They know your favorite movie. They know the temperature of your home. They know you visit your mother every Sunday.

But how is that information being used? And is it being protected?

Many West Virginia University students will get the opportunity to find out the answers to these questions and more during the Privacy and Technology graduate seminar series beginning this spring. The series will feature weekly appearances by a nationally recognized roster of privacy experts.

“Science and technology students seldom take into account the privacy implications of their research and of the products they design,” said Pedro Espina, senior science and technology advisor at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He recognized an opportunity to teach WVU engineering students about the role they will play in the future of big data. In the fall of 2014, Espina, a member of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources Visiting Committee, approached Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the college about developing a graduate seminar on privacy and technology.

Together, Espina and Cilento approached Brian Woerner, chair of the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

Espina also reached out to Sarah Soliman, a 2007 biometrics and computer engineering graduate of WVU, at the Global Identity Summit and together recruited prospective speakers.

Espina, Soliman and Roy Nutter, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, will split teaching responsibilities. Soliman, an emerging technology trends project associate at RAND Corp., earned her master’s degree at University of Cambridge in England. She is currently working on her doctorate in war studies at King’s College London.

The seminar series will be held on Wednesdays from 5-6 p.m. in G-39 of the Engineering Sciences Building on WVU’s Evansdale Campus.

Highlights of the series include a March 4 lecture on the right to privacy by Dorothy Glancy. A professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law and one of the principal drafters of the Privacy Act of 1974, Glancy is a Certified Information Privacy Professional who writes about legal issues related to law and technology, particularly how privacy interacts with intelligent transportation systems. She is the privacy auditor of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bay Area network of toll tag readers known as Traffic Watch and serves on the Court Technology Advisory Committee to the State of California Judicial Council.

On April 15, Aneesh Chopra, the former and first chief technology officer of the United States, will address privacy challenges in government. Chopra, is co-founder and executive vice president of Hunch Analytics, a technology firm focused on improving the productivity of public and regulated sectors of the economy through data analytics and is the author of “Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government.”

Other speakers include Lisa Nelson, associate professor of legal studies at the University of Pittsburgh; Paige Lavender, senior politics editor with the “Huffington Post”; Chris Greer, director of Cyber Physical Systems and Smart Grid Program Office Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Jason Thomas, with Thomson Reuters.

“I am delighted to welcome such an esteemed panel of visitors to the Statler College and WVU,” Cilento said. “Each week, our students, faculty, staff and guests will hear their perspectives on what the future holds in the area of privacy and technology. We could not have done this without the hard work of Pedro and Sarah. They are to be applauded for their efforts.”



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.