Blockchain@UBC

Call for Papers
Workshop on Privacy, Security, Trust & Blockchain Technologies
26th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks (ICCCN)

ICCCN is one of the leading international conferences for presenting novel ideas and fundamental advances in the fields of computer communications and networks. ICCCN serves to foster communication among researchers and practitioners with a common interest in improving computer communications and networking through scientific and technological innovation.

  • ***Key Dates***
  • Paper submission deadline March 31, 2017 April 10, 2017
  • Notification April 28th
  • Camera ready copy due May 10, 2017.

More information on submissions: http://icccn.org/icccn17/call-for-papers/

Introduction to the Workshop

This year's ICCCN conference focuses on new challenges to trust, security and privacy brought about by rapid development and increasing complexity of computer communication and networking systems. The digital age has seen enormous change in how we create, communicate and keep recorded information. In the past twenty years, new information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet, have given us email, web content, social media, and the Cloud. The impact of these technologies, both positive and negative, has been far reaching in terms of privacy, security and trust.

Recently, another ICT innovation - blockchain technology - has dominated discussion of technological innovation. There is as yet no universally agreed definition of blockchain technology, but it is often described as a distributed ledger that maintains a continually growing list of publicly accessible records cryptographical secured from tampering and revision. The blockchain's key technical features include:

  • Tracking of transition from one state to another, e.g., the ownership status of digital currency
  • A distributed operating model, comprised of computers, called "nodes" in the network that arrive at an agreement about the validity of transactions (i.e., a distributed "consensus mechanism").
  • Use of cryptographic hashes in the processing of transactions, which enables transparency without exposing content.
  • Packaging of transactions into blocks (from which comes the name “blockchain”) chained in chronological order and distributed across every full node.
  • More controversially, a cryptographic token like Bitcoin or Ether that represents actual value and is integral to incentivizing miners to participate in validating transactions and/or that is used to represent an asset.

Although these are the key features of blockchain technology, there are non-trivial variations among blockchain platforms (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Hyperledge and others). These include underlying code, use of tokens, consensus mechanisms, whether permissionless or permissioned, whether public or private, and application layers, all of which will have implications for privacy, security and trust. This makes any generalizations about the technology a challenging proposition.

Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, which introduced the archetypal blockchain, innovation and investment in this technology has moved at a rapid pace. According to some sources In 2014 and 2015 alone, more than $1 billion of venture was invested into the emerging blockchain ecosystem, and the rate of investment is almost doubling annually.

Actual and proposed applications for blockchain technology are wide ranging, encompassing cryptocurrency, payment systems, clearing and settlement, securities trading, supply chain management, identity management, notarial services, the Internet of Things, land transfer and registration, health recordkeeping, voting, intellectual property management, and beyond. Some see no limit to the uses to which blockchain technology can be put to help solve societal and business problems. There are even predictions that the impact of this technology will be as far reaching as the Internet.

While blockchain technology does seem poised to be transformative in many respects, much of the discussion about its application until recently was quite uncritical. The relative absence of critical reflection, especially in regard to issues of privacy, security and trust and of establishing long-term authenticity of digital records as evidence of transactions, may have been due to a focus on innovation, and a desire to avoid stifling a fledgling technology with enormous potential. Recently, however, more critical reflection on the potential of the blockchain has emerged. Questions have emerged about governance of the blockchain, challenging the notion that it is truly decentralized. And, following the DAO exploit on the Ethereum blockchain in June of 2016 and the Hong-Kong Bitfinex Bitcoin exchange security breach in August of 2016, there has been greater critical reflection on blockchain security, information assurance, and risk management. For example, the Ethereum hard fork has raised questions about whether blockchains are truly immutable and free from external interference, while the amalgamation of mining power in the Bitcoin network raises concerns about the potential for attacks and manipulation of the historical blockchain record. These critical reflections provide evidence of a maturing of the technology and its developers, as blockchain is put to the test.

With some uses of blockchain technology reaching higher levels of maturity and implementation, need to design protocols and build systems that can preserve trust, security, and privacy at the same time without losing the quality of services and stifling innovation.

The goal of this workshop, therefore, is to bring together researchers, practitioners and solution developers in the fields of security, privacy, and trusted systems, especially those focused on blockchain technology. The workshop seeks novel contributions on algorithm and system design, implementation, evaluations and standards. Research topics covered will include, but not be restricted to the following:

  • Anonymity, deanonymization and privacy in blockchain systems
  • Provenance and trust in blockchain systems
  • Trust models and trust management in blockchain systems
  • Scalability and scalable services for blockchain systems
  • New forms of blockchains and consensus mechanisms and their impact upon trust
  • Cyber-infrastructures for blockchain systems
  • Digital preservation of blockchain records for long-term authenticity
  • Software quality and code verification in smart contracts and blockhchains
  • Blockchain standards initiatives
  • Application of analytics to blockchain, including text-mining, data-mining, sentiment analysis, network analysis for privacy, security and trust assessment

Program Chairs

  1. Dr. Victoria Lemieux, Associate Professor, Archival Science, iSchool, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Program Committee Members

  1. Dr. Hasan Cavusoglu, Associate Professor, Sauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  2. Dr. Luciana Duranti, Professor, Archival Science, iSchool, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  3. Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Executive Director, Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, University of Washington, USA
  4. Dr. Hrvoje Stancic, Associate Professor, Department of Information and Communication Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  5. Mr. Alan Wunsche, Founder, Blochchain Canada and Chair, Standards Council of Canada Mirror Committee TC 307 (Blockchain Standards)

Invited keynote speakers

We plan to invite keynote speakers and have a number of options; we will make a decision once the workshop is approved. We also plan to have a closing panel session with invited speakers, to highlight emerging trends and issues and identify next steps.