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Alessandro Acquisti

Alessandro Acquisti

Trustees Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy

Alessandro Acquisti is Trustees Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, and the co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR). He is a fellow of the Ponemon Institute and a member of Carnegie Mellon CyLab and the CyLab Usability, Privacy, and Security (CUPS) lab.

Alessandro’s research investigates the economics and behavioral economics of privacy, and privacy in online social networks. His studies have been published in leading journals across diverse disciplines (such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, Information Systems Research, Journal of Comparative Economics, ACM Transactions on the Internet), as well as edited books, book chapters, 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, the Heinz College’s School of Information Teaching Excellent Award, and various best paper awards. He has been awarded research grants from the National Science Foundation, Transcoop Foundation, Google, and Microsoft. He has been invited to be part of the Federal Trade Commission’s Privacy Roundtables and to co-chair the Cyber-Economics Track at the "National Cyber Leap Year Summit,” as part of the NITRD Program under guidance from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media and Associated Privacy Considerations.

Prior to joining CMU Faculty, Alessandro Acquisti interned at the Xerox PARC labs in Palo Alto, CA and at RIACS, NASA Ames Research Center, in Mountain View, CA.

Alessandro’s findings have been featured in media outlets including the Economist, NPR, the New York Times and the NYT Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, CNN, the New Scientist, the MIT Technology Review, and others. His 2009 study on the predictability of Social Security numbers was featured in the “Year in Ideas” issue of the NYT Magazine (two years after the publication of the study, the Social Security Administration changed the assignment scheme of Social Security numbers).

Alessandro holds a PhD from UC Berkeley and Master Degrees from UC Berkeley, the London School of Economics, and Trinity College Dublin.

In a previous life, Alessandro worked as classical music producer and label manager (, as freelance arranger, lyrics writer, and soundtrack composer for theatre, television, and indy cinema productions (including works for BMG Ariola/Universal and RAI 3 National Television), and raced a Yamaha TZ 125 in the USGPRU national championship.

Courses Taught

  • 94-806 - Privacy in the Digital Age
  • 95-710 - Economic Analysis

In The Media

Additional Information