Prof. Yang Wang teaching in the Syracuse University iSchool.

Inclusive Privacy and Security with Prof. Yang Wang

Editor’s note: Professor Yang Wang brought his expertise to introduce inclusive privacy and security to the Syracuse University iSchool’s webinar series this spring. iSchool student and InfoSpace blogger Allison Leung asked Prof. Wang a few questions for those who are new to the topic of inclusive privacy.

What do all professionals need to know about inclusive privacy and security?

Privacy and security mechanisms are usually designed with the generic population in mind. As such, they often fall short of supporting many under-studied or marginalized subpopulations, such as people with disabilities, older adults, and children.

For instance, existing privacy mechanisms often rely on visual displays, continuous control input (e.g., mouse), cognitively-challenging text, and other elements that can pose substantial accessibility barriers for people with disabilities. Professionals should be mindful of the people they serve and whether the privacy and security measures can indeed benefit or disadvantage their users.

As an expert in your field, what do you have to say to those just getting into security issues?

Security is not a purely technical subject. It is inherently a socio-technical matter. There are usually humans in the loop when it comes to security protection. Professionals should pay attention to the human aspect of security.

How can emerging technologies help or hinder social computing?

On one hand, emerging technologies such as AR (augmented reality) or VR (virtual reality) devices and Bluetooth beacons introduce exciting opportunities for enabling new forms of social interactions. On the other hand, they also come with new or heightened privacy and security risks.

What organizations or communities are leading the conversation on privacy and security issues? Any we should be aware of?

Besides government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are many non-profit organizations that advocate/fight for our privacy and security such as American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

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Allison Leung

Allison Leung

Allison Leung is a sophomore majoring in Information Management and Technology with a minor in Animation and Visual Effects. She is currently on e-board for iSchool’s Women in Technology organization working in PR & Social Media. Her learning interests include startups, cloud computing, and UI/UX design. Besides technology, she also enjoys painting, concerts ,and food journalism. Fun fact: she has written an article for Food Network’s Snapchat Discover on her favorite food, pizza.

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