Technology has transformed our lives, but there are hidden tradeoffs we make as we take advantage of these new tools. Cookies, as you know, can be a tasty snack -- but they can also be something that takes your data. This podcast is presented by the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Your Movements are Being Tracked Down to the Inch: Yan Shvartzshnaider, former fellow at the Center for Information Technology Privacy, and Colleen Josephson, grad student at Stanford University
We take our mobile phones everywhere we go, and it’s become scary easy for services and apps to collect information about our movements. But there are limits to what these technologies can do; they work best outdoors. Our guests in our first season finale episode, Yan Shvartzshnaider of NYU and Colleen Josephson, a doctoral student at Stanford, recently wrote a fascinating piece for Princeton's blog, Freedom To Tinker, about how a new technology embedded in the most recent generation of Apple iPhones, has the technology to track the owner's movements, down to the inch, indoors.
How artificial intelligence can be turned against us: Prateek Mittal, associate professor of electrical engineering
Prateek Mittal, associate professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, is here to discuss his team's research into how hackers can use adversarial tactics toward artificial intelligence to take advantage of us and our data.
In the context of self driving cars, think about a bad actor that aims to cause large-scale congestion or even accidents. In the context of social media platforms, think about an adversary that aims to propagate misinformation or manipulate elections. In the context of network systems, think about an adversary that aims to bring down the power grid or disrupt our communication systems. These are examples of using AI against us, which is a focus of Mittal's research.
Later, we'll be joined by grad students in his lab, each of whom is leading fascinating research into these tactics and how we might safeguard against them.
Why YouTube Review Videos Are Often Really Paid Ads (and How You Can Tell the Difference): Michael Swart, Princeton Class of 2019
When you’re shopping for a new gadget online, there’s a good chance you consulted the reviews on YouTube. So many of them are well produced and very thoughtful takes on the latest computer or camera equipment, services, even food and toys. But are they unbiased? Our guest today, Michael Swart, says a lot of them are practically paid commercials without even telling you. And he has a way to tell the difference.
How Secure is the Internet From Attacks? Jennifer Rexford, chair of the Princeton University Computer Science Department
When we use the internet, most of us don't think twice about entering our credit card numbers and we don't tend to worry that someone might be looking over our shoulder. Our guest today, Jennifer Rexford, knows better than most how the internet works and what kind of vulnerabilities exist that allow hackers to exploit its weaknesses. She's the Gordon Y.S. Wu professor in engineering, a professor of computer science and the chair of that department here at Princeton. She's won several awards for her research into the way internet traffic is routed. Jen is a 1991 graduate of Princeton with a degree in electrical engineering. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Michigan. She worked at AT&T Labs before joining the Princeton faculty in 2005.
Bulletproofing the Ballot Box: Andrew Appel, Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University
There’s been a lot of anxiety lately about the security of the American balloting infrastructure, but Andrew Appel has been thinking about this question for years. He has research specialties in public policy and security and privacy. He’s a well-known specialist in election technology who is often quoted in the media, and has served as an expert witness on the subject before government committees. He’s famous for having once shown how easy it was to reprogram a popular voting machine to play Pac-Man.
In this episode, he discusses how the pandemic has scrambled the situation for the 2020 general election, and how Americans might feel confident with the result of an election held largely by mail. He talks about which in-person voting machines are more secure than others. And he discusses the perils of Internet voting.
How Consumer Tech Can Manipulate You (and Take Your Data): Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science, Princeton University, Part One (premiere episode)
While we're using electronic gadgets, apps, platforms and websites, they are often using us as well, including tracking our personal data. The premiere episode of our new podcast features Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science here at the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science. He is a widely recognized expert in the area of information privacy and fairness in machine learning. This conversation was so good, we split it into two episodes. This is the first half of our conversation.
In this half, he discusses “cross-device tracking,” in which one electronic device (say, your work laptop) sends you ads based on your browsing activity on another device (say, your mobile phone). He talks about which web browsers are more likely to allow third-party trackers to record your activity. And he talks about steps you can take to protect yourself against these trackers.