Invited Talks Given by Lab Members Internationally

Privacy for Those Who Can Afford It

Talk by Latanya Sweeney


Guest Lecture in Graduate Course 17-899
Technology and Development for 4 Billion
Faculty: Dr Bernardine Dias and Dr Rahul Tongia
School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA. November 2004.

Slides from talk


Kofi Annan and the United Nations face global problems of paramount importance --including child malnutrition in the face of extreme poverty and hunger, populations lacking primary school education, gender inequality concerns and the impoverishment of women, high child mortality rates, poor maternal health, increased prevalence of HIV and AIDS, and communities having limited access to water or electricity. Privacy seems a problem of luxury in comparison to these catastrophic issues. Yet, it is important for those who would save the world to try to find solutions in which privacy is not part of the price of being saved. This talk examines the extent to which privacy is a luxury or a necessity. The answer of course depends on the kind of privacy, the culture, and the nature of the trade-offs. Technology can change these dependencies curves in either direction -- i.e., technology can be privacy protecting or privacy invading. So care must be taken.

This talk examines the meaning of privacy, its evolution from various perspectives, and the impact of cultural differences on notions of privacy. Privacy technology and the role of data anonymization are introduced. If time permits, real-world examples of privacy technology solutions will be presented.

Note: This talk would have been given at a United Nations conference held in India in January 2004, but due to unexpected surgery, I was unable to make the trip.

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