There has been a recent explosion in the amount and diversity of available data, often referred to as big data. This massive amount of data could benefit society in many ways. But analyzing it also raises serious issues, and prominent among these is privacy. As Canada Research Chair in Privacy-preserving and Ethical Analysis of Big Data, Dr. Sébastien Gambs is trying to quantify the privacy risks of big data, with a focus on geolocation (the ability to track the whereabouts of an Internet-connect device).
Because privacy is only one side of the coin, he and his research team are also tackling other ethical issues associated with the analysis of big data, such as the fairness, transparency and algorithmic accountability issues raised by machine learning models and personalized systems. Ultimately, they aim to uncover ways to help us derive the benefits of big data without sacrificing privacy or ethics.