The Program on Informatics has broad interests in managing confidential research information. It provides consulting, develops training, and performs research in this area.
The current focus of research, in collaboration with Harvard University (the lead institution) is the development of Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data.
This project is defining and measuring privacy in both mathematical and legal terms, and explore alternate definitions of privacy that may be more general or more practical. The project will study variants of differential privacy and develop new theoretical results for use in contexts where it is currently inappropriate or impractical. The research will provide a better understanding of the practical performance and usability of a variety of algorithms for analyzing and sharing privacy-sensitive data. The project will develop secure implementations of these algorithms and legal instruments, which will be made publicly available and used to enable wider access to privacy-sensitive data sets at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science’s Dataverse Network.