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Oct 18 2019

How to Turn Privacy ON and OFF

ECE 595 Department Seminar Series

October 18, 2019

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM


Lecture Center D5


Chicago, IL 60607

How to Turn Privacy ON and OFF

Abstract: Privacy of online users has become a major concern. Without agreeing to it, users unknowingly leak valuable personal information through their daily online activities. Privacy-preserving algorithms can be utilized to ensure privacy. However, they incur high costs in terms of communications, computations and delays. This motivates us to think of privacy as an expensive service that should be turned OFF when not needed--much like one turns off the lights before leaving home. The challenge in designing algorithms that enable privacy to be switched between ON and OFF, and vice versa, is that the user’s behavior is correlated over time. So even when privacy is OFF, the user must be careful not to leak information about the instances when privacy was ON. In this talk, a setting will be explored in which a user wants to download a message from N sources, while keeping the identity of the source private when privacy is ON. We model the correlation over time of the user's interest by a Markov chain and attempt to characterize the information-theoretic bounds on the minimum communication cost needed to achieve ON/OFF privacy. The lecture will include open problems. This is a joint work with Fangwei Ye and Carolina Naim.

Speaker bio: Salim El Roauyheb is the A. Walter Tyson assistant professor in the ECE Department at Rutgers University. From 2013 to 2017, he was an assistant professor in the ECE Department at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He was a research scholar in the EE Department at Princeton University  from 2012 to 2013, and a postdoc at the EECS department at the University of California, Berkeley from 2010 to 2011. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, in 2009. He received the Google Faculty Award in 2018, and the NSF CAREER award in 2016. His research interests lie in the area of information theoretic security and privacy for data in distributed systems.

Faculty Host: Prof. Hulya Seferoglu,


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Date posted

Oct 8, 2019

Date updated

Oct 9, 2019