Anwar Hithnawi, ETH Zurich : “Cryptographic Enforcement of End-to-End Data Privacy”

Position: Research Fellow

Current Institution: ETH Zurich 

Abstract: Cryptographic Enforcement of End-to-End Data Privacy

As increasingly more sensitive data is being collected to gain valuable insights the need to natively integrate privacy controls in data analytics frameworks is growing in importance. Today privacy controls are enforced by data curators with full access to data in the clear. However a plethora of recent data breaches show that even widely trusted service providers can be compromised. Additionally there is no assurance that data processing and handling comply with the claimed privacy policies in this model. This motivates the need for a new approach to data privacy that can provide strong assurance and control to users. To this end we present Zeph a system that enables users to set privacy preferences on how their data can be shared and processed. Zeph enforces privacy policies cryptographically and ensures that data available to third-party applications complies with usersÂ’ privacy policies. Zeph executes privacy-adhering data transformations in real-time and scales to thousands of data sources allowing it to support large-scale low-latency data stream analytics.


Anwar Hithnawi is an Ambizione research fellow at ETH Zurich where she leads the Privacy Preserving Systems Lab. Her research lies at the intersection of data privacy applied cryptography and systems. She is interested in designing systems and solutions that enable applications to safely and securely interact with users’ data while preserving individuals’ privacy and building tools that make it easy to develop privacy-preserving applications. Anwar completed her doctoral degree in computer science at ETH Zurich in 2017. After graduation she spent two years as a postdoc researcher at UC Berkeley. She is a 2020 SNSF Ambizione Fellow and a recipient of the Facebook Research Award the SNSF Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship.