Skip to main content

Privacy in the Age of AI and the Internet of Things

Norman Sadeh

Professor, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Norman Sadeh

Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are contributing to the collection and use of our data across ever more diverse scenarios. While new regulations such as the EU’s GDPR or California’s CCPA require more detailed data practice disclosures and require giving users greater control over their data, their practical impact when it comes to empowering people to regain control over their data remains limited. This is in great part because these regulations struggle to address fundamental usability challenges and continue to rely on highly unrealistic expectations about what people can and will do. Privacy policies, which no one ever reads, have become even longer; privacy choices have become more numerous and complex; and dark patterns aimed at tricking people to make decisions that are not in their best interest abound. In this presentation, I will discuss work conducted at Carnegie Mellon University to overcome these challenges, and how this research has been progressively finding its way into different practical solutions. The presentation will in particular draw on research conducted in the context of the Usable Privacy Policy Project and the Privacy Assistant Project. While AI is giving rise to new privacy challenges, this presentation aims to illustrate how AI can also help address privacy challenges.

Bio: Norman Sadeh is a Professor in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He co-founded and co-directs CMU’s Privacy Engineering Program, and also co-founded and for ten years co-directed CMU’s Ph.D. Program in Societal Computing.

Norman served as lead principal investigator on two of the largest domestic research projects in privacy, the Usable Privacy Policy Project and the Personalized Privacy Assistant Project. He was also founding CEO and, until its acquisition by Proofpoint, chairman and chief scientist of Wombat Security Technologies, a company that defined the multi-billion dollar user-oriented cybersecurity market. Technologies Norman developed with colleagues at CMU and Wombat are used to protect tens of millions of users around the world against cybersecurity attacks such as phishing. Dr. Sadeh’s privacy research has been credited with influencing the development of privacy-enhancing solutions at companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook, and results of his research have informed activities at regulatory agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the California Office of the Attorney General. In the late nineties Norman also served as Chief Scientist of the EUR 550 million European Union’s e-Commerce initiative, which included all pan-European research in cybersecurity and privacy as well as contributions to several major European public policy initiatives.