IFS-TC: Building A Community on Information Forensics and Security

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10 years of news and resources for members of the IEEE Signal Processing Society

IFS-TC: Building A Community on Information Forensics and Security

Contributed by Mauro Barni (IFS TC Chair)Mauro Barni

The call for security is increasingly pervading our society, touching many diverse and fundamental facets of our lives. A brief list of the security issues that crowd the agenda of researchers and engineers includes: ensuring the safety of our cities and homelands, the protection of our right to privacy, the protection of intellectual property rights, the authentication of digital media, the identification of people through uniquely identifiable biometric traits, the protection of the data we routinely and massively exchange through the internet and mobile communication networks.

Signal processing technology plays a fundamental role in security-oriented applications. You only need to think about the interest raised in the last years by digital watermarking, steganography, biometrics, multimedia forensics, network security, video surveillance, to get an idea of how important security issues are becoming for the signal processing (SP) community.  Therefore it is no surprise that a few years ago the Signal Processing Society decided to establish a new Technical Committee devoted to security, namely the Information Forensics and Security Technical Committee (IFS-TC). Since then the IFS-TC has contributed to promoting the role of signal processing for security-oriented applications. Among the initiatives undertaken in these years, I’d like to mention some:  the review of papers submitted to SPS conferences and workshops, a continuous interaction with the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, the creation of the IEEE Workshop on Information Forensics and Security (WIFS), the identification of papers and personalities in the security area for some of the most prestigious awards of the SP Society. Yet, the very aim of the IFS-TC is still to be reached: that is the creation of a community of researchers, engineers and practitioners with a signal processing background who have in common an interest in security applications and work together to contribute to the advancement of the science and technology of information forensics and security for our society to benefit from.

In this context, I would like to draw the attention of the readers towards two initiatives that are going to play a key role toward the establishment of an IFS community inside the SP Society: the creation of the affiliate membership position in the Technical Committees of the SP Society and the yearly organization of the WIFS workshop.

Regarding affiliate membership, the SP Society has recently revised its bylaws and policies and procedures. As a result, Technical Committees are now open to Affiliate Members, which are non-elected, non-voting members of the Technical Committees.  I see the opening of the IFS-TC to affiliate members as a unique opportunity to build the IFS community I am dreaming of: through affiliate membership the TC has the possibility to reach a wider audience including students, young researchers, practitioners, whose background may also exceed the borders of the SP Society. Finally, it may reach the critical size needed to actually make a difference and contribute to shape the future of the IFS field within and outside the SP Society. It will also be possible to let the voice of the SP community to be heard beyond the borders of the SP Society, in the wider information security arena, together with other disciplines like cryptography, network security, computer security, computer forensics. For this reason I invite all the readers that are interested in the activity of the IFS-TC to visit the web site and consider the possibility of signing up for IFS-TC affiliate membership.

The second initiative that I am sure will play a pivotal role in building the IFS community is the yearly organization of the WIFS workshop. Any community building process, in fact, goes necessarily through person-to-person relationships whose establishment, in turns, requires that people meet on a regular basis. This is going to be one of the main goals of the WIFS workshop: letting people working in security technology meet together to exchange their views and experience. It will also be a unique opportunity to go beyond the signal processing borders and meet people with different backgrounds.

I am sure that through the above initiatives and through the efforts of all of us, the IFS community will become a reality. For the time being, I look forward to working with those of you that will apply for IFS affiliate membership and to meeting you in person at the next WIFS workshop that will be held in Seattle from 12 to 15 December 2010.

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