Center Events

Warren Center Distinguished Lecture: Alessandro Acquisti

April 9, 2015 | Wu & Chen Auditorium, 101 Levine Hall

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

3:00 pm in Wu & Chen Auditorium, 101 Levine Hall

Title: On the Roots of Privacy Concerns

Abstract: 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)

Bio: Alessandro Acquisti is a Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the PwC William W. Cooper Professor of Risk and Regulatory Innovation, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (inaugural class). He is the director of the Peex (Privacy Economics Experiments) lab at CMU and the co-director of CMU CBDR (Center for Behavioral and Decision Research). Professor Acquisti 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 his manuscripts were selected by the Future of Privacy Forum in their best “Privacy Papers for Policy Makers” competition.