Seda Gürses – “Privacy is don’t ask, confidentiality is don’t tell”:
An empirical study of privacy research in CS

CITP Luncheon Series

Date: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Location: 306 Sherrerd Hall
Streaming Live: https://www.youtube.com/user/citpprinceton
Food and discussion begins at 12:30 pm. Everyone invited.

Since the end of the 60s, computer scientists have engaged in research on privacy and information systems. Over the years, this research has led to a whole palette of “privacy solutions.” These solutions originate from diverse sub-fields of computer science, e.g., security engineering, databases, software engineering, HCI, and artificial intelligence. From a bird’s eye view, all of these researchers are studying privacy. However, a closer look reveals that each community of researchers relies on different, sometimes even conflicting, definitions of privacy, and on a variety of social and technical assumptions. These researchers do have a tradition of assessing the (implicit) definitions and assumptions that underlie the studies in their respective sub-disciplines. However, a systematic evaluation of privacy research practice across the different computer science communities is so far absent. I hope to contribute to closing this research gap by presenting the preliminary results of an empirical study of privacy research in computer science.


Seda Gürses is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Media, Culture and Communications Department and at the Information Law Institute at New York University working on privacy, security, surveillance studies and requirements engineering. Recently, she has been empirically studying and critically reflecting on the assumptions and methods that inform prominent strands of privacy research within computer science. Previously Seda was a post-doctoral researcher at COSIC (Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography) in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the KU Leuven, Belgium working together with Claudia Diaz, Bart Preneel and Bettina Berendt and was in charge of an interdisciplinary project on Security and Privacy in Online Social Networks (SPION http://www.spion.me). Seda received her PhD at the Department of Computer Science of the KU Leuven and her Master’s degree in Informatics at the Humboldt University, Berlin in Germany.