DHS S&T awards $3.66M for privacy-enhancing technology research and development

DHS seal 112The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced the award of three contracts totaling $3.66 million to fund the research and development (R&D) of privacy-enhancing technologies that better defend personally identifying information and protect privacy in cyber space, DHS announced July 14.

Awarded through Broad Agency Announcement HSHQDC-14-R-B0014-TTA-3-0017-I, these projects are part of the DHS S&T Cyber Security Division’s (CSD) Data Privacy program. CSD’s Data Privacy program works with cyber security researchers to develop innovative, easy-to-use and cost-effective privacy-enhancing technologies that can be quickly deployed in the public and private sectors.

“It is essential for government and private-sector organizations to stay ahead of criminals who are using increasingly sophisticated methods to extract personally identifiable information,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “The new privacy-enhancing technologies being developed through these awards will help to strengthen the data-privacy protections of connected systems and simultaneously safeguard the personal information of millions of Americans.”

Privacy-related breaches cause multimillion-dollar impacts on federal, state and local governments as well as on the private sector. In addition to lost or stolen personally identifiable information, there have been a growing number of privacy violations involving improper use of data. DHS continuously seeks ways of mitigating these risks more effectively while maintaining functionality to carry out its missions most effectively.


The S&T CSD Data Privacy program is funding cutting-edge R&D that will enhance the data privacy of online systems in the public and private sectors. The newly announced contracts will focus research and development efforts in the following broad technical areas:

  • International Computer Science Institute of Berkeley, California, will receive $665,000 to develop technology that will detect privacy intrusions on mobile devices and alert the device owner to proactively protect their private information
  • Raytheon BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Massachusetts, will receive $1.3 million to develop technology for performing multiple online searches simultaneously to facilitate information sharing while also preserving privacy. S&T CSD is partnering with the Israel National Cyber Bureau on this R&D project.
  • Yale University of New Haven, Connecticut, will receive $1.7 million to develop technology that will help protect the identity and location of individuals against malicious tracking and surveillance.

“The focus of each award is targeted to a key area of need in the extremely critical and evolving data privacy discussion,” said Anil John, S&T Data Privacy program manager. “Once completed, the technology created through these R&D awards will deliver new tools to better protect against data privacy attacks.”

Source: DHS