Research Accomplishments of Latanya Sweeney, Ph.D.


Medical Informatics
      Genomic identifiability
      Patient-centered management

Database Security

      Risk assessment server

      Face de-identification

      Contactless capture

Policy and Law
      Identifiability of de-identified data
      HIPAA assessments
      Privacy-preserving surveillance

Public Education
      Identity angel

Quantitative assessments

Policy and Law: Privacy-preserving surveillance

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Problem Statement: Given person-specific data from daily life and American jurisprudence, develop methods for data to be shared for surveillance purposes with guarantees of privacy protection.

Description: Dr. Sweeney's contributions have been solutions for specific uses (some list on upper left panel); see sample examples (a) through (d). As the volume of information collected on individuals increases [cite, cite], demand for sharing that data increases for national security, public health, marketing, and research purposes. It is easy to share data without attention to privacy or to use a face test (look anonymous), but it requires more work to provide scientific assurances. American jurisprudence distinguishes between identifiable data and non-identifiable data under the belief that anonymity insulates people from personal harm.

(a) Smart cameras report actions not raw images [cite, cite]

(b) Network of data holders answer "How many?" [cite, cite]

(c) Sliding scale architecture [cite]

(d) Linking anonymous records across network [cite, cite]

Other Achievements: 12

  • Testimony before a Federal Advisory Committee for DOD. Highly praised in report.

  • Scientific American, Featured In-Depth Profile (rarely done). Among 28 news articles profiling my work (over 300 news citations). Venues include CBS News, ABC News, Newsweek, USA Today, and NPR.

  • Funding from DARPA, NIH, and HUD. Patent filings.


12 See quantitative assessments for more details.

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Fall 2009