Spring 2018 Talk Schedule

Hackers vs. Testers: A Comparison of Software Vulnerability Discovery Processes

February 06, 2018
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: Identifying security vulnerabilities in software is a critical task that requires significant human effort. Currently, vulnerability discovery is often the responsibility of software testers before release and white-hat hackers (often within bug bounty programs) afterward. This arrangement can be ad-hoc and far from ideal; for example, if testers could identify more vulnerabilities, software would be more secure at release time. Thus far, however, the processes used by each group — and how they compare to and interact with each other — have not been well studied. This work takes a first step toward better understanding, and eventually improving, this ecosystem: we report on a semi-structured interview study (n=25) with both testers and hackers, focusing on how each group finds vulnerabilities, how they develop their skills, and the challenges they face. The results suggest that hackers and testers follow similar processes, but get different results due largely to differing experiences and therefore different underlying knowledge of security concepts. Based on these results, we provide recommendations to support improved security training for testers, better communication between hackers and developers, and smarter bug bounty policies to motivate hacker participation.

Speaker: Daniel Votipka is a PhD student at the University of Maryland working on computer security, with an emphasis on the human factors affecting security workers. His work focuses on understanding the processes and mental models of professionals who perform security related tasks such as vulnerability discovery, network defense, and malware analysis to provide research-based recommendations for education, policy, and automation changes.

 

The Digital Rights Space: Portrait of a Social Movement

February 20, 2018
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: This presentation discusses a dissertation chapter that investigates the global social movement dedicated to the promotion of digital rights, understood as the right of individuals to freely access, create, and disseminate content online without surveillance or reprisal, with narrow legal exceptions that are compatible with human rights. This transnational “digital rights space” is rooted in several interwoven traditions of contestation and social innovation, notably the F/OSS movement, the international human rights movement, the cypherpunks, and the anti-globalization movement. After placing the movement in the context of the sociology of social movements, the chapter discusses the impact that the very same technologies that the digital rights space defends and promotes can have on the practice of social movements in general, traces the genealogy of the movement to 1970s global policy debates over information flows, and highlights key tensions within the movement over gender, diversity and inclusion.

This is a work in progress, and feedback would be very much appreciated! The presentation will begin with an overview of the dissertation project, titled “Use Signal, Use Tor? The Political Economy of Digital Rights Technology.”

Speaker: Nathalie Maréchal is a PhD candidate in Communication and Oakley Endowed Fellow at the University of Southern California.  Her dissertation examines the relationship between the transnational social movement for human rights online and the US Internet Freedom Agenda through an ethnography of the “freedom technologists” behind popular secure messaging applications and censorship circumvention software. Until July 2017, Nathalie was a Senior Fellow at Ranking Digital Rights, a non-profit research initiative housed at New America’s Open Technology Institute that works with an international network of partners to set global standards for how companies in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector should respect freedom of expression and privacy. Nathalie’s writing has been published by the International Journal of Communication, the Global Commission on Internet Governance, Media & Communication, and Slate.

 

Tactics for Waiting in the Mobile Media Age

March 06, 2018
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: It has always been understood that waiting is an in-between time; but what if waiting is the very thing that has been shaping us throughout history? This talk focuses on how our experiences of time and waiting have shaped not only how we understand human intimacy and connection, but also how we learn and build knowledge about our world and the universe. Because of recent technological advancements — as lauded on the TED stage and Apple commercials alike — our wait times should be disappearing as life becomes faster and more efficient. The dominant message of our moment is clear: we live in an instantaneous culture. Yet, this picture of our always connected, instantaneous lives is not only incomplete, it’s a false mythology. This talk is not about how impatient we’ve become as technologies have connected us at ever-accelerating paces; instead, I focus on the importance of delay and waiting as a fundamental pieces of how we keep in touch, share ideas, and build cross-cultural understanding. Coupled with the benefits of waiting, I also look at the role that waiting and time synchronization play in maintaining power structures. Ultimately, waiting becomes a useful analytic to understand the ways that notions of agency, efficiency, and productivity have been defined. Waiting makes visible the ways that these categories are forces on our daily lives in the digital age.

Speaker: Jason Farman is Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also the Director of the Design Cultures & Creativity Program and a faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. He is author of the book Mobile Interface Theory (winner of the 2012 Book of the Year Award from the Association of Internet Researchers). He is the editor of the books The Mobile Story (2014) and Foundations of Mobile Media Studies (2016). He has published scholarly articles on such topics as mobile technologies, the history of technology, digital maps and cultural geography, locative and site-specific art, videogames, digital storytelling, performance art, social media, and surveillance. His most recent book is titled Waiting for Word: How Message Delays Have Shaped Love, History, Technology and Everything We Know (Yale University Press, 2018).

 

TBA

March 27, 2018
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: TBA

Speaker: Daniel O’Maley is the Deputy Editor and Digital Policy Specialist at the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy. A cultural anthropologist by training, Daniel received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in December 2015. His doctoral research, which was funded by the Fulbright Foundation, focused on how Brazilian Internet freedom activists have used new media and the Internet to foster increased citizen participation in the policy making process. In addition to his research in Brazil, Daniel has studied in Ecuador, Honduras, Spain, and China. A native of Indiana, Daniel graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 2005 with a double major in Anthropology and Spanish.

 

TBA

April 10, 2018
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: TBA

Speaker: Miranda Bogen is a Policy Analyst at Upturn, where she focuses on the social implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and the effect of technology platforms on civil and human rights. Her academic research has focused on policy behavior of global technology companies and the evolution of corporate social responsibility in the digital age. A San Francisco Bay Area expat, Miranda holds a Masters degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts, where she focused on international technology policy and completed coursework at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with degrees in Political Science and Middle Eastern & North African Studies.

 

Bringing the National Security Agency into the Classroom: Ethical Reflections on Academia-Intelligence Agency Partnerships

April 24, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: Academia-intelligence agency collaborations are on the rise for a variety of reasons. These can take many forms, one of which is in the classroom, using students to stand in for intelligence analysts. Classrooms, however, are ethically complex spaces, with students considered vulnerable populations, and become even more complex when layering multiple goals, activities, tools, and stakeholders over those traditionally present. This does not necessarily mean one must shy away from academia-intelligence agency partnerships in classrooms, but that these must be conducted carefully and reflexively. This work hopes to contribute to this conversation by describing one purposeful classroom encounter that occurred between a professor, students, and intelligence practitioners in the fall of 2015: an experiment conducted as part of a graduate-level political science class that involved students working with a prototype analytic technology, a type of participatory sensing/self-tracking device, developed by the National Security Agency. This experiment opened up the following questions that this talk will discuss: What social, ethical, and pedagogical considerations arise with the deployment of a prototype intelligence technology in the college classroom, and how can they be addressed? How can academia-intelligence agency collaboration in the classroom be conducted in ways that provide benefits to all parties, while minimizing disruptions and negative consequences? This talk will discuss the experimental findings in the context of ethical perspectives involved in values in design and participatory/self-tracking data practices, and discuss lessons learned for the ethics of future academia-intelligence agency partnerships in the classroom.

Speaker: Kathleen Vogel is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. After receiving her PhD in biological chemistry from Princeton University, she transitioned from a scientific career to one in science policy. Although her policy-oriented positions were fruitful learning experiences, Vogel was not satisfied with the existing tools and policy frameworks for understanding bioweapons threats and how to design appropriate policy responses. This dissatisfaction has led to the search for and discovery of alternative theoretical tools that reshape the discourse centered around biological weapons, with the hopes of creating a new and generative intellectual conversation between academia and policy. Vogel has a BA in Chemistry, Biology and Spanish from Drury College, and holds an MA and PhD in Chemistry from Princeton University.

 

TBA

May 08, 2017
11 am – 12 pm
2116 Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Abstract: TBA

Speaker: Oluwatoyin Ayanlade is a lecturer and a research fellow from the African Institute for Science Policy and Innovation at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nigeria. She is presently a postdoctoral research scholar at the University of Maryland, College of Information Studies. Her research investigates how information technology innovations can be leveraged to alleviate societal problems. Oluwatoyin has a PhD in Technology Management from OAU; a MS from Roehampton University, London, UK; and BS in Computer Science and Engineering also from OAU, Nigeria.

 

The CASCI Talk Series Spring 2018 was organized by Priya Kumar. Please send questions about the schedule to pkumar12@umd.edu or casci@umd.edu.