New insights into clean analytics

There is a giant problem with the “collect it all” status quo that pervades on the Internet, this has been clear for a long time. Tracking people has become so widespread that organizations, communities, projects and university labs have sprung up dedicated to detecting and publicizing their presence. Data and analytics are clearly useful for software creators and funders, but they also easily lead to harming people’s privacy and well-being. [Read More]

Usability: the wonderful, powerful idea that betrayed us

Usability triggered a revolution in computing, taking arcane number crunching machines and making them essential tools in so many human endeavors, even those that have little to do with mathematics. It turned the traditional design approach on its head. Initially, experts first built a system then trained users to follow it. User experience design starts with goals, observes how people actually think and act in the relevant context, then designs around those observations, and tests with users to ensure it fits the users’ understanding. [Read More]

Clean Insights: February 2021 Update on Privacy-Preserving Measurement

Greetings, all. I hope this finds you healthy and well, finding ways to enjoy the season (whichever it may be). While everyday still provides new challenges in the life of our team at Guardian Project, we continue to strive to be productive as productive as we can be in our professional and personal lives. I’ve just posted an updated presentation on Clean Insights, reflecting on the symposium in May, and the work we have done since then. [Read More]

Tracking usage without tracking people

One thing that has become very clear over the past years is that there is a lot of value in data about people. Of course, the most well known examples these days are advertising and spy agencies, but tracking data is useful for many more things. For example, when trying to build software that is intuitive and easy to use, having real data about how people are using the software can make a massive difference when developers and designers are working on improving their software. [Read More]

How can we learn without watching?

What kind of measurement, tracking or analytics do you use, and can you sleep at night with your decision? As part of the Berkman-Klein Assembly program at Harvard, I am working with a team to imagine a next-generation mobile and IoT analytics system that has privacy, confidentiality and anonymity at its core. The hope is we can find ways to learn what our users like and understand how our apps are performing without having to rely on proprietary cloud services, logging liability, network vulnerabilities, and invasive app permissions. [Read More]