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Jon Crowcroft to deliver next Strachey Lecture in March


‘Privacy-preserving analytics in, or out of, the cloud’ is the title of the next Strachey Lecture, to be delivered by Professor Jon Crowcroft from the University of Cambridge, on 6 March.

Jon will speak about how privacy can be provided when running analytics on users’ personal data. The business model of cloud analytics seen by the user is of a free service (storage and tools for photos, video, social media and so on). The value to the provider is untrammelled access to the users' data over space and time, allowing upfront income from the ability to run recommenders and targeted adverts, to background market research about who is interested in what information, goods and services, when and where. The value to the user is increased personalisation. This all comes at a cost, both of privacy for the user, and at the price of running highly expensive data centres for the providers, and increased cost in bandwidth and energy consumption.

The attack surface expands to cover just about everything. This talk will examine several alternative directions that this will evolve in the future: firstly, a toolchain for traditional cloud processing which offers privacy through careful control of the lifecycle of access to data, processing, and production of results by combining several relatively new techniques; secondly, a fully decentralised approach, on low-cost home devices, which can potentially lead to large reduction in risks of loss of confidentiality.

Jon is the Marconi Professor of Communications Systems in the Computer Lab at the University of Cambridge, and the Turing Institute. He is a fellow of the Royal Society, the Association for Computing Machinery, the British Computer Society, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He sits on various technical advisory boards, including the EPSRC networking network, Netronome, CognitionX, Social Machines, and Foundation for Information Policy Research Advisory Council.

The lecture is to be held on 6 March at 2.30pm in the Nelson Mandela Lecture Theatre at Saïd Business School. The Strachey Lectures are a termly series, generously supported by OxFORD Asset Management.

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