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Privacy from an Ethical Perspective

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Projects

A Game-Changing Gift from Peggy Koenig

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SaTC | Accountable Information Use: Privacy and Fairness in Decision-Making Systems

Increasingly, decisions and actions affecting people's lives are determined by automated systems processing personal data. Excitement about these systems has been accompanied by serious concerns about their opacity and the threats that they pose to privacy, fairness, and other values. Recognizing these concerns, the investigators seek to make real-world automated decision-making systems accountable for privacy and fairness by enabling them to detect and explain violations of these values. The technical work is informed by, and applied to, online advertising, healthcare, and criminal justice, in collaboration with and as advised by domain experts.

Addressing privacy and fairness in decision systems requires providing formal definitional frameworks and practical system designs. The investigators provide new notions of privacy and fairness that deal with both protected information itself and proxies for it, while handling context-dependent, normative definitions of violations. A fundamental tension they address pits the access given to auditors of a system against the system owners' intellectual property protections and the confidentiality of the personal data used by the system. The investigators decompose such auditing into stages, where the level of access granted to an auditor is increased when potential (but not explainable) violations of privacy or fairness are detected. Workshops and public releases of code and data amplify the investigators' interactions with policy makers and other stakeholders. Their partnerships with outreach organizations encourage diversity. Read more >

A Game-Changing Gift from Peggy Koenig

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Computational Histories Project | Mixed Reality in Civic & Rural Spaces

The Digital Life Initiative developed the Computational Histories Project to examine the ways in which emergent technologies can redress historical asymmetries in urban and rural environments. While Eleanor Roosevelt acts as a symbolic unifier across several research tracks, it is her legacy of public service and campaigning for marginalized voices that impels all technical, creative, and pedagogical ambitions within the project.

Uniting leaders from the fields of tech, human rights, education, museology, and dance, this initiative hopes to deploy web-mapping and augmented reality systems (i) to transform architectural surfaces, civic spaces, and landscapes into digital canvases for museum curators; and (ii) to examine the user interplay between archival material, data, gesture, and geolocation. In concert with these technical and creative ambitions are aims (iii) to design educational curricula that blurs disciplinary boundaries between computational, curatorial, and choreographic thinking; and (iv) to foster cross-campus initiatives with Cornell researchers in New York City, Ithaca, and Washington D.C. Read more >