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Seminar: Privacy for Whom? A Multi-Stakeholder Exploration of Privacy Designs

Yaxing Yao

PhD Candidate, Syracuse University

Thursday, January 30, 2020
9:30am - 10:30am
655 McBryde Hall


How to protect people’s privacy is a key challenge in our increasingly data-driven society. Existing research on privacy protection has primarily focused on end-users of computing systems. However, there are various stakeholders at play in these socio-technical systems. Privacy tools that only consider the end-users might collide with the needs of other stakeholders, making these tools less desirable. 

Drawing from my work on online behavioral advertising and smart homes, I will present the privacy needs of different stakeholders and how these needs might conflict with each other. For example, my research on smart homes shows that secondary users (i.e., people, such as guests and passersby, who are neither the owners nor direct users, can be subject to usage and recording of smart home devices) have their own privacy needs, which differ from that of the owners and are often ignored.

I will discuss how a multi-stakeholder perspective can influence the design of privacy-enhancing technologies (e.g., cooperative mechanisms that bridge different stakeholders), set a privacy research agenda for other emerging domains (e.g., smart cities), and complement a widely used privacy theory, Contextual Integrity.


Yaxing Yao is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. His research interests lie in the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and privacy. By using qualitative and quantitative research methods, design methods, and system building, he focuses on understanding and supporting the privacy needs of different stakeholders in various socio-technical domains such as drones, smart homes, and online behavioral advertising. He has published in top HCI and privacy venues, such as CHI, CSCW, and PETS. He received a best paper honorable mention from CSCW 2019 and a best paper nomination at HICSS 2019. To broaden the impact of his research, he has presented to policymakers multiple times at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) PrivacyCon. He received an MS degree in Information Management from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in Business from the Harbin Institute of Technology in China. He was a professional software engineer before starting his Ph.D.