Harvard Engineering

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Looks like a fabulous talk today at Harvard to be presented by our Advisory Board member Professor Annie Anton. Harvard CRCS » 2009 » March.  Hope someone will be live blogging/twittering!

CRCS Privacy and Security Lunch Seminar
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Time: 12:00pm-1:30 pm
Place: Maxwell Dworkin 119

Speaker: Annie Anton

Title: Designing Software Systems that Comply with Privacy Laws

Abstract: Properly protecting information is in all our best interests, but it is a complex undertaking. The fact that regulation is often written by non-technologists, introduces additional challenges and obstacles. Moreover, those who design systems that collect, store, and maintain sensitive information have an obligation to design systems holistically within this broader context of regulatory and legal compliance.

There are questions that should be asked when developing new requirements for information systems. For example ….. How do we build systems to handle data that must be kept secure and private when relevant regulations tie your hands? When building a system that maintains health or financial records for a large number of people, what do we need to do to protect the information against theft and abuse, keep the information private, AND at the same time, satisfy all governing privacy laws and restrictions? Moreover, how do we know that we’ve satisfied those laws? How do we monitor for compliance while ensuring that we’re monitoring the right things? And, how do you accomplish all this in a way that can be expressed clearly to end-users and legislators (or auditors) so they can be confident you are doing the right things?

We’ve been working on technologies to make these tasks simpler, and in some senses, automatic. In this talk, I will describe some of the research that we have been conducting to address these problems. I will also discuss the results of a survey involving 975 Internet users in which we compared various ways to represent privacy management information to online healthcare consumers. The results of this work and our other studies pose interesting ethical questions for industry and society at large, and help illustrate the complexity of the problems.