SOCIAL DATA SCIENCES – University of Copenhagen

SODAS > Events > Yves-Alexandre de Mont...


The Centre for Social Data Science (SODAS), is pleased to announce its Spring Lecture Series 2018. The theme of the series is Social Data Sciences. Speaking across domains as diverse as computational privacy, legal systems, international finance and big data infrastructures, our speakers will highlight the challenges that we face with these new social data configurations, and the methodological innovations that we need to foster in order to understand and intervene in them.

Lectures will take place in Building 35, Floor 3, Room 20 (35.3.20) of the CSS Campus, Copenhagen University, from 11.00am - 12.30pm.

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye

Our first speaker on April 11th is Dr. Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, who is an Assistant Professor at Imperial College London, where he heads the Computational Privacy Group, and a research affiliate at MIT.

Please see below for the title and abstract of his lecture.

Read more about Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye in the BIO below or on his website here.

Using Data while Protecting Privacy in the Digital Era

We live in a time when information about most of our movements and actions is collected and stored in real time. The availability of large-scale mobile phone, credit card, browsing history, etc data dramatically increase our capacity to understand and potentially affect the behavior of individuals and collectives. The use of this data, however, raise legitimate privacy concerns.

In this talk, I will discuss how traditional data protection mechanisms fail to protect people's privacy in the age of big data. More specifically, I will show how the mere absence of obvious identifiers such as name or phone number or the addition of noise are not enough to prevent re-identification and how sensitive information can often be inferred from seemingly innocuous data. I will then conclude by discussing some of socially positive uses of big data and solutions we are developing at Imperial College to allow large-scale behavioral data to be used while giving individual strong privacy guarantees.


Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) at Imperial College London, where he heads the Computational Privacy Group, and a research affiliate at MIT.

His research aims at understanding how the unicity of human behavior impacts the privacy of individuals--through re-identification or inference--in rich high-dimensional datasets such as mobile phone, credit cards, or browsing data.

Yves-Alexandre was recently named an Innovator under 35 for Belgium (TR35).

His research has been published in Science and Nature SRep. and covered by the BBC, CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Le Monde, Die Spiegel, Die Zeit, El Pais as well as in his TEDx talks.

His work on the shortcomings of anonymization has appeared in reports of the World Economic Forum, United Nations, OECD, FTC, and the European Commission.

Before coming to MIT, he was a researcher at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico.
Yves-Alexandre worked for the Boston Consulting Group and acted as an expert for both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations.
He is a member of the WEF network on AI, IoT and the Future of Trust; the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems; and the OECD Advisory Group on Health Data Governance.

He received in PhD from MIT in 2016 and obtained, over a period of 6 years, an M.Sc. from Louvain in Applied Mathematics, a M.Sc. (Centralien) from Ecole Centrale Paris, a M.Sc. from KULeuven in Mathematical Engineering as well as his B.Sc. in engineering at Louvain.