Personal Control of Digital Data

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 7:00pm
32-123 (the Kirsch Auditorium)
Butler Lampson
Lecturer Photo

IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM

7:00 PM, Wednesday 28 June, 2017

MIT Room 32-123 (the Kirsch auditorium in the Stata Center)

Personal Control of Digital Data

Butler Lampson, Adjunct Professor at MIT & Technical Fellow at Microsoft

People around the world are concerned that more and more of their personal data is on the Internet, where it's easy to find, copy, and link up with other data. Data about people's presence and actions in the physical world (from cameras, microphones, and other sensors) soon will be just as important as data that is born digital. What people most often want is a sense of control over their data (even if they don't exercise this control very often). Control means that you can tell who has your data, limit what they can do with it, and change your mind about the limits. Many people feel that this control is a fundamental human right (thinking of personal data as an extension of the self), or an essential part of your property rights to your data.

Regulators are starting to respond to these concerns. Because societies around the world have different cultural norms and governments have different priorities, there will not be a single worldwide regulatory regime. However, it does seem possible to have a single set of basic technical mechanisms that support regulation.

Butler Lampson is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Corporation and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at MIT. He was on the faculty at Berkeley and then at the Computer Science Laboratory at Xerox PARC and at Digital's Systems Research Center. He has worked on computer architecture, local area networks, raster printers, page description languages, operating systems, remote procedure call, programming languages and their semantics, programming in the large, fault-tolerant computing, transaction processing, computer security, WYSIWYG editors, and tablet computers. He was one of the designers of the SDS 940 time-sharing system, the Alto personal distributed computing system, the Xerox 9700 laser printer, two-phase commit protocols, the Autonet LAN, the SPKI system for network security, the Microsoft Palladium security system, the Microsoft Tablet PC software, and several programming languages.

He holds a number of patents on networks, security, raster printing, and transaction processing. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the ACM Software Systems Award in 1984 for his work on the Alto, the IEEE Computer Pioneer award in 1996, the National Computer Systems Security Award in 1998, the IEEE von Neumann Medal in 2001, the Turing Award in 1992, and the National Academy of Engineering's Draper Prize in 2004