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Ed Felten Advocates Making Privacy Work for Everyone in Celebration of Data Privacy Day

posted by Daniel Tkacik
February 5, 2016

Last week, Deputy U.S. Chief Technologist Ed Felten met with CyLab researchers and presented his keynote talk to a crowded Rangos Hall in Carnegie Mellon University’s Cohon University Center in celebration of CMU Privacy Day 2016. The celebration also consisted of a panel discussion, privacy clinic and a privacy research poster privacy day logo

Data Privacy Day is an international effort occurring each year to empower and educate people to protect their privacy, control their digital footprint and make the protection of their digital data and privacy a great priority in their lives.

“There’s a lot of room for hope that we, as a nation and as a technical community, will be able to do a lot better on privacy,” Felten said during his keynote talk. “We’ll be able to do a lot better at fitting together the large benefits that come from responsible use of data, fully accounting for the risks that you deal with when you deal with big data."

In his 45-minute keynote, titled, “Making Privacy Work for Everybody,” Felten spoke a lot about the importance of making data privacy more usable across diverse populations.

“When I say, ‘How to make privacy work for everybody,’ I mean not just people who have money and who have economic and social power,” Felten said. “How do we make privacy more available and more accessible to people who are not experts? It shouldn’t require a law degree or an advanced degree in computer science to know what’s going on and where your data goes when you browse the web. But nowadays that can sometimes be the case.”

Following his keynote, Felten joined a panel of CyLab faculty to discuss the latest work in privacy. The panel included information technology and public policy professor Alessandro Acquisti, computer science professor Norman Sadeh, computer science and engineering and public policy professor Lorrie Cranor, and computer science and electrical and computer engineering professor Anupam Datta. Ramayya Krishanan, Dean of the Heinz School of Management and Public Policy, moderated the discussion.

Prior to his keynote talk, Felten met with CyLab students enrolled in CMU’s Privacy Engineering program during a privacy clinic, where members of the general public came and learned how to better protect their online data privacy. The clinic covered topics including phishing, private browsing, privacy settings on social media and more.

Data Privacy Day concluded with an afternoon research poster fair and reception. CyLab students and faculty conducting privacy research presented eighteen different research projects.

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