Report of the 2nd Workshop on Obfuscation


Since we began planning the “International Workshop on Obfuscation: Science, Technology, and Theory” a year ago, there have been numerous shifts in the world’s technological, political, and economic landscape, from a US election influenced by email leaks and algorithmically-promoted fake news stories, to the merger of some of the world’s largest telecom and media companies into data-driven advertising behemoths, to data breaches of major entertainment companies, healthcare providers, and voting systems (to name but a few). We define obfuscation as the production of noise modeled on an existing signal in order to make data or information more ambiguous, uncertain, and difficult to exploit—an idea that is particularly salient in the era of big data technologies. In concert with other practices and tools, obfuscation offers a novel and unique means of evading data surveillance, building privacy-respecting platforms without sacrificing utility, and improving security (including through obfuscating code or hardware itself). However, while obfuscation has long been a methodology engaged by researchers and developers in certain subfields of computer science, engineering, and applied technologies, it has only recently been taken up and studied as a broader strategy or set of tactics by humanists, social scientists, policymakers, and artists. 


Obfuscation Going Forward: A Research Agenda Finn Brunton, New York University and Helen Nissenbaum, Cornell Tech and New York University

PrivacyVisor: Privacy Protection for Preventing Face Detection from Camera Images Isao Echizen, National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo

Circumvention Through Obfuscation Amir Houmansadr, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Political Rhetoric as Obfuscation and Finding Solutions with Neural Networks Nicole Cote and Rob Hammond, New York University

Obfuscating Data to Prevent Discrimination Sorelle Friedler, Haverford College

Using Ethically-Constrained Game Theory to Protect Our Privacy Jeffrey Pawlick and Quanyan Zhu, New York University Tandon School of Engineering

Identity Obfuscation Through Fully Functional Avatars Paul Ashley, Anonyome Labs

Go Rando: Resisting Emotional Surveillance with Noisy Feelings Ben Grosser, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hiding Data Flows with Covert Channels Saumya Debray and Jon Stephens, University of Arizona

Software Diversification as an Obfuscation Technique Nicolas Harrand and Benoit Baudry, Inria, France

Software (De-)Obfuscation: How Good Is It? Alexander Pretschner, Technische Universität München, Germany

On Missing Datasets Mimi Onuoha

Obfuscating 15M US Criminal Records and Mugshots for the Right to Remove Them Paolo Cirio

HyperFace: Emerging Strategies for Obfuscating Computer Vision Algorithms Adam Harvey

Place vs. Space: On the Future of Location Obfuscation Seda Gürses

Obfuscation in Bitcoin: Techniques and Politics Arvind Narayanan & Malte Möser, Princeton University

Obfuscation and the Threat of Centralized Distribution Daniel C. Howe, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

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