Alessandro Acquisti
Heinz College - CMU

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Alessandro Acquisti is a Professor of Information Systems and Public Policy at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and a member of Carnegie Mellon CyLab. He is the co-director of CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR), and a member of the National Academies' Committee on public response to alerts and warnings using social media and associated privacy considerations. He has held visiting positions at the Universities of Rome, Paris, and Freiburg (visiting professor); Harvard University (visiting scholar); and Microsoft Research (visiting researcher).

Alessandro's research investigates the economics of privacy. His studies have spearheaded the application of behavioral economics to the analysis of privacy and information security decision making, and the analysis of privacy risks and disclosure behavior in online social networks. His manuscripts have been published in journals across several disciplines (including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Information Systems Research, the Journal of Comparative Economics, and ACM Transactions), as well as edited books, conference proceedings, and numerous international keynotes. Alessandro has been the recipient of the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, the IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award, multiple Best Paper awards, and the Heinz College School of Information's Teaching Excellence Award. His research has been supported by awards and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Transcoop Foundation, Microsoft, and Google.

Alessandro has testified in Congress on issues related to privacy policy and consumer behavior, and participated in policy-finding activities of the Federal Trade Commission, DARPA, the European Network and Information Security Agency, and various national privacy commissioner authorities. In 2009, he was the invited co-chair of the cyber-economics track at the National Cyber Leap Year Summit, as part of the NITRD Program, under guidance from the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Alessandro's findings have been featured in national and international media outlets, including the Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Wired.com, NPR, and CNN. His 2009 study on the predictability of Social Security numbers (SSNs) was featured in the “Year in Ideas” issue of the NYT Magazine (the SSNs assignment scheme was later changed by the US Social Security Administration in 2011). Following his study on face recognition and online social networks, in December 2011 Alessandro was invited to participate in an ad hoc Federal Trade Commission’s Forum on Facial Recognition Technology.

Alessandro holds a PhD from UC Berkeley, and Master degrees from UC Berkeley, the London School of Economics, and Trinity College Dublin. While at Berkeley, he interned a Xerox PARC and Riacs, NASA Ames.

In a previous life, Alessandro worked as classical music producer and label manager (PPMusic.com) and as freelance arranger, lyrics writer, and soundtrack composer for theatre, television, and independent cinema productions (including works for BMG Ariola/Universal and Italy’s RAI 3 national television). He has raced a Yamaha TZ 125 motorcycle in the USGPRU national championship.


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