At the McCourt School of Public Policy, we believe that the power of data to serve society can only be fully realized if the public is convinced that their information is being used in an ethical and an appropriate manner. As part of the Massive Data Institute’s work on data innovation for public policy, we will develop and support efforts around the ethical use of data, including creating secure environments when analyzing sensitive data, highlighting best practices for sharing data, managing concerns around privacy and discrimination, and making sure the benefits of big data reach the most marginalized or vulnerable populations.

MDI Hosts Federal Trade Commissioner for Conversation on Privacy in Massive Data


MDI Hosts Federal Trade Commissioner for Conversation on Privacy in Massive Data

Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen gave the keynote address at the MDI event, "Privacy Principles in the Era of Massive Data."  The keynote was followed by a panel discussion with Julie Cohen, law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center; Chris Wolf, a partner of Hogan Lovells LLP and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum; Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution; and Robert Groves, Georgetown provost, moderated by McCourt School dean Edward Montgomery. .

Learn more about this past MDI-Law Center event

Analyzing Sensitive Data

The ATra Secure Technology Platform

ATra is a technology platform that creates a secure environment when analyzing sensitive data, allowing data that cannot be shared to be co-analyzed. ATra is instantiated as a black box – a computer that is safely configured and enclosed in a physical black box within a cyber-physical locked-down environment. This ensures that 1) data are not shared among data providers or with analysts; 2) data do not need to be de-anonymized or de-identified, which removes requirements for data pre-processing; 3) data analysis occurs in real time; and 4) data are not copied into databases not owned by the customer. ATra has successfully been deployed to privately and securely identify cross-jurisdictional HIV care migration, or the regional churn effect, among the public health departments of DC, MD and VA.

Contact: Spiros Dimolitsas, Senior Vice President for Research & Chief Technology Officer, Georgetown University