When Everyone's A Cyborg: Musings on Privacy and Security in The Age of Wearable Computing

Serge EgelmanSerge Egelman

ICSI and UC Berkeley

Tuesday, March 25
12:30 p.m., Conference Room 5A

While the "wearable computer" started as an experimental research prototype in the late 1960s, the recent demand for devices like Google Glass, smart watches, and wearable fitness monitors suggests that wearable computers may soon become as ubiquitous as cellphones.  These devices offer many benefits to end-users in terms of realtime access to information and the augmentation of human memory, but they are also likely to introduce new and complex privacy and security problems.  In this talk, I will discuss how wearable computing will pose several unique challenges and opportunities for usable security researchers.  The continuous capture of audio and video will be a critical enabler of many use cases, while also opening up new attack vectors and concerns about user privacy.  Thus, we find ourselves at the ideal time to be experimenting on these devices: their widespread adoption is imminent, yet there is still ample opportunity for platforms to integrate research findings.


Serge Egelman is a research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) and in UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS). His research focuses on usable privacy and security, with the specific aim of better understanding how people make decisions surrounding their privacy and security, and then creating improved interfaces that better align stated preferences with outcomes. This has included human subjects research on smartphone security, social networking privacy, access controls, authentication mechanisms, web browser security warnings, and privacy-enhancing technologies. He received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and prior to that was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. He has also performed research at NIST, Brown University, Microsoft Research, and Xerox PARC.