"Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data" (CRCS Lunch Seminar)

CRCS Lunch Seminar

Date: Monday, February 4, 2013
Speaker: Salil Vadhan, Harvard SEAS and CRCS
Title: Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data

Abstract: I will give an overview of a large, new multidisciplinary project at Harvard on “Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data.” The project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Research on Computation and Society, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and is funded as a Frontier grant in the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Program, building on seed funding from Google.

The goal of the project is to help enable the collection, analysis, and sharing of personal data for research in social science and other fields while providing privacy for individual subjects. Bringing together computer science, social science, statistics, and law, we seek to refine and develop definitions and measures of privacy and data utility, and design an array of technological, legal, and policy tools for social scientists to use when dealing with sensitive data. These tools will be tested and deployed at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science’s Dataverse Network, an open-source digital repository that offers the largest catalogue of social science datasets in the world. In addition to contributing to research infrastructure for social scientists around the world, the ideas developed in the project may benefit society more broadly as it grapples with data privacy issues in many other domains, including public health and electronic commerce.

Bio: Salil Vadhan is the Vicky Joseph Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics in the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. His research interests include computational complexity, cryptography, and data privacy.