Nav: Home

Researchers aim to make privacy second nature for software developers

October 20, 2015

Brooklyn, New York--The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a New York University Tandon School of Engineering researcher funding for work that attempts to educate software developers on regulatory requirements related to user privacy. He hopes to thereby transform privacy protection from its current status as an afterthought in the development process to an integral element of software design.

The NSF announced that Sameer Patil, an assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is a recipient of a $175,000 Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research, more widely known as an EAGER Award. EAGER awards support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches.

Government attempts to regulate privacy matters related to technology using language that is inaccessible to most software professionals, Patil explains. In addition, developers generally have little formal training in the sociotechnical aspects of privacy. As a result, Patil says, privacy matters are often treated as an afterthought.

To address that problem--growing exponentially with Big Data--he is developing "privacy ideation cards," which will make U.S. data-protection laws and regulations understandable and actionable by software professionals and students.

Additionally, his team will promote the "Privacy by Design" approach, which holds that that the future of privacy cannot be assured solely by compliance with legislation and regulatory frameworks; rather, privacy assurance must ideally become an organization's default mode of operation. The cards, which Patil foresees making freely available online, will facilitate the design, development, and deployment of systems that take into account relevant privacy laws and regulations at every step of the system building process.

Patil's collaborators on the project are Ewa Luger and Janice Tsai of Microsoft, Tom Rodden of the University of Nottingham, Jonathan Fox of Intel, and Hadar Ziv of the University of California, Irvine.

"We are very proud to be at the forefront of Big Data--including the privacy issues that arise from the sophisticated analysis of that data," NYU Engineering Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan said. "The faith that the NSF has expressed in Sameer Patil and the transformative potential of his research is well-deserved and gratifying."
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the NYU School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Tandon Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to programs at its main campus in downtown Brooklyn, it is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and it operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more information, visit

NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.
Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
What can snakes teach us about engineering friction?
If you want to know how to make a sneaker with better traction, just ask a snake.
Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme
Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics, providing a potential solution to one of the world's biggest environmental problems.
A new way to do metabolic engineering
University of Illinois researchers have created a novel metabolic engineering method that combines transcriptional activation, transcriptional interference, and gene deletion, and executes them simultaneously, making the process faster and easier.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at