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Frontiers Of Science 2023

Exploring Open Science
and Big Data

"The Role of Statistical Data Privacy in Support of Open Science and Public Policy"

Presented by Aleksandra “Seša” Slavkovic
Professor of Statistics and Public Health Sciences, Penn State; Associate Dean for Graduate Education, Penn State Eberly College of Science

February 18, 2023
100 Thomas Building, Penn State University Park
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Aleksandra Slavkovic

A vast amount of sensitive data (e.g., health, financial, genomic, survey data) is collected and archived by corporations, government agencies, health networks, and social networking websites. The social benefits of analyzing these data are significant and include support for open data access and reproducibility. However, the release of these data and/or analyses can be devastating to the privacy of individuals and organizations. In this talk, Slavkovic will give an overview of challenges associated with protecting confidential data. She will also discuss how integrating tools from statistics and computer science can provide formal privacy protection and thus address some of these challenges.

Aleksandra “Seša” Slavkovic is a professor of statistics and public health sciences at Penn State and associate dean for graduate education in the Penn State Eberly College of Science. She has held visiting scholar positions at Cornell University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Minnesota, and Utrecht University. Her research focuses on methodological developments in the area of data privacy and confidentiality in the context of small- and large-scale surveys and health, genomic, and network data, including work on differential privacy and broad data access that offers guarantees of accurate statistical inference needed to support reliable science and policy. Slavkovic is associate editor of the Annals of Applied Statistics and Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality and editor for Statistics and Public Policy. She has served as a chair of the American Statistical Association (ASA) Privacy and Confidentiality committee and the ASA Social Statistics Section, and she currently serves on a half dozen advisory committees. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the International Statistical Institute. She received her Ph.D. (2004) and M.S. (2001) in statistics, and a master of human-computer interaction (1999), from Carnegie Mellon University. She received her B.A. in psychology from Duquesne University (1996). Slavkovic currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Roadmap for Disclosure Avoidance in the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and she has served on the NAS Committee on National Statistics’ Panel on Measuring and Collecting Pay Information from U.S. Employers by Gender, Race, and National Origin, and the NRC Transportation Research Board Expert Task Group (ETG) on Data Access for Safety Data.