On June 3, I will be attending this workshop on Data Surveillance and Privacy Protection hosted by Harvard University’s Center for Research on Computation and Society:
Although there has been significant public attention to the civil liberties issues of data surveillance over the past few years, there has been little discussion of the actual techniques that could be employed in any but the most restricted settings. Likewise, there has been little discussion of methods and technologies for conducting data surveillance while respecting privacy and preserving civil liberties.
Today’s newspapers and TV shows are preoccupied with NSA wiretaps and the accidental release of names and social security numbers. Meanwhile, a far more pervasive surveillance infrastructure is being created around us: the routine use of database information for law enforcement, counter-terrorism, and commercial markets.
The Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) is a new research center with a mission to develop a clear understanding of issues of technology and public policy where the actual technology makes a difference, and to pursue innovative computer science and technology research informed by that understanding.
Some of the issues that we would like to explore at the workshop include:
- Techniques for mining databases within and between organizations without exposing proprietary or privacy-sensitive information.
- Techniques that are planned for deployment (or are actually being used) to survey hospital admissions data for evidence of epidemics or bioterror attacks.
- Techniques that have been tried, or proposed, for finding terrorists or criminals through the examination of transactional information.
- Techniques that could be used to automatically detect phishing attacks or other kinds of financial fraud.
The workshop is free, but you must register.