques.

The recent report from the UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, "Growing the artificial intelligence industry in the UK" (Hall and Pesenti, 2017) highlights that better protection and usage of data is required to fuel the new digital economy, demanding tools and techniques to appropriately share data (especially personal data), given a range of uses and attack threats, necessitating the need for Functional Anonymisation. Furthermore, the GDPR has addressed the use of pseudonymisation for protecting personal data and brought it within the scope of regulation. The proposed study is potentially ground-breaking since it will be the first study to use provenance to recommend data protection procedures. While materials and methods traditionally inform data handling and protection, this will be the first study to formally use the provenance to identify those requirements. The project aligns with Turing's preference for multidisciplinary projects concerned with facilitating applications of data science and Artificial Intelligence, as improving data sharing by decreasing risk aversion and improving anonymization usage will provide better data for data science.


Principal Investigator: Dr Age Chapman (Southampton)

Co Investigators: Dr Kieron O'Hara (Southampton) and Professor Mark Elliot (Manchester)

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