Project Sponsors
European Union under the 7th Framework Programme

Project Overview

The PRISMS project analyses the traditional trade-off model between privacy and security and works towards a more evidence-based perspective for reconciling privacy and security, trust and concern. It has examined how technologies aimed at enhancing security are subjecting citizens to an increasing amount of surveillance and, in many cases, causing infringements of privacy and fundamental rights. PRISMS conducted both a multi-disciplinary inquiry into the concepts of privacy and security and their relationships and an EU-wide survey to determine whether people evaluate the introduction of security technologies in terms of a trade-off. As a result, PRISMS will determine the factors that affect the public assessment of the security and privacy implications of a given security technology. The project is using these results to devise a decision support system (DSS) providing users (those who deploy and operate security systems) insight into the pros and cons, constraints and limits of specific security investments compared to alternatives taking into account a wider society context.

Objectives and Goals

The  primary objective of  PRISMS is to provide users with a decision support  system (DSS)  that gives them an insight into the  pros  and  cons  of  specific  security investments compared to a set of alternatives, taking into account a wider societal context.

To achieve this objective, PRISMS has developed a proper conceptual frame that positions security and privacy, trust and concern, in relation to each other, and that is empirically validated by the Europe wide survey.

The PRISMS project will help ensure the security of citizens while respecting fundamental rights,  including  the  protection  of  privacy  and  personal  data,  through  its  analysis  of technologies used for security and privacy, the policy assessment of security and privacy, its criminological  and  legal  analysis,  its  public  discourse  analysis  as  reflected  in  the  media  and analysis  of  existing  public  opinion  surveys.

Expected impact

PRISMS will deliver informed  analysis as well as a practical methodology  for considering  alternative  security  investments  (not  simply  investments  in  alternative technologies,  but  also  organisational  and  policy  alternatives),  which  will  be  useful  for  investors and other  stakeholders concerned about reconciling security and privacy, trust  and  concern.  The decision support system developed in PRISMS will provide guidelines for a priori  reasoning  about  possible  conflicts  arising  from  security decisions and offer possible solutions to those conflicts.


Funding scheme: FP7-SEC-2011-1 (Collaborative Project)
Start date: 1 February 2012
End date: 31 July 2015
Coordinator: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V
Grant agreement number: 285399
EU contribution: EUR 2,985,745