Platform Data Privacy & Security Strategies for Public Interest Research

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 11:45 am12:15 pm

Steven Buccini, Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub


Our presentation outlines several state-of-the-art technical strategies to enable data access for public interest research while complying with privacy regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Platforms often hold large-scale, high-quality datasets that researchers cannot compile on their own. While GDPR contains exemptions intended to allow platforms to share data with third-party researchers, regulatory "gray zones" that exist within the law—including the concept of data "anonymity," the role and obligation of so-called "data controllers" in public interest research, and the standards for informed consent—are hindering the sharing of substantive datasets. We examine technical strategies being considered to deal with these ambiguities while maintaining user privacy and control, discuss where these strategies are useful and where they fall short, and what challenges still need to be solved. Finally, we propose a set of potential industry standards, both technical and philosophical, that companies, researchers, and users around the world can employ to ensure the privacy and security of data for public interest research.

Steven Buccini, Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub

Steven Buccini is a fellow at the Aspen Institute Tech Policy Hub where he investigated GDPR-compliant data sharing partnerships, fought to make North Carolina's voting machines more secure, and worked to protect seniors online. Previously, Steven worked as a software engineer for several companies based in the Bay Area before moving back to his hometown to run for the North Carolina House of Representatives. He earned his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley. He has sampled every BBQ spot in San Francisco and holds very strong positions in the never-ending debate on the merits of Eastern- vs Western-style Carolina pulled pork BBQ.

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@conference {244714,
author = {Steven Buccini},
title = {Platform Data Privacy \& Security Strategies for Public Interest Research},
year = {2020},
address = {San Francisco, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jan

Presentation Video