PAL: Privacy-Enhancing Artificial Intelligence and Language Technologies

AAAI Spring Symposium

March 25-27, 2019 - Stanford University - Palo Alto, California


2019-03-29: Thanks to everyone who attended PAL! If you didn't make it, you can still take a look at our proceedings.

2019-03-21: For oral presenters: AAAI says that the projector in our room will take HDMI and VGA.

2019-03-20: The proceedings are now available.

2019-03-14: We have added information on the keynote talks in a section below.

2019-03-01: The symposium program is available here. Also, for those who are presenting posters, the dimensions of our boards are 30 inches (width) by 40 inches (height).

2019-02-06: Registration for the symposium is available here:

2019-01-23: We are pleased to announce that Serge Egelman of ICSI will give an invited talk at the symposium.

2019-01-13: AAAI has sent email invitations to register for the symposium to all authors who submitted papers. If you are interested in attending and did not receive an invitation yet (regardless of whether you submitted a paper), contact us at

2018-11-06: The submission deadline has passed, and submissions are no longer being accepted.

2018-08-09: The submission site is now open.

2018-08-04: We are pleased to announce that Jessica Staddon of Google will be one of our keynote speakers.

2018-07-31: We have a flyer. Help us publicize the event by sharing the flyer with colleagues who may be interested.

2018-07-27: The call for papers is now available below. Still to come: the submission site (AAAI should set it up for us in the next few days) and an email address for questions. Until then, you can send any questions to the lead organizer, Shomir Wilson.

2018-07-23: AAAI recently accepted our proposal, and the site is up. Check back soon for more information.


For some general information on the AAAI Spring Symposium Series, check here.

This symposium will bring together researchers in privacy and researchers in either artificial intelligence (AI) or human language technologies (HLTs), so that we may collectively assess the state of the art in this growing intersection of interests. Privacy remains an evolving and nuanced concern of computer users, as new technologies that use the web, smartphones, and the internet of things (IoT) collect a myriad of personal information. Rather than viewing AI and HLT as problems for privacy, the goal of this symposium is to “flip the script” and explore how AI and HLT can help meet users’ desires for privacy when interacting with computers.

We will focus on two loosely-defined research questions:

  1. How can AI and HLT preserve or protect privacy in challenging situations?
  2. How can AI and HLT help interested parties (e.g., computer users, companies, regulatory agencies) understand privacy in the status quo and what people want?

The symposium will consist of invited speakers, oral presentations of submitted papers, a poster session, and panel discussions. This event is a successor to Privacy and Language Technologies (“PLT”), a 2016 AAAI Fall Symposium.

Program and Proceedings

The symposium program is available here, and here are the proceedings.

Keynote Talks

Jessica Staddon: Security/Privacy Incident Management and Discovery: Opportunities for AI/HLT

The field of security/privacy incident management has grown with the increase in cybersecurity threats. It is an area of focus for technology providers, standards bodies and regulators. Incident management is also a challenging area for practitioners and has a high-rate of burnout. I'll talk about opportunities for AI/HLT-based automation to improve the incident management process for practitioners and how AI/HLT can drive a better understanding of incident patterns, and potentially enable better policies, regulations and privacy discourse. This talk will emphasize user needs and open problems.

Bio: Jessica is a Research Scientist at Google and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Computer Science at NC State. At Google she leads research for enterprise security and analytics products. Previously she was an area manager at Xerox PARC, and a research scientist at Bell Labs and RSA Labs. Her interests include usable security and privacy tools, trends in privacy-related attitudes, and methods for measuring and predicting privacy-related behaviors, attitudes and risks. She serves regularly on the program committees of ACM and IEEE sponsored security/privacy conferences and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Computer Security, IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine and the International Journal of Information and Computer Security. Jessica holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Serge Egelman: Empowering Users to Make Privacy Decisions in Mobile Environments

Mobile platforms have enabled third-party app ecosystems that provide users with an endless supply of rich content. At the same time, mobile devices present very serious privacy risks: their ability to capture real-time data about our behaviors and preferences has created a marketplace for user data that most consumers are simply unaware of. In this talk, I will present prior and ongoing research that my group has performed to understand how users make privacy decisions on their mobile devices, including work that we have done to improve the usability of the permission-granting process through the use of machine learning. I will also present research that my research group has conducted to automatically examine the privacy behaviors of mobile apps. Using analysis tools that we developed, we have tested over 100,000 of the most popular Android apps to examine what data they access and with whom they share it. I will present data on how mobile apps are tracking and profiling users, how these practices are often against users' expectations and public disclosures, and how app developers may be violating various privacy regulations.

Bio: Serge Egelman is the Research Director of the Usable Security and Privacy group at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), which is an independent research institute affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley. He conducts research to help people make more informed online privacy and security decisions, and is generally interested in consumer protection. This has included improvements to web browser security warnings, authentication on social networking websites, and most recently, privacy on mobile devices. Seven of his research publications have received awards at the ACM CHI conference, which is the top venue for human-computer interaction research; his research on privacy on mobile platforms has been cited in numerous lawsuits and regulatory actions. He received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University.

Call for Papers

The symposium invites 2-6 page papers (excluding references) describing new contributions, works in progress, and positions on research in the intersection between privacy and AI/HLT. Submissions should be anonymized. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • AI/HLT-driven personalization of privacy assistance
  • Uses of AI/HLT to enhance privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs)
  • AI/HLT-assisted privacy of online social media users
  • AI/HLT-driven simplification or summarization of privacy policies
  • AI/HLT analysis of privacy regulations
  • Privacy-preserving methods of data mining and text mining
  • Ontologies and knowledge bases for privacy
  • User studies of AI/HLT-driven systems that support privacy
  • Ethical ramifications of AI/HLT in support of privacy

The symposium will welcome submissions from researchers who consider any combination of artificial intelligence, human language technologies, or privacy to be their primary area, recognizing that all are becoming inter-dependent.

Submissions should be in AAAI format. The review process will be double-blind, and accepted papers will be permitted up to one additional page in their final manuscripts. Here is the submission page. Proceedings will appear on

For questions, please contact the organizers at

Important Dates

November 2, 2018: Deadline for submissions (11:59pm Hawaii time)

December 3, 2018: Acceptance/rejection notification

February 8, 2019: Registration deadline for invited participants

February 22, 2019: Camera-ready deadline

March 1, 2019: Final registration deadline

March 25-27, 2019: Symposium


Shomir Wilson (Lead Organizer) (Pennsylvania State University)

Sepideh Ghanavati (Co-Organizer) (University of Maine)

Kambiz Ghazinour (Co-Organizer) (Kent State University)

Norman Sadeh (Co-Organizer) (Carnegie Mellon University)

Program Committee

Denilson Barbosa (University of Alberta)

Ken Barker (University of Calgary)

Michael Carl (Copenhagen Business School)

Huan Liu (Arizona State University)

Xiapu Luo (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Amir Masoumzadeh (SUNY Albany)

Julia Taylor (Purdue University)

Krishnaprasad Thirunarayan (Wright State University)

Yaxing Yao (Syracuse University)

Varun Chandola (SUNY Buffalo)

Pauline Anthonysamy (Google)

Valerio Basile (University of Torino, Italy)

Archna Bhatia (IHMC)

Mitra Bokaei Hosseini (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Luigi di Caro (University of Turin)

Tim Finin (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Mark Finlayson (Florida International University)

Loni Hagen (University of South Florida)

Priya Kumar (University of Maryland)

Livio Robaldo (University of Luxembourg)

Hui Wang (Stevens Institute of Technology)

Sicong Zhang (Georgetown University)

Lina Zhou (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Jose M Such (King's College London)

Sebastian Zimmeck (Wesleyan University)

Travis Breaux (Carnegie Mellon University)

Frederick Liu (Snap)

Kanthashree Sathyendra (Amazon)

Florian Schaub (University of Michigan)

Patricia Thaine (University of Toronto)

Sai Teja Peddinti (Google)

Patrick Kelley (Google)

Jaspreet Bhatia (Carnegie Mellon University)