Tomorrow’s computer scientists must construct technology that is provably appropriate for the setting in which the technology will be used else risk abandonment of the technology altogether. Privacy poses an example. Recent news articles have ignited public concern over issues of privacy in emerging technologies. Concern is justified, and when forced to choose, society has often rejected technology in favor of historical norms. Computer scientists can do better by designing privacy protections into the technology they build in order to ensure adoption.
This talk introduces Technology Dialectics as a new research paradigm for preventing or minimizing clashes between emerging technologies and the settings in which they are to be deployed. With respect to privacy, Technology Dialectics involves creating technologies and related policies with provable guarantees of privacy protection while allowing society to collect and share private (or sensitive) information for many worthy purposes. To accomplish this goal, researchers design their technology in such a way as to resolve clashes, and in doing so, construct conflict-free technology. In the absence of Technology Dialectics, researchers use ad hoc approaches that tend to lack protection and utility or that have nice mathematical properties but lack real-world applicability. Examples are drawn from real-world privacy problems, such as law-enforcement, counter-terrorism, and medical research. Privacy technology solutions aimed at addressing these problems and that adhere to Technology Dialectics are presented and discussed.