INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH (ITR): SENSITIVE INFORMATION IN A WIRED WORLD

Project Details

Description

Increasing use of computers and networks in business, government,recreation, and almost all aspects of daily life has led to aproliferation of sensitive data (i.e., data that, if used improperly,can harm data subjects or other relevant parties), and concern aboutthe ownership, control, privacy, and accuracy of these data has becomea top priority. Despite significant technical accomplishments in relevant research fields (e.g., cryptology and security, databasesystems, and data mining), there is no comprehensive, end-to-endtechnological infrastructure for handling sensitive data over the entire course of their lifetime, nor is there even widespread socialagreement about the rights and responsibilities of major stakeholdersin our data-intensive, networked world.This project is a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary, multi-modalproject that looks comprehensively at sensitive data in a networkedworld. There are two main academic centers of activity (Yale andStanford), three smaller-scale academic participants (StevensInstitute of Technology, NYU, and the University of New Mexico), andsubstantial participation by non-academic partners, includingtechnology companies, (IBM, HP, and Microsoft), representatives ofuser communities (Citigroup, NIH, Yale Center for Medical Informatics,the Census Bureau, and the Secret Service), and DC-based policyorganizations (The Center for Democracy and Technology and TheElectronic Privacy Information Center).A major technical theme of the project is privacy-preserving datamining, and, more generally, techniques for meeting the potentiallyconflicting goals of respecting individual rights and allowing lawenforcement and other legitimate organizations to collect and minemassive data sets. Other technical agenda items include (1)accessibility and reliability of distributed data (2) operating onencrypted databases, (3) remote control of data, (4) repelling hostiledata, and (5) auditability of data-management systems. Because thesetechnical goals are affected by lack of agreement about the meaningsof basic terms, most notably 'privacy,' a major goal of the project isthe development of a conceptual framework for the study of rights,responsibilities, and public policies focused on sensitive-datahandling. This part of the project incorporates the notion of'contextual integrity,' which considers both the context and thecontent of data sets in assessing sensitivity.Projected outcomes of the project include a next generation oftechnology for handling sensitive information that is qualitativelybetter than the current generation's and an effective conceptualframework for policy making and philosophical inquiry into the rightsand responsibilities of data subjects, data owners, and data users.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/1/089/30/09

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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