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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Bo Luo Receives NSF Funding for Privacy Research

Published on November 20th, 2014 by Michael Prittie

Professor Bo Luo has received support from NSF to conduct research on privacy protection in social networks to bridge the gap between user perception and privacy enforcement.  Online social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, have become extremely popular. They have significantly changed our behaviors for sharing information and socializing, especially among the younger generation. However, the extreme popularity of such online social networks has become a double-edged sword -- while promoting online socialization, these systems also raise privacy issues. To protect user privacy without compromising socialization functions, this project is using a new unifying framework that bridges the gap between the human-oriented and technology-centered perspectives. In particular, this project is developing methods to (1) detect the discrepancies between users' information sharing expectations and actual information disclosure; (2) design a user-centered yet computationally-efficient formal model of user privacy in social networks; and (3) develop a mechanism to effectively enforce privacy policies in the proposed model. The potential long-term social benefits are significant, since such awareness may gradually change people's privacy perceptions and affect their behavior in privacy-centric scenarios.  This research is being conducted in collaboration with Dr.  Dongwon Lee, an associate professor at Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology.