April 5, 2011: Distinguished Lecturer Series - Michael T. Goodrich: "Turning Privacy Leaks into Floods: Surreptitious Discovery of Social Network Friendships and Other Sensitive Binary Attribute Vectors"

The University of Illinois at Chicago

Department of Computer Science

2010-2011 Distinguished Lecturer Series

Turning Privacy Leaks into Floods: Surreptitious Discovery of Social Network Friendships and Other Sensitive Binary Attribute Vectors

Michael T. Goodrich
University of California, Irvine
Thursday, April 7, 2011
11:00 a.m., Room 1000 SEO


We study methods for attacking the privacy of social networking sites, collaborative filtering sites, databases of genetic signatures, and other data sets that can be represented as vectors of binary relationships. Our methods are based on reductions to nonadaptive group testing, which implies that our methods can exploit a minimal amount of privacy leakage, such as contained in a single bit that indicates if two people in a social network have a friend in common or not. We analyze our methods for turning such privacy leaks into floods using theoretical characterizations as well as experimental tests. Our empirical analyses are based on experiments involving privacy attacks on the social networking sites Facebook and LiveJournal, a database of mitochondrial DNA, a power grid network, and the movie-ratings database released as a part of the Netflix Prize contest. For instance, with respect to Facebook, our analysis shows that it is effectively possible to break the privacy of members who restrict their friends lists to friends-of-friends.

Brief Bio:

Prof. Goodrich received his B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Calvin College in 1983 and his PhD in Computer Sciences from Purdue University in 1987. He is a Chancellor's Professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he has been a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science since 2001. In addition, he currently serves as Associate Dean for Faculty Development in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and as a Technical Director for the ICS Secure Computing and Networking Center (SCONCE) and the ICS Center for Algorithms and Theory of Computation. He was a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University from 1987-2001. Dr. Goodrich's research is directed at the design of high performance algorithms and data structures for solving large-scale problems motivated from information assurance and security, the Internet, Bioinformatics, and geometric computing. He has pioneered and led research on efficient parallel and distributed solutions to a number of fundamental problems, including sorting, convex hull construction, fixed-dimensional linear programming, polygon triangulation, Voronoi diagram construction, and data authentication. With over 200 publications, including several widely-adopted books, his recent work includes contributions to efficient and secure distributed data structures, information privacy, social networks, and network/grid security. He is an ACM Distinguished Scientist, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a Fellow of the ACM. He is also a member of the editorial boards of several top journals on algorithms. He is a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Achievement Award, the NSF Research Initiation Award, the DARPA Spirit of Technology Transfer Award, the Brown Univ. Award for Technological Innovation, the ACM Recognition of Service Award, and the Pond Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Host: Isabel Cruz

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