CFEM - Center for Research in the Foundations of Electronic Markets

Center for Research in the Foundation of Electronic Markets (CFEM) was established as a collaboration between, amongst others, computer scientists and economists at Aarhus University and economists at CBS.


Data security is a hot topic in the increasingly digital world
in which we live. As a result, it was a breakthrough when
computer scientists at the University of Aarhus began acquiring
the ability to analyze encrypted data. Prior to this, data
had to be decrypted before analysis was possible. This leap
forward opens up a completely new set of opportunities,
which are being identified in collaboration with economists.

Professor Peter Bogetoft, Department of Economics, CBS,
explains that, “At CFEM, computer scientists and economists
are working together in an entirely new and very interesting
“With the ability to analyze encrypted data,” he continues, “it
is possible to identify entirely new markets. This is something
we economists can help the computer scientists with.
At the same time, the computer scientists get an opportunity
to develop entirely new algorithms that ensure anonymity
and data security while also being used for very specific purposes.”
“When you’re in the business world,” Bogetoft adds, “you’re
very careful about sharing data – for competitive reasons.
You don’t want your competitors to gain access to your data
– yet the dilemma is that you really want to gain access to
For instance, in the banking sector, it can make sense for two
or more competitors to share vital, but encrypted, data on
consumer groups they wish to gain greater insight into. The
more data that is available, and the more companies that supply
data, the better the decisions that can be made. Another
example is from the electricity market, where consumers are
no longer bound to one supplier but instead can choose freely
between multiple suppliers. The previous companies of consumers,
however, are reluctant to share information on individual
consumers or their needs with the new supplier. The
ability to work with encrypted data, however, provides new
opportunities for sharing data among competing companies.
Bogetoft clarifies that economists contribute by developing
models for calculating expected profits from sharing and
analyzing encrypted data in different sectors, e.g., the banking
sector. “How can we ensure that this becomes a winning
situation for all parties involved? This is how economists can
contribute. The computer scientists come up with concrete
solutions, but they must be involved from day one and onwards
with the companies and sectors interested in our ability
to work with encrypted data.”


The page was last edited by: Department of Economics // 12/04/2017