Privacy Seminar

  • Professor
  • Department of Computer Science and Operational Research
  • University of Montréal

The Subtle Art of Online Deception

When people use online platforms, especially social media, they are exposed to various risks regarding their privacy. Indeed various factors lead them to self-disclosure of personal and private information. This disclosure can happen either deliberately, when they are aware that they are effectively divulging personal information, or unintentional, when they are being manipulated or tracked by third parties. Today it is crucial to make users aware of the common techniques that deceivers can use, and show what unforeseen consequences can result.  In this talk, I will focus on online deception by first presenting different persuasion techniques that have been used to influence people to change their behavior, such as: Reciprocity, Scarcity, Authority, Consistency, Liking and Consensus. I will then show how these techniques have been exacerbated in our current age of exposure.  In particular, I will present two of my recent research studies on artificial intelligence and online deception that aim to detect users vulnerable to manipulation and how to raise their awareness about privacy.  The first project studied the reasons behind self-disclosure in social media by analyzing users’ online behavior including their emotions. The second project describes a conversational agent, Protector, a tutor that educates users to be more aware about their privacy.  This tutor purposefully misleads users so they self-disclose personal information. This educational strategy was based on my previous work on Learning by Disturbing.

Esma Aïmeur is Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Operational Research at the University of Montréal.  She obtained a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from the University of Paris 6 (France).  She works on privacy and security, applying artificial intelligence techniques to manage personal data in e-Learning, e-commerce and medicine. Her most recent research focuses on the ethics of artificial intelligence, social networks, security awareness, recommender systems, and privacy preserving (identity theft, geolocation, information disclosure behavior, profile re-identification, etc.).

Esma Aïmeur was responsible for the Computer Science component of the Master's degree in e-commerce, a joint program with the Faculty of Law and HEC (the Business School at the University of Montreal) between 2003 and 2013. As part of this master's degree, Esma Aïmeur organized an annual seminar on the Computer privacy for the past decade.  In addition, she was Program Chair of the 24 World Wide Web Conference 2016 workshops, one of which was co-hosted by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web.  In 2017, she co-chaired the 7th International MCETECH Conference on e-Technologies.

Finally, in 2019, she will co-chair the "Privacy Fairness and Transparency" track of the ACM UMAP conference (User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization).  She is currently co-editor of the International Journal of Privacy and Health Information Management and newly appointed as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Big Data.

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