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Public Secrets

Interactive exhibition on privacy and cryptography

The protection of personal data is an increasingly hot theme and while a few steps have been taken in legislative matters, there are still many open problems. Innovative technologies based on mathematical algorithms are in our help: in particular cryptography, thanks to which a text is transformed into a set of signs and absolutely meaningless symbols (for those who do not know the right key to decrypt them). In this exhibition you will discover the history and mechanisms of cryptography, of steganography (the art of hiding messages) and of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies (like Bitcoin) based on cryptographic techniques. In short: privacy, protection of personal data, project Privacy Flag, spartan scytale, Caesar, Vigenere and Vernam ciphers, Alberti’s disk, Enigma machine, visual cryptography, Tor, Bitcoin, invisible ink and finally thematic games!

Facebook page                                                                    Photo album

Introductory video                                                                Guided tours video

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Anna Lanza (Department of Mathematics – University of Trento)


Cesco Reale (Archimède Solutions)


Anna Lanza (Department of Mathematics – University of Trento)

Cesco Reale (Archimède Solutions)

Daniel Forster (Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust – University of Luxembourg)

Lucio Scudiero, Camilla Bistolfi (Italian Institute for Privacy)

Curatorship of the privacy part and graphic design

Diana Chroneer, Mari Runardotter and Anna Näppä (Luleå University of Technology).


Luciano Franceschi (CEMEA Veneto)

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies

Franco Cimatti (Bitcoin Foundation Italy)


Iklos Association


Prof. Andrea Caranti (Department of Mathematics – University of Trento)

With the support of

Festival of Science (Genoa)

University of Trento

Privacy Flag

Special thanks to

Marcella Simeoni, Tommaso Rosi, Carla Mascia, Sophie Caflisch, Remo Bonfante,

Riccardo Aragona, Pierdante Lanzavecchia, Carlo Frittoli,


Bolognini L., Pelino E., Bistolfi C., Il Regolamento Privacy europeo. Giuffrè, 2016.

Modafferi F., Lezioni di diritto alla protezione dei dati personali, alla riservatezza e all’identità personale., 2015.

Soffientini M. a cura di, Privacy. Ipsoa, 2016.

Bernardi N., Ciccia Messina A., Privacy e Regolamento europeo. Ipsoa, 2016.

Emegian F., Perego M., Privacy & Audit. Ipsoa, 2015.

Bernardi N., Perego M., Polacchini M., Soffientini M., Privacy officer. Ipsoa, 2013.

Lanza A. Alcune proposte per una mostra interattiva di matematica. Master’s thesis, University of Trento, a.a. 2013-2014

Barbensi I. Crittografia: Un viaggio matematico nell’arte di nascondere scritture. Edizioni ETS, 2014.

Bill Casselman. Visible cryptography. Notices Amer. Math. Soc., 57(3):378–379, 2010.

P. D’Arco and A. De Santis. Crittografia classica, Accessed: 2015.

P. Meo, S. Ciardiello, and A. De Santis. Tools steganografici, 2001, CORSO-0001/Steganografia.htm. Accessed: 2015.

S. Singh. Codici & segreti. Rizzoli Milano, 1999.

Il cifrario di Vernam, http://matematica-old. Accessed: 2015.

C. E. Shannon. Communication theory of secrecy systems. Bell System Tech. J., 28:656–715, 1949.

F. Garzia. Handbook of Communications Security. WIT Press, 2013

Naor, Moni, and Adi Shamir. “Visual cryptography.” Workshop on the Theory and Application of of Cryptographic Techniques. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1994.