April 12, 2018

Distinguished faculty participate in Facebook privacy summit

By: Steve Weis

Protecting the privacy of people’s information is one of the most important things we do at Facebook. We actively pursue this challenge — drawing from a diversity of ideas and expertise from many backgrounds, both inside and outside of Facebook.

This week, we hosted a Privacy Faculty Summit for academic researchers and their students with backgrounds ranging from cryptography to differential privacy to policy. The summit was an excellent venue to discuss Facebook’s opportunities to improve privacy with a diverse group of privacy researchers.

Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos kicked off the summit.

Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos kicked off the summit with a keynote talk discussing the natural tensions of privacy versus preventing abuse, and how the academic community can help define the right balances. The summit also featured several talks about Facebook researchers’ work on privacy-preserving technologies, privacy usability, and open privacy challenges.

For example, Facebook engineer Rizmari Versfeld presented research about privacy usability in emerging markets. Software engineer Francesco Logozzo presented his work on finding privacy bugs at scale with static analysis and Jon Millican, a software engineer, presented new techniques for end-to-end encrypted messaging. Chaya Nayak, a Public Policy Research Manager talked about Facebook’s use of data for disaster response.

Facebook also invited 2017 Facebook Fellow Elissa Redmiles to discuss user perceptions of discrimination in targeted advertising and 2017 Facebook Emerging Scholar Moses Namara, to talk about his research on user attitudes toward privacy and usability.

“It was instructive learning more about the challenges that Facebook is facing in the areas of privacy and security,” says Dan Boneh, Professor of Computer Science at the Applied Cryptography group at Stanford. “We learned about Facebook’s latest research and I left the summit with new research questions that my group can work on, and potential new research collaborations with Facebook.”

We look forward to continued collaboration with the academic community, whether through PhD student internships, faculty awards, research awards, visiting researchers or post-docs, or research collaborations.

Please visit our Security and Privacy research page for our recent publications and news of opportunities such as Secure the Internet Grants.

Here is a selection of recent security and privacy research by Facebook employees and scholars: