Sunday, March 4, 2007

Privacy and Confidentiality

Stephen Fienberg gave a nice talk with a statistical perspective on data privacy at the kickoff meeting of DyDAn. He introduced the need for privacy awareness in data handling, and some of the hazards if it is ignored (slides are here). He spoke in detail about giving bounds on cells of a contingency table given certain marginals; this was based on his PNAS paper. He also publicized a upcoming WWW 2007 paper by Backstrom, Dwork and Kleinberg on theoretical analysis of privacy in social networks or lack thereof. Both these papers raise a lot of fascinating questions, and lead to a lot of scope for further study, in statistics and theoretical computer science.