PRISM: Center for Privacy and Security of Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations


Computing systems and services are an essential part of modern society and are deeply embedded in people’s daily lives. However, as practices and technologies for ensuring security and privacy of computing systems emerge and rapidly change, the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations have been under-addressed, as have the consequences of their exclusion. This Frontiers-scale project seeks to fundamentally change how security and privacy in computing is approached, to make centering the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations the norm.


To do so, the team of researchers will create security and privacy design principles that mitigate harm and enhance the benefits of both current and future computing technologies. This work will be informed by direct collaboration with marginalized and vulnerable communities and by strong technical foundations and social science theories. This project will build and sustain a community of researchers to ensure that the needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations are centered in security and privacy over the long term. Such work will develop research methodologies and outcomes that inform design, education, and policy to impact the scientific community and society at large.


The project focuses on examining three major themes: assessing the security and privacy needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations, informing and co-creating solutions that intersect with current and emerging technologies, and systematizing and applying foundational design principles. The first area involves quantitative and qualitative human-centered research methods and direct community input to address the unique challenges and needs of different populations. The second area involves identifying how technology can be leveraged or reimagined to address these needs through methodologies that consider security and privacy goals for systems and data. The final area involves iteratively synthesizing lessons and experiences from the previous two areas to support integrating security, privacy, and safety needs of marginalized and vulnerable populations into future technology design and researcher efforts.


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