NITRD National Research Strategy on Privacy


October 2014


In just the past decade, we have seen the invention and adoption of wireless networking, smartphones, big data and predictive analytics, wearable computing, autonomous vehicles, sensor networks, social media sites, massive open online courses (MOOCs), and an array of many other wondrous technologies. We are now at a major inflection point, as computation, communication, and sensing are woven into our everyday lives. A very likely scenario is that, in the near future, our computing systems will know everything about us. A fundamental problem, however, is that these same technologies also introduce many new privacy risks, often at a rate faster than legal mechanisms and social norms can adapt. In this position paper, I sketch out several major research challenges for privacy. I present two different scenarios for privacy, probing the confluence of smart devices and inferencing, as well as issues in social media and big data. I also present some ongoing work my team is doing in investigating social influences on privacy, which I use as an example of how more social scientists can be brought on board to study issues of privacy

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