Roya Ensafi, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, has been named an inaugural Digital Lab Fellow by Consumer Reports, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The 2020-21 cohort consists of five public interest technology researchers from around the world, working on a 10 month collaboration with support and a stipend. As a fellow, Ensafi will lead the development of an innovative VPN test suite, and engage volunteers in large-scale testing.
The new fellowship program was designed to study the effects of connected products and services, in particular emerging consumer harms in fields like IoT, machine decision making, and the data broker economy. The goal of the program is to increase transparency and advance consumers’ interests in the marketplace — devising new testing frameworks, tools, and procedures to evaluate values such as privacy, security, and fairness.