I am a human computer interaction researcher studying how people interact with and understand computing systems that bring together people, data, and machine learning technologies. These systems are “black boxes”: the people who use them can see and experience the inputs and outputs, but not the inner logic. This makes it very difficult to understand and reason about how they work, and to envision what the consequences of using them might be for individuals and society.
For example, it is hard enough for end users of computing systems to be aware of the data that is collected about them, but it’s even harder to understand how that data can be used to categorize their personal characteristics or activities, to make predictions about their future behavior and interests, and to infer sensitive, private information. I’m working to discover ways to help people take back some agency over the data they provide to the apps and platforms they use, so that they will have a way to influence what these systems can do and how they affect the world.
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information, of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. Some keywords to describe my research are: digital privacy, inferences, social norms, algorithms, big data, sociotechnical systems.
Some things I’ve been up to recently…
Samantha Hautea presented our poster, “Assertive driver, I can imagine that”: Interpretations of Inferences from Driving Data, at SOUPS 2021. This work was coauthored with Norbert Nthala, Faye Kollig, and João Marcelo Ferraz.
Rick Wash, Norbert Nthala and I published a paper at the 2021 Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS) in August, titled Knowledge and Capabilities that Non-Expert Users Bring to Phishing Detection.
Rick Wash and I published a paper titled Prioritizing Security over Usability: Strategies for How People Choose Passwords in the Journal of Cybersecurity in June 2021.
My paper with Samantha Hautea and Anjali Munasinghe, “I Have a Narrow Thought Process”: Constraints on Explanations Connecting Inferences and Self-Perceptions, which is about how people interpret the inferences that Facebook and Google make about them, received the SOUPS Privacy Award at SOUPS 2020!