CyLab Distinguished Seminar

  • Robert Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center
  • Panther Hollow Conference Room 4101

Building for Trust: Because we don’t all have to learn privacy lessons the hard way

In the past years, we have seen a wide range of products fail because they were not built with sufficient respect for users' wishes, their privacy, or their security. Sometimes this happened because a system did not work as designed, but very often these failures happened when the system did work as designed. For companies, this has meant everything from minor PR embarrassments to complete product shutdowns and regulatory and legal consequences; for the people affected, the consequences were typically far more severe.

We have developed a practical, repeatable framework for how to design and review products and systems in order to "build for trust", a framework developed based on over a decade of real-world privacy engineering. This pattern has places in it where deep research is required to figure out the best concrete questions – places where outside research and input is not merely useful, it is critical. Likewise, regulators face increasing pressure to ensure that companies are doing the right thing. By understanding how practitioners work, we can understand how both research and regulation can most effectively collaborate in the process to build safer systems.

Lea Kissner is the Chief Privacy Officer of Humu. She works to build respect for users into everything that Humu does, such as product design, privacy-enhancing infrastructure, application security, and novel research into both theoretical and practical aspects of privacy. She was previously the Global Lead of Privacy Technology at Google, working for over a decade on projects including logs anonymization, infrastructure security, privacy infrastructure, and privacy engineering. She earned a PhD in computer science (with a focus on cryptography) at Carnegie Mellon University and a BS in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley.