Algorithms impact large segments of modern life, from the media we’re shown to the opportunities we are offered. Huge amounts of personal data underpin these algorithms, raising the question of how privacy can exist in such a world. In the first half of his talk, Blase Ur will draw from fields including computer science, law, art, and philosophy in tracing the relationship between privacy and technological advances, from the rise of instantaneous photography in the 19th century to the rise of ChatGPT in recent months. Later, he will discuss examples from his group’s research that demonstrate how some of the same technologies that cause privacy violations can be repurposed to enable richer privacy transparency and accountability. These approaches leverage consumers’ right to access personal data companies hold about them, a right strengthened by recent privacy laws.
Blase Ur is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, where he researches security, privacy, human-computer interaction, and ethical AI. He directs the UChicago SUPERgroup, which uses data-driven methods to help users make better security and privacy decisions, as well as to improve the usability of complex computer systems. He has received an NSF CAREER Award (2021), three best paper awards (CHI 2017, USENIX Security 2016, UbiComp 2014) and five honorable mention paper awards (CHI 2021, CHI 2021, CHI 2020, CHI 2016, CHI 2012). His research has been covered in the NY Times, Forbes, and Ars Technica. He received the 2020 Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence, the 2018 SIGCHI Outstanding Dissertation Award, the 2018 IEEE Cybersecurity Award for Practice, the 2016 John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award, an NDSEG fellowship, and a Fulbright scholarship. He holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University (PhD and MS) and Harvard University (AB).