Title: Surveillance Self-Defense - from Solutions to New Problems
Advisors: Yoshi Kohno and Franzi Roesner
Supervisory Committee: Yoshi Kohno (co-Chair), Franzi Roesner (co-Chair), Emma Spiro (GSR, iSchool), and Zach Tatlock
Abstract: The world is increasingly connected; a side effect of this digital connectivity is that surveillance has become easier and more constant than ever. Individuals can be surveilled communicating with friends or colleagues, tracked as they visit websites, and advertised to based on an amazing variety of fine-grained data.
In this work, I describe a series of forays into research into modern surveillance and user self-defense against it:
(1) A covert communication system using online games that allows individuals to hold a remote conversation without revealing contents or even the existence of the conversation. Our system withstand state-of-the-art attacks on covert channels.
(2) An evaluation of how current privacy defenses on the web actually perform in preventing web-tracking, including analysis of a wide range of privacy defenses from multiple types of data.
(3) An exploration of a new kind of surveillance: intelligence gathering using online advertising - or ADINT. Online advertisers are in a privileged network position, able to collect, store, and analyze data on billions of people: we investigate how this can be used to perform fine-grained location tracking and more.