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Seminar:  Beyond Silk Road: Developments in Online Anonymous Marketplaces

Date:April 13, 2015 
Talk Title:Beyond Silk Road: Developments in Online Anonymous Marketplaces
Speaker:Nicolas Christin
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
Panther Hollow Room, CIC Building, Pittsburgh


Founded in 2011, Silk Road was the first online anonymous marketplace, in which buyers and sellers could transact with anonymity guarantees far superior to those available in online or offline alternatives. Business on Silk Road, primarily involving narcotics trafficking, was brisk and before long competitors appeared. After Silk Road was taken down by law enforcement, a dynamic ecosystem of online anonymous marketplaces emerged. Building up on efforts I previously presented in the CyLab seminar series, I will describe preleminary insights regarding this ecosystem, highlighting the scientific and---to a lesser extent---ethical challenges in collecting such data at scale.

Speaker Bio

Nicolas Christin is an Assistant Research Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has also affiliations with CyLab, the computer and information security research center, the Information Networking Institute and the department of Engineering and Public Policy.  He holds a Diplôme d'Ingénieur from École Centrale Lille, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. He was a researcher in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, prior to joining Carnegie Mellon in 2005. His research interests are in computer and information systems networks; most of his work is at the boundary of systems and policy research, with a slant toward security aspects. He has most recently focused on online crime, security economics, and psychological aspects of computer security. His group's research won several awards including Honorable Mention at ACM CHI 2011, and Best Student Paper Award at USENIX Security 2014. He equally enjoys field measurements and mathematical modeling.