Building Digital Trust

Whether you think about it daily or not at all, decisions about privacy affect our professional, educational, and personal lives.

  • What steps are the University of Illinois and other Big Ten Schools taking to protect your privacy?
  • What should you know about privacy law at home and abroad?
  • What harms might be caused by current data collection practices?
  • What are students’ ideas regarding privacy?

These are among the topics for the Privacy Everywhere Conference: Building Digital Trust taking place January 27, 2023.

The in-person conference with streaming available will cover the university’s privacy goals of trust, transparency, and consent and how they affect you.

Attendees can choose from two tracks:

  • Track A: What the University is Doing for Privacy (Spotlighting University Initiatives/Activities) 
  • Track B: Privacy and You: Understanding Privacy Issues  

With a breadth of topics, conference attendees will leave with a better understanding of privacy and privacy policy including legal, ethical, and industry perspectives, noted conference organizer Sheena Bishop.

“Technology Services is expanding privacy services and we have a growing team of professionals eager to share resources and knowledge with the university. We are policy experts and privacy evangelists, and we can walk you through potentially complicated issues in your unit or with your research,” Bishop said.

Helping the campus community better understand privacy issues also is part of the privacy team’s charge, Bishop explained.

“We are excited to have so many experts at our own university, and we are happy to welcome presenters from around the country to share their work to help us better understand the future of privacy in higher education, law, and beyond at this year’s conference,” she said.

One of this year’s presentations will be led by Sara Geoghegan, Counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). She will share the unique issues involved with location data – its collection and use.

When we use an app or any device, so much personal information is collected and processed, and it proliferates up the data chain almost instantly. This is a double-edged sword, according to Geoghegan. Individuals should and do expect a certain amount of data collection when using apps and devices. “We expect it to be used in certain ways. And that expectation reflects the original purpose for which it is collected. For example, when you are using a map app, you expect that app to use location data to provide you directions or to optimize the route. You do NOT expect data about our real-time location to be sold or exchanged to a data broker to advertise to you in unrelated ways,” Geoghegan pointed out.

The United States has a patchwork of laws, but not general comprehensive privacy legislation. She indicated how this can be a problem. “You can tell a lot about people when you aggregate that location information: their religion, political affiliation, health, can all come to light when a data broker or bad actor can access your location so easily.”

EPIC is focused on privacy in a lot of ways, including data security, AI and human rights, algorithmic fairness, surveillance, the privacy of minors, and more. “In the last few months to a year, I think that people who have not worried about privacy before are starting to realize these concerns. Privacy is something that EPIC has worked on for 28 years, but it is popular concern. I feel strongly that one person should not have to understand complex data eco systems or legalese-filled privacy policies,” Geoghegan added.

Conference registration, session information, and presenter biographies are at 2023 Privacy Everywhere.Privacy Everywhere: Building Digital Trust
Friday, January 27, 2023
9 AM to 3 PM
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Rooms 1005 and 1025
405 N. Mathews Ave. Urbana, IL