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Online Talk: Auditable Privacy-Preserving Data Analysis Platform for SMEs

On November 11th Tanja Sarcevic held an online talk for 70 participants about “WellFort: Auditable Privacy-Preserving Data Analysis Platform for SMEs”. The talk was part of the “DataSHIELD conference 2021”.


“WellFort: Auditable Privacy-Preserving Data Analysis Platform for SMEs”


Small and medium-sized organisations face challenges in acquiring, storing and analysing personal data, particularly sensitive data (e.g., data of medical nature), due to data protection regulations, such as the GDPR in the EU, which stipulates high standards in data protection. Consequently, these organisations often refrain from collecting data centrally, which means losing the potential of data analytics and learning from aggregated user data. To enable organisations to leverage the full potential of the collected personal data, two main technical challenges need to be addressed: (i) organisations must preserve the privacy of individual users and honour their consent, while (ii) being able to provide data and algorithmic governance, e.g., in the form of audit trails, to increase trust in the result and support reproducibility of the data analysis tasks performed on the collected data. To this end, we propose the WellFort approach, a semantic-enabled architecture for auditable, privacy-preserving data analysis which provides secure storage for users’ sensitive data with explicit consent, and delivers a trusted, auditable analysis environment for executing data analytic processes in a privacy-preserving manner.

WellFort integrates DataSHIELD as a tool for privacy-preserving data analysis within the platform. We demonstrate how DataSHIELD can be incorporated as an integral part of the WellFort architecture and demonstrate the feasibility of the approach through a feasibility study with a prototype supporting use cases from the medical domain. Our evaluation shows that WellFort enables privacy-preserving analysis of data via DataSHIELD, and collects sufficient information in an automated way to support its auditability at the same time.


Tanja Sarcevic

About the Event

DataSHIELD provides a novel technological solution that can circumvent some of the most basic challenges in facilitating the access of researchers and other health care professionals to individual-level data. Although initially developed for work in the biomedical and social sciences, DataSHIELD can be used in any setting where microdata (data on individual subjects) must be analysed but cannot physically be shared with the research users. The 2021 DataSHIELD Conference is sponsored by the ATHLETE project. The programme includes a mix of talks, demonstrations and discussion sessions relating to the development and use of the DataSHIELD software. This conference is suitable for anyone interested in using or applying the DataSHIELD software. In particular: (i) those that are unfamiliar with DataSHIELD, or that may have a new application for DataSHIELD (ii) current DataSHIELD users (iii) those developing new statistical methodology, functionality or infrastructure for DataSHIELD.

Further information: Motivation behind attending this conference: DataSHIELD is a technology used for privacy-preserving analysis within the WellFort project, therefore this conference served as a great opportunity to get feedback on our efforts within the project from its developers, suggestions and support for the future work, and moreover to extend our network in DataSHIELD community.

Links, Video & more

Watch the Talk on YouTube

Presentation slides

DataSHIELD conference 2021