Claudia Diaz is a Professor of Privacy Technologies at KU Leuven. One of her research interests is the mathematical modeling of privacy properties (such as anonymity, unlinkability, unobservability, or deniability). Her work is aimed at providing a more precise understanding of what is meant by “privacy” in digital systems, exploring the relationship between technical privacy properties and non-technical conceptions of privacy, and defining metrics that are useful to assess the level of privacy protection provided by a system’s design. Her proposal of information-theoretic anonymity metrics has been widely adopted to measure anonymity in systems that leak probabilistic information. Claudia also works on the design and analysis of privacy enhancing technologies. A large part of her work has focused on traffic analysis and anonymous communication systems, whose goal is to preserve the confidentiality of communication relationships, i.e., to conceal who talks to whom. This is an important problem because communications and their associated traffic data can be used to infer lots of sensitive information; and it is also a difficult one, since it is much easier to intercept and analyse traffic data than to design secure and practical systems which are hardened against traffic analysis attacks. Claudia is also interested in a range of other applications, including social networks, vehicular networks, location-based services, and private browsing.
PRIVACY RESEARCH PARADIGMS
In the last decades, much effort has been devoted to research on privacy across different subfields in computer science (e.g., security engineering, data mining, HCI), resulting in a broad range of solutions for addressing the “privacy problem”. Privacy is a multifaceted and complex concept that can be tackled from very different perspectives. Existing solutions rely on different definitions of privacy as well as on a variety of (often implicit) social and technical assumptions. As a result, it is hard for non-experts to understand the privacy research landscape and to put the available technologies into context. In this talk, we identify three dominant privacy research paradigms, which will be used to provide a structured overview of privacy technologies. For each of the paradigms we will review its historical background, distinguishing characteristics, and the embedded conceptions of privacy. The content of this talk is based on on-going joint work with Seda Gürses and Nicola Zannone.