New Models for Privacy Protection

Principal Investigator: Alex “Sandy” Pentland
Collaborator: Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye

Professor Pentland’s research group has pioneered the use of large-scale behavior datasets in research and for commercial purposes. This research has significant implications for ongoing debates, within the United States and the European Union, on how to allow innovation while also protecting individual privacy. The IPL is assisting Professor Pentland to translate and disseminate his research to relevant policy communities in the U.S. and Europe.

IPL Support: The IPL staff provided contacts to Lorrie Cranor, Chief Technologist, FTC as well as Prof Joseph A. Cannataci, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, U.N. Human rights council. The IPL also provided feedback on the framing of arguments throughout this project and on the talk that was delivered in Brussels.

Impact: The Belgian privacy minister (former MEP) has shown great interest in the approach developed by the PI. The work was mentioned in a Belgium news article5 on telco data. The EDPS has also continued to show interest in the work. The PI also has noticed important changes in the public discourse on the risk of re-identification of anonymized data.