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CITP Lunch Seminar: Christo Wilson – Peeking Beneath the Hood of Ride Sharing Services

Monday, April 13, 2020
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

In just a few years, ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft have fundamentally altered the transportation landscape in cities across the globe. On one hand, these services are beloved by customers for their reasonable prices and rapid service. On the other hand, these services are dogged by concerns about the fairness of their algorithms (among other things), such as whether dynamic pricing gouges customers, or whether their drivers equitably serve all areas of cities.

In this talk, the results of two audit studies of ride sharing services will be presented. The discussion will include how data was obtained (since it is not typically available), what was able to be inferred about the algorithms of ride sharing services, and what the data shows about their operation relative to traditional taxis. The practical consequences of this work, including bugs, corporate SEO campaigns, and partnerships with transportation regulators will also be discussed.


Christo Wilson is an associate professor in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences at Northeastern University. He is a founding member of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute at Northeastern, and serves as director of the BS in Cybersecurity program. Christo’s research focuses on online security and privacy, with a specific interest in algorithmic auditing and fairness. Algorithmic auditing is an emerging, interdisciplinary area that uses experimental techniques to measure the black-box algorithmic systems that increasingly pervade daily life. His work is supported by an NSF CAREER award, a Sloan Fellowship, the Mozilla Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the Data Transparency Lab, the European Commission, Google, and Verisign Labs.

CITP Lunch Seminars are open to Princeton faculty, staff, and students only. Members of the public who would like to attend a particular talk should contact Jean Butcher at .

In an effort to support sustainability at our events, attendees are encouraged to bring reusable items for their personal use.

To request accommodations for a disability, please contact Jean Butcher, , 609-258-9658 at least one week prior to the event.