Privacy, Security and Automation Lab Students Win Best Paper Award at Privacy Symposium

PSAL best student paper
(L-R) Andrew McDonald, Aylin Caliskan, Dr. Rachel Greenstadt, and Sadia Afroz accept the Best Student Paper Award.

July 24, 2012 — “Use Fewer Instances of the Letter “i”: Toward Writing Style Anonymization,” a paper by students Andrew W.E. McDonald (CE, undergraduate), Sadia Afroz (CS, Ph.D.), Aylin Caliskan (CS, Ph.D.), Ariel Stolerman (CS, Ph.D.), and Dr. Rachel Greenstadt, assistant professor of computer science, won the Andreas Pfitzmann Best Student Paper Award at the 12th Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, July 11-13, 2012. The students work in Dr. Greenstadt’s Privacy, Security and Automation Lab (PSAL) at Drexel University.

The paper presents Anonymouth, a novel framework for anonymizing writing style. Without accounting for style, anonymous authors risk identification. This framework is necessary to provide a tool for testing the consistency of anonymized writing style and a mechanism for adaptive attacks against stylometry techniques. Anonymouth Software is open-sourced and available here.

Michael Brennan, CS Ph.D. student and member of PSAL, was also recognized for the best presentation at the associated 5th Workshop on Hot Topics on Privacy Enhancing Technologies for his talk on “Perspectives on Academic Impact From Inside the Federal Trade Commission." The paper summarizes the impact that academic research has had in recent years on the policies, actions and opinions of the FTC and proposes approaches for increasing the impact of academic work.

The 12th Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium is a prestigious conference that addresses the design and realization of privacy services for the Internet and other data systems and communication networks by bringing together anonymity and privacy experts from around the world to discuss recent advances and new perspectives.