[NRG] NRG Seminar: Privacy-Preserving Social Plugins (Evangelos Markatos)

Larissa Spinelli lspinell at bu.edu
Tue Apr 2 11:02:35 EDT 2013


>
> *NRG Seminar*
>
*Privacy-Preserving Social Plugins*
*Presenter: Evangelos Markatos*
*Monday, April 8, 2013, 11-noon in MCS 148 *

Abstract:
The widespread adoption of social plugins has raised concerns about their
implications to user privacy, as they enable social networking services to
track a growing part of their members' browsing activity. Existing
mitigations in the form of browser extensions can prevent social plugins
from tracking user visits, but inevitably disable any kind of content
personalization, ruining the user experience. In this work we describe a
novel design for privacy-preserving social plugins that decouples the
retrieval of user-specific content from the loading of a social plugin. In
contrast to existing solutions, this design preserves the functionality of
existing social plugins by delivering the same personalized content, while
it protects user privacy by avoiding the transmission of user-identifying
information. We have implemented our design in SafeButton, an add-on for
Firefox that fully supports seven out of the nine social plugins currently
provided by Facebook, including the Like button. As privacy-preserving
social plugins maintain the functionality of existing social plugins, we
envisage that they could be adopted by social networking services
themselves for the benefit of their members. To that end, we also present a
pure JavaScript design that can be offered transparently as a service
without the need to install any browser add-ons.

Short-Bio:
Prof. Evangelos Markatos received his diploma in Computer Engineering from
the University of Patras in 1988, and the M.S and Ph.D. degrees in Computer
Science from the University of Rochester, NY in 1990 and 1993 respectively.
Since 1992, he collaborates with the Institute of Computer Science of the
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (ICS-FORTH) where he is
currently the founder and head of the Distributed Computing Systems
Laboratory. He conducts research in several areas including distributed and
parallel systems, the World-Wide Web, Internet Systems and Technologies, as
well as Computer and Communication Systems Security. He has been the
project manager of the LOBSTER and NoAH projects, both funded in part by
the European Union and focusing on developing novel approaches to network
monitoring and network security. He is currently the project manager of the
SysSec: the European Network of Excellence in managing threats and
vulnerabilities for the Future Internet. Since 1992, he has also been
affiliated with the Computer Science Department of the University of Crete,
where he is currently a full Professor.
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