Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Baccelli

Open and Secure IoT Ecosystem

Since September 2019, Emmanuel Baccelli has been Professor for "Open and Secure IoT Ecosystem" at Freie Universität Berlin, in partnership with Inria and the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF).

In his research, he is investigating how low-power protocols and deeply embedded open source software can improve the functionality and the security of the Internet of Things (IoT). "The trade-off between energy efficiency and security is a key technical challenge for IoT,” says Baccelli. His research not only focuses on technical aspects. “Issues also affect the privacy and the sovereignty of users, as well as transparency", he says. "We should use open specifications and open source as often as possible".

Today, IoT users typically have little control over their system and their data. As an example, Baccelli mentions the case of a very popular connected kitchen appliance, which hackers recently exposed. This IoT device was sold bundled with unmaintained, vulnerable software, and even embarked an unused, hidden microphone which was not mentioned by the manufacturer – making it a perfect target for cyberattacks.

"Change is necessary, as people are increasingly concerned about their data," emphasizes Baccelli. Privacy-by-Design is one of the key points he makes. "If we want people to trust IoT technologies, then we must develop appropriate software and network protocols. A general-purpose open source alternative must be available, which facilitates maintenance and modifications adding various pre-processing of data on-board, before it even leaves the device," he says.

Emmanuel Baccelli received his PhD in 2006 in Paris from the renowned École Polytechnique on "Routing and Mobility in Large Packet-Based Networks". In his thesis, Baccelli investigated the compatibility of classical Internet concepts with the inherent limitations of ad hoc wireless communication. In 2012, he completed his habilitation at Université Pierre et Marie Curie. Since 2007, Emmanuel Baccelli has joined Inria as scientific researcher, where he currently takes part in the project-team TRiBE (Inria is the French national research institute for digital sciences). Since 2013, Emmanuel Baccelli is also co-founder and coordinator of the open source community developing RIOT, an operating system for IoT devices based on microcontrollers.

He is looking forward to working with the other professors at ECDF. "My research is a building block that can be applied in practice in many other disciplines – for example in the medical or smart agriculture fields," says Baccelli. He is also interested in the exchange with humanities scholars, lawyers and designers on the topic of Open Source.