Biographical sketch of Latanya Sweeney, Ph.D.

Vitae and Bio

Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School and in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of Technology Science, and the founding Director of the Technology Science Initiative and the Data Privacy Lab at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard. Sweeney creates and uses technology to assess and solve societal, political and governance problems, and teaches others how to do the same. She pioneered the field known as data privacy and her work is cited in the HIPAA Privacy Rule and other federal privacy regulations worldwide. Her work on discrimination in online ads ignited the new research area known as algorithmic fairness. She is an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, with more than 100 academic publications, 3 patents, 7000 academic citations, and 3 company spin-offs. She has received numerous professional, academic and lifetime achievement awards and testified before federal and international government bodies. Among other federal appointments, Sweeney formerly served as the Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

In 2018, Harvard launched its new Program in Technology Science, which prepares students for jobs as technologists that work in the public interest. The program is based on Sweeney's prior success at teaching students to scientifically assess unforeseen consequences in technology and to work in civil society organizations, government, and technology companies. Sweeney joined with 50 scholars worldwide to launch the Technology Science Initiative to promote the approach broadly.

Sweeney earned her Ph.D. in computer science from MIT in 2001, being the first black woman to do so. Before joining Harvard as a faculty member, Sweeney was the Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, where she taught computer science, technology and policy from 1998 to 2011. She and her spouse currently serve as the X.D. and Nancy Yang Faculty Deans of Currier House at Harvard College. Professor Sweeney also serves as a member of the inaugural global Technology Policy Council of the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's largest association of computer scientists and professionals. More information about Professor Sweeney is available at her website (latanyasweeney.org).

Shorter Bio

Professor of the Practice of Government and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School and in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of Technology Science, director and founder of the Data Privacy Lab, former Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science, Technology and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, Latanya Sweeney has 3 patents, more than 100 academic publications, pioneered the field known as data privacy, launched the emerging area known as algorithmic fairness, and her work is explicitly cited in two U.S. regulations, including the U.S. federal medical privacy regulation (known as HIPAA). She is a recipient of the prestigious Louis D. Brandeis Privacy Award, the American Psychiatric Association's Privacy Advocacy Award, an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, and has testified before government bodies worldwide. She earned her PhD in computer science from MIT in 2001, being the first black woman to do so, and her undergraduate degree in computer science from Harvard University. Dr. Sweeney creates and uses technology to assess and solve societal, political and governance problems, and teaches others how to do the same. More information is available at her website, latanyasweeney.org.

See also Professor Sweeney's Vitae


Summer 2019. Latanya Sweeney