Center Events

Warren Center Distinguished Lecture: Alessandro Acquisti

April 9, 2015 | 3PM in Wu and Chen Auditorium, Levine Hall

On the Roots of Privacy Concerns

Alessandro Acquisti

Carnegie Mellon University

Human beings have evolved to detect and react to threats in their physical environment, and have developed perceptual systems to assess physical, sensorial stimuli for current, material risks. In cyberspace, those stimuli can be absent, subdued, or deliberately manipulated by antagonistic third parties. Security and privacy concerns that would normally be activated in the offline world, therefore, can remain muted, and defense behaviors can be hampered, online. In order to start understanding the interrelationships between online and offline threat detection and online decision making, we investigate the extent to which “visceral” stimuli in the physical world can impact security and privacy behavior in cyberspace. In this talk, I will present the design and results of a stream of controlled human subject experiments that explore the influence of sensorial stimuli (indicating the presence of other human beings in the proximal space of a subject) on subjects’ online disclosure of personal, and highly sensitive, behaviors.

Joint work with Laura Brandimarte (CMU) and Jeff Hancock (Cornell)

A reception will follow.

Professor Acquisiti researches, primarily, the economics of privacy and the behavioral economics of privacy as well as privacy in online social networks. He received the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, the IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award, and the Heinz College Teaching Excellence Award. Two of my manuscripts were selected by the Future of Privacy Forum in their best “Privacy Papers for Policy Makers” competition.