Insights on Privacy - Alessandro Acquisti and Christena Nippert-Eng

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On February 28, 2011, our Office is holding its second Insights on Privacy armchair discussion. We've invited behavioural economist Alessandro Acquisti and sociologist Christena Nippert-Eng to talk about what motivates us to reveal or conceal details of our personal lives, and how we protect the private lives of others around us.

In the context of their fields of privacy expertise, we will discuss how we represent ourselves both online and off and the implications of changing perceptions of public and private spaces. The discussion will extend to the challenges of maintaining a professional and personal presence online.

The Insights on Privacy Speakers’ Series is a series of armchair discussions hosted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to shed light on new and provocative voices doing interesting work in the field of privacy.

Alessandro Acquisti is an Associate Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. He is the co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR), a member of Carnegie Mellon Cylab, and a fellow of the Ponemon Institute. His work investigates the economic and social impact of information technology, and in particular the economics and behavioural economics of privacy and information security, as well as privacy in online social networks.  He is co-editor the book Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices (2007), an analysis of state-of-the-art technologies, best practices, and research results, as well as legal, regulatory, and ethical issues.

Christena Nippert-Eng is Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Science and Letters at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Her most recent book, Islands of Privacy: Selective Concealment and Disclosure in Everyday Life (2010) is an exploration of the ways we think about privacy on a daily basis – how we try to achieve it for ourselves and enable it for others. In addition to her work as the National Chair of the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (2010-2011), Dr. Nippert-Eng conducts industrial research on people's behaviour and relationships with objects and spaces, including information and communication technologies. She is currently at work on a second book on privacy and socialization.

To participate:

We are inviting full participation in this discussion. For those of you who attend the session in person, we will be inviting questions from the audience as well as inviting you to tweet the content using the #privtalks hashtag.

If you are unable to attend the session in person, and would like the speakers to address a particular aspect of this topic, please send your question to by February 24th and we will try to incorporate it in the issues we cover.

We will also be offering the audience members the opportunity to complete a voluntary survey to provide us with their views on some of the key questions in the discussion.

The video of this event will be made available after the event, as we did for the December 10, 2010 event with Jesse Hirsh and Chris Soghoian.

Space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP before February 25, 2011. Simultaneous interpretation for both official languages will be available.

When: 2:00-4:00 p.m. Monday, February 28, 2011
Where: Minto Suites Hotel, 185 Lyon Street North, 2nd Floor, Salon Vanier/Stanley


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