Violating Privacy and Providing Security by Using Human Behavior

Janne JindqvistJanne Lindqvist

WINLAB, Rutgers University

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
4:00 p.m., ICSI Lecture Hall

In this talk, we will discuss two of our recent works on using the knowledge of human behavior for systems security and privacy. First, we discuss Elastic Pathing (, an algorithm that can deduce your driving locations just based on a starting location and the speed of your driving. This is an important result because several insurance companies claim that their approach to “usage-based automotive insurance” is privacy-preserving when they collect only speed data. Our work shows that this is not the case. Second, we will discuss a robust approach to mobile user authentication: user-generated free-form gestures. We show how people, without receiving any specific instructions, are able to generate both memorable and secure gestures. We will also discuss the results of the first field study of gesture-based mobile authentication.


Janne Lindqvist is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and a member of WINLAB at Rutgers University, where he directs the Rutgers Human-Computer Interaction Group. From 2011 to 2013, Janne was an assistant research professor at ECE/WINLAB at Rutgers. Prior to Rutgers, Janne was a postdoc with the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science. Janne received his MSc degree in 2005, and DSc degree in 2009, both in computer science and engineering from Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. He works at the intersection of security engineering, human-computer interaction, and mobile computing. Before joining academia, Janne co-founded a wireless networks company, Radionet, which was represented in 24 countries before being sold to Florida-based Airspan Networks in 2005. Janne's work has been featured several times in IEEE Spectrum, MIT Technology Review, Scientific American, Communications of the ACM, NPR, WHYY Radio, Yahoo! News, and recently also in CBS Radio News, Fortune, Computerworld, Der Spiegel, London Times, International Business Times, Slashdot, The Register, and over 400 other online venues and print media around the world. He has received the Best Paper Award from MobiCom’12 and the Best Paper Nominee Award from UbiComp’14.