MWT Controversy 5 – Privacy

Alessandro Acquisti is an Associate Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. His work investigates the economic and social impact of IT, and in particular the economics and behavioral economics of privacy and information security, as well as privacy in online social networks.

Alessandro has received national and international awards, including the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies and the IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award. His findings have been featured in media outlets such as NPR, NBC,, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Scientist, CNN, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV. TED Bio

“The technologist in me loves the amazing things the Internet is allowing us to do… The individual who cares about freedom is concerned about the technology being hijacked, from a technology of freedom into a technology of surveillance.” -Alessandro Acquisti

What is Big Data?

“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.” – IBM on Big Data

Big data critiques (via Wikipedia)

Thoughts & Questions
Should we be worried, or is the loss of privacy inevitable?
Is privacy predominantly a ‘Western’ concept?
Is government surveillance okay – for the greater good of all?
Should internet privacy be considered a ‘right’?
Are we overly confident about our ability to decide what is “safe”?

More about Alessandro Acquisti
Full bio at Carnegie Melon
Research: Alessandro Acquisti’s writing
NY Times Article

Related TED Talks
Edward Snowden: Here’s how we take back the Internet
Mikko Hypponen: Three types of online attack
Christopher Soghoian: Government surveillance — this is just the beginning
Lorrie Faith Cranor: What’s wrong with your pa$$w0rd?
Keren Elazari: Hackers – the Internet’s immune system
Avi Rubin: All your devices can be hacked

5 Comments on “MWT Controversy 5 – Privacy

  1. We are on the do not call lists. We get calls from those trying to sell to bars. Some savant idiot or computer thought we were a bar, and several savant idiots and or computers passed that along. That group of websites do not have user friendly feedback protocols, to get it corrected. So, we get passes to the circus when it comes to town, to hand out, and other such material to recycle. Big data can be an idiot, and therefore less dangerous.

    My wife, Darlene, learned in day care to not tell the kids to not run. She told them to have happy slow feet. You see, their unconscious hears the last word as positive, and does not compute the NO. They used to hear run, and did so. Then, they heard happy slow feet, and did so.

    IF they were told to “do no evil”, they would wonder what evil they could do. But, it they were told to only do good, they would try to only do GOOD. It is time for Google to change their motto to “Only Do Good.”

  2. Our right to privacy comes from our Constitution’s Bill of Rights. “Amendment IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Recently the most high judges that have their own smart phones ,agreed that the smart phones are our “papers”. But, some judges still do not think the right to privacy is in our Constitution in this simple language, because it would make women “secure in their persons” and have the right to choose what is done to their persons.

  3. Additional links and information on internet privacy, access, and control.
    There’s A LOT of info here, but privacy is important…

    What is Net Neutrality?
    HBO comedian John Oliver’s explanation. (Contains explicit language.)

    On giving up US internet control:
    The Washington Post
    The New York Times

    TOR Browser:
    Overview of TOR, why it was created, and how it works
    Who uses TOR and for what?
    TOR download instructions
    The “demonization” of TOR: The Dark Web, Silk Road & Dread Pirate Roberts

    Not quite TOR, but easier to use:
    Google Chrome’s ‘incognito’ mode
    Safari’s ‘private’ browsing
    Note: These do not make you anonymous on the web, but they do help.

  4. Hi again all – I went and set up a user account for the new online registration system solely so I could see if there were any terms and conditions and then… forgot to even look to see if there were any terms and conditions.

    Online registration begins on Aug 20 at 12:01 AM and not all fall courses are listed in the system yet – but you CAN go ahead and set up your account here:
    Create a Student Profile.

    If anyone does, please let us know if there were terms and conditions that state what they will/won’t do with your information.

    Thank you! -Tera