Alessandro Acquisti & Ralph Gross, Inferring Private Data from Publicly-Available Sources
Workshop draft abstract:
I will present results from a study of privacy risks associated with information sharing in online social networks. Online social networks such as Friendster, MySpace, or the Facebook have experienced exponential growth in membership in recent years. They are no longer niche phenomena: millions use them for communicating, networking, or dating. These networks are successful examples of computer-mediated social interaction. However, they also raise novel privacy concerns, which this research aims at quantifying. Specifically, I evaluate the risks that personal information (PI) publicly provided on a social networking site may be used to gather additional and more sensitive data about an individual, such as personally identifying information (PII), exploiting the online profile as a ‘breeding’ document. More broadly, these results highlight the unexpected consequences of the complex interaction of multiple data sources in modern information economies.