Securing the Future of Computing for Marginalized & Vulnerable Populations
For many people across the United States, computing systems and technologies are improving everyday tasks, such as paying bills online, accessing telehealth services, staying connected personally and professionally, or even completing an online education career. However, only some benefit from these technologies. This is not only because they need to possess the literacy and access to the latest practices and technologies that ensure their privacy and security, but because these systems have not been developed and safeguarded with all populations in mind. The potential for technology misuse or lack of access to functionality, due to design decisions that are made with a technology that does not consider a population’s needs, for example, visually or hearing-impaired people, can be very detrimental to specific groups.
The Center for Privacy and Security of Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations (PRISM), Supported through the National Science Foundation, (NSF) as a Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC). This NSF multi-directorate effort takes an interdisciplinary, comprehensive, and holistic approach to cybersecurity research and education. Our research seeks to transform how the security community addresses the specific cybersecurity needs of marginalized and vulnerable (M&V) “populations”, by developing tools and methods to center those needs at the core of cybersecurity research and technology design. The Frontier-scale project, will also examine the security and privacy needs of M&V populations, as current and future computing technologies are designed, implemented, and employed.
To achieve the goals of creating a sustainable community, ensuring all unique challenges, and all needs will be addressed, PRISM will focus on major topical areas. The first area involves quantitative and qualitative human-centered research methods and direct community input to address different populations unique challenges and needs. The second area involves identifying how technology can be leveraged or reimagined, to address these needs through methodologies considering security and privacy goals for systems and data. The final area involves synthesizing lessons and experiences from the previous two sites, to support integrating marginalized and vulnerable populations’ security, privacy, safety needs into future technology design, and research efforts.
PRISM involves eight investigators, from the University of Florida, Indiana University Bloomington, University of Washington, and the Max Planck Institute. They have expertise in computer security, working with marginalized and vulnerable populations, and bring a diverse range of research areas encompassing systems, network security, human-computer interaction, mixed-methods research, and psychology.