Talk: Prof. Salim El Rouayheb (October 25, 2022 at 2:00 PM, Seminar room N2409)

Talks |

On October 25, 2022 at 2:00 PM, Prof. Salim El Rouayheb from Rutgers University will be giving a talk in the Seminar room N2409 about "On/Off Privacy for Online Users and DNA".

On/Off Privacy for Online Users and DNA

Prof. Salim El Rouayheb

ECE Department, Rutgers University, NJ.


Online users are gradually being given more agency over their online privacy. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU give consumers more control over the personal information collected about them. Users are given the option to turn on or off certain privacy settings in mobile apps and websites. This gives rise to a somehow overlooked challenge in ensuring privacy. Due to correlation, one has still to implement special privacy-preserving algorithms even when privacy is off. For example, a user who wants location privacy during a period of time, has to also worry about hiding his location outside of this period, since teleportation is not yet possible. Also, a user in a social network has to worry about his friends’ and family’s privacy settings due to them having similar behavior. To formulate this problem, we focus on an “all-or-nothing” setting for privacy which we refer to as On/Off privacy, in which a user can switch between his/her privacy being On or Off depending on many factors such as internet connection, location, or device. The challenge here is that due to correlation one has to worry about privacy, even when privacy is Off. I will focus on information-theoretic measures for On/Off privacy and describe our initial results in two settings. The first setting deals with correlation and privacy in the context of private information retrieval. The second studies On/Off privacy in designing mechanisms for hiding sensitive genotypes in genomic data.


Salim El Rouayheb is an associate professor in the ECE Department at Rutgers University. From 2013 to 2017, he was an assistant professor at the ECE Department at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He was a research scholar at the Electrical Engineering Department at Princeton University (2012-2013) and a postdoc at the EECS department at the University of California, Berkeley (2010-2011). He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, in 2009. In 2019, he was the Rutgers University Walter Tyson Junior Faculty Chair. He received the Google Faculty Award in 2018 and the NSF CAREER award in 2016. His research interests lie in the area of information-theoretic security and privacy of data in networks and distributed systems.