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UCL Academic Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research Event

Department of Computer Science, UCL

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 from 16:00 to 19:00 (BST)

UCL Academic Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity Rese...

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UCL ACE-CSR event 4 Tickets Ended Free  

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UCL is recognised by EPSRC and GCHQ as a Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research.  We will be welcoming new academics to the Centre with an afternoon of short talks followed by a drinks reception. The Director of the ACE-CSR Prof. Jens Groth is cordially inviting you to join us on this occasion.


16:05 Welcome by Prof. Jens Groth

16:10 Dr Earl Barr

16:35 Dr Mirco Musolesi

17:00 Introduction to distinguished lecture

17:05 Distinguished lecture by Prof. Susan Landau

18:00 Adjourn for drinks reception



Dr Earl Barr: Approximating Program Equivalence

Abstract: Bespoke approximations of program equivalence can tackle two core computer security problems: IP theft and malware detection. The first, inspired by polynomial identity testing, under-approximates program inequivalence using microexecution and random testing; the latter approximates equivalence using normalised compression distance.

Bio: Earl Barr is a senior lecturer at the University College London. He received his Ph.D. at UC Davis in 2009. Earl's research interests include testing and analysis, empirical software engineering, computer security, and distributed systems. His recent work focuses on numerical software, time-travel debugging, the application of natural language processing techniques to software, and program equivalence. Earl has won an ACM distinguished paper award in each of the last three years; his paper entitled ``On the Naturalness of Software'’ will appear as a research highlight in a forthcoming issue of the Communciations of the ACM. Earl dodges vans and taxis on his bike commute to UCL in London. He comes to computer science circuitously: he studied literature and philosophy as an undergraduate.


Dr Mirco Musolesi: Privacy and the City: Identity and Identification in the Smartphone Era

Abstract: An increasing number of mobile users is actively sharing their location and other personal information through a variety of applications and services, such as online social network platforms. Moreover, many mobile applications are continuously collecting location data that allow companies to profile users, for example for marketing applications. Although a number of research studies and articles in the press have shown the dangers of exposing personal location data, the inherent nature of LBSNs encourages users to publish information about their current location (i.e., their check-ins). The same is true for the majority of the most popular social networking platforms, which offer the possibility of associating the current location of users to their posts and photos. Conversely, this type of data can be used to identify individuals, for example for crime prevention and national security.

In this talk I will give an overview of the work of my lab in the area of user identification and profiling using data from smartphones and online social networks. I will discuss the challenges and opportunities in this area and I will outline our research agenda for the coming years.

Bio: Mirco Musolesi is a Reader in Data Science at the Department of Geography at University College London. He received a PhD in Computer Science from University College London and a Master in Electronic Engineering from the University of Bologna. He held research and teaching positions at Dartmouth College, Cambridge, St Andrews and Birmingham. He is a computer scientist with a strong interest in sensing, modelling, understanding and predicting human behaviour and dynamics in space and time, at different scales, using the "digital traces" we generate daily in our online and offline lives. He is interested in developing mathematical and computational models as well as implementing real-world systems based on them. This work has applications in a variety of domains, such as intelligent systems design, (cyber)security&privacy, and ubiquitous computing.


Prof. Susan Landau: It’s Too Complicated: The Conflict between  the Technological Implications of IP-Based Communications and US Surveillance Law

Abstract: Electronic surveillance law seeks to balance protecting the privacy of the people while enabling government's surveillance capabilities. In the US, legal frameworks governing surveillance have, for forty years, drawn a distinction between content and non-content components of communication. The non-content portion of a communication and those aspects of non-content being shared with a third party receive a lower degree of privacy protection than the content shared between two communicating parties. Such protections were developed in an era when public service telephony reigned. Today’s communications systems, particularly on the Internet, are far more complex. In this talk, I show how complexity collapses traditional content/non-content distinctions and disrupts application of the third party doctrine to such an extent that, in many circumstances, they have become too difficult for courts to construe and apply consistently. It's too complicated.

The implications of this in-depth technical analysis are huge, overthrowing many aspects of surveillance law.  I will also provide recommendations as to how new electronic surveillance law should be shaped.

Bio: Susan Landau is Professor of Cybersecurity Policy in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and holds a Visiting Professor appointment in the Computer Science Department at University College London. Landau has been a senior staff Privacy Analyst at Google, a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and at Wesleyan University. She has also held visiting positions at Harvard, Cornell, and Yale, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Landau is the author of Surveillance or Security? The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies (MIT Press, 2011) and co-author, with Whitfield Diffie, of Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption (MIT Press, 1998, rev. ed. 2007). She has written numerous scientific and policy research papers, and has also published in other venues, including Science, Scientific American, and the Washington Post. Landau has testified in Congress on cybersecurity and on electronic surveillance. Landau currently serves on the Computer Science Telecommunications Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and has previously served on the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board.  A 2012 Guggenheim fellow, Landau was a 2010-2011 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the recipient of the 2008 Women of Vision Social Impact Award, and is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Association for Computing Machinery.  She received her BA from Princeton, her MS from Cornell, and her PhD from MIT.


The address and a map can be found on the right hand side.

Visitors can gain access to the Roberst Building via the Front Engineering Building (the first building on the left, at the Malet Place gate). On entering the building, please go to the Reception (Ground floor) to sign in and then take the stairs or lifts to the 3rd floor. 

Nearby stations: Goodge Street (Northern line), Euston Square(Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines), Russel Square (Picadilly line), Warren Street (Victoria line) and Euston mainline station.

Contact: Jens Groth - j.groth AT

UCL ACE-CSR link: Seminar series

Do you have questions about UCL Academic Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research Event? Contact Department of Computer Science, UCL

When & Where

Malet Place
Roberts Building, Lecture Theatre 421
Visitors enter through Engineering Front End Building close to the Malet Place Gate
WC1E 7JE London
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 from 16:00 to 19:00 (BST)

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