News & Events

UK-SPS Seminar 11th August - Using Data while Protecting Privacy

Title: Using Data while Protecting Privacy in the Digital Era
Speaker: Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye (Imperial College London)

Abstract: We live in a time when information about most of our movements and actions is collected and stored in real time. The availability of large-scale behavioral data dramatically increases our capacity to understand and potentially affect the behavior of individuals and collectives.
The use of this data, however, raises legitimate privacy concerns. Anonymization is meant to address these concerns: allowing data to be fully used while preserving individuals’ privacy. In this talk, I will first discuss how traditional data protection mechanisms fail to protect people’s privacy in the age of big data. More specifically, I will show how the mere absence of obvious identifiers such as name or phone number or the addition of noise are not enough to prevent re-identification. Second, I will describe what I see as a necessary evolution of the notion of data anonymization towards an anonymous use of data. I will then conclude by discussing some of the modern privacy engineering techniques currently developed to allow large-scale behavioral data to be used while giving individual strong privacy guarantees.

Bio:Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye is an Associate Professor at Imperial College London. He currently is a Special Adviser on AI and Data Protection to EC Justice Commissioner Reynders and a Parliament-appointed expert to the Belgian Data Protection Agency (APD-GBA). In 2018-2019, he was a Special Adviser to EC Competition Commissioner Vestager co-authoring the Competition Policy for the Digital Era report. His research has been published in Science and Nature Communications and has enjoyed wide media coverage (BBC, CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, etc.). His work on the shortcomings of anonymization has appeared in reports of the World Economic Forum, FTC, European Commission, and the OECD. Yves-Alexandre worked for the Boston Consulting Group and acted as an expert for both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations. He received his PhD from MIT in 2015 and obtained, over a period of 6 years, an M.Sc. from UCLouvain in Applied Mathematics, an M.Sc. (Centralien) from École Centrale Paris, an M.Sc. from KULeuven in Mathematical Engineering as well as his B.Sc. in engineering from UCLouvain.
Please feel free to forward to others who might be interested. 
UK-SPS is an inter-university seminar series on cyber security and privacy. Seminar details are also advertised on our websitecalendar and Twitter, and recordings will be available on our YouTube channel afterwards. 

Last modified: Tue, 17 Aug 2021 15:28:31 BST