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Seminar:  Can Social Networking and Privacy be Reconciled?

Date:March 14, 2011 
Talk Title:Can Social Networking and Privacy be Reconciled?
Speaker:Norman Sadeh
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
CIC Building, Pittsburgh


Social networking and privacy have often been depicted as irreconcilable. People holding this view have declared that the success of sites such as Facebook marks the end of online privacy: "people have voted with their feet and shown they didn’t care".  In this presentation, we will examine data collected through a series of pilots designed to better understand people’s privacy preferences in the context of mobile social networking, with a particular focus on location sharing. Our results strongly suggest that, not only do people care about their privacy, but that mobile social networking applications that have failed to give users adequate privacy settings have miserably failed. As it turns out, well-designed privacy settings can make social networking applications such as location sharing more valuable to users, enabling them to selectively share information with a wider range of "friends" and across a broader range of scenarios. The challenge is that beyond mundane "check in" scenarios such as those supported by Foursquare, location sharing gives rise to fairly diverse and complex privacy preferences. Capturing these preferences seems to be beyond the grasp of current user interface technologies. An important part of this talk will be devoted to ongoing research on user-oriented machine learning techniques intended to reduce user-burden and help users converge towards privacy policies they feel more comfortable with.

Speaker Bio

Norman Sadeh

Norman Sadeh is a Professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and a faculty member of CyLab. His current research interests include Web Security, Privacy and Commerce.

Norman is co-Director of the School of Computer Science&'s PhD Program in Computation, Organizations and Society and Director of the School's Mobile Commerce Lab. He has been on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon since 1991 and is also well-known for his work in scheduling, constraint satisfaction and constrained optimization, supply chain management and the Semantic Web. In the late nineties, he served as Chief Scientist of the European Union's $800M e-Work and e-Commerce program, which at the time included all pan-European research in cyber security and online privacy. He has authored around 180 scientific publications, including several books and is co-founder of Wombat Security Technologies and Zipano Technologies. Among other awards and honors, Norman was co-recipient of IBM’s 2005 Best Academic Privacy Faculty award.

Norman received his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University, an MSc, also in computer science, from the University of Southern California, and a BS/MSc in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics from Brussels Free University.