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Rocky Slavin, Xiaoyin Wang, Mitra Bokaei Hosseini, James Hester, Ram Krishnan, Jaspreet Bhatia, Travis Breaux, Jianwei Niu.  2016.  Toward a framework for detecting privacy policy violations in android application code. ICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering.

Mobile applications frequently access sensitive personal information to meet user or business requirements. Because such information is sensitive in general, regulators increasingly require mobile-app developers to publish privacy policies that describe what information is collected. Furthermore, regulators have fined companies when these policies are inconsistent with the actual data practices of mobile apps. To help mobile-app developers check their privacy policies against their apps' code for consistency, we propose a semi-automated framework that consists of a policy terminology-API method map that links policy phrases to API methods that produce sensitive information, and information flow analysis to detect misalignments. We present an implementation of our framework based on a privacy-policy-phrase ontology and a collection of mappings from API methods to policy phrases. Our empirical evaluation on 477 top Android apps discovered 341 potential privacy policy violations.

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Morgan Evans, Jaspreet Bhatia, Sudarshan Wadkar, Travis Breaux.  2017.  An Evaluation of Constituency-based Hyponymy Extraction from Privacy Policies . 25th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference.

Requirements analysts can model regulated data practices to identify and reason about risks of noncompliance. If terminology is inconsistent or ambiguous, however, these models and their conclusions will be unreliable. To study this problem, we investigated an approach to automatically construct an information type ontology by identifying information type hyponymy in privacy policies using Tregex patterns. Tregex is a utility to match regular expressions against constituency parse trees, which are hierarchical expressions of natural language clauses, including noun and verb phrases. We discovered the Tregex patterns by applying content analysis to 30 privacy policies from six domains (shopping, telecommunication, social networks, employment, health, and news.) From this dataset, three semantic and four lexical categories of hyponymy emerged based on category completeness and wordorder. Among these, we identified and empirically evaluated 72 Tregex patterns to automate the extraction of hyponyms from privacy policies. The patterns match information type hyponyms with an average precision of 0.72 and recall of 0.74. 

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Jaspreet Bhatia, Travis Breaux, Liora Friedberg, Hanan Hibshi, Daniel Smullen.  2016.  Privacy Risk in Cybersecurity Data Sharing. WISCS '16 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Workshop on Information Sharing and Collaborative Security.

As information systems become increasingly interdependent, there is an increased need to share cybersecurity data across government agencies and companies, and within and across industrial sectors. This sharing includes threat, vulnerability and incident reporting data, among other data. For cyberattacks that include sociotechnical vectors, such as phishing or watering hole attacks, this increased sharing could expose customer and employee personal data to increased privacy risk. In the US, privacy risk arises when the government voluntarily receives data from companies without meaningful consent from individuals, or without a lawful procedure that protects an individual's right to due process. In this paper, we describe a study to examine the trade-off between the need for potentially sensitive data, which we call incident data usage, and the perceived privacy risk of sharing that data with the government. The study is comprised of two parts: a data usage estimate built from a survey of 76 security professionals with mean eight years' experience; and a privacy risk estimate that measures privacy risk using an ordinal likelihood scale and nominal data types in factorial vignettes. The privacy risk estimate also factors in data purposes with different levels of societal benefit, including terrorism, imminent threat of death, economic harm, and loss of intellectual property. The results show which data types are high-usage, low-risk versus those that are low-usage, high-risk. We discuss the implications of these results and recommend future work to improve privacy when data must be shared despite the increased risk to privacy.

Jaspreet Bhatia, Morgan Evans, Sudarshan Wadkar, Travis Breaux.  2016.  Automated Extraction of Regulated Information Types using Hyponymy Relations. 2016 RE: Requirements Engineering Conference.

Requirements analysts can model regulated data practices to identify and reason about risks of noncompliance. If terminology is inconsistent or ambiguous, however, these models and their conclusions will be unreliable. To study this problem, we investigated an approach to automatically construct an information type ontology by identifying information type hyponymy in privacy policies using Tregex patterns. Tregex is a utility to match regular expressions against constituency parse trees, which are hierarchical expressions of natural language clauses, including noun and verb phrases. We discovered the Tregex patterns by applying content analysis to 15 privacy policies from three domains (shopping, telecommunication and social networks) to identify all instances of information type hyponymy. From this dataset, three semantic and four syntactic categories of hyponymy emerged based on category completeness and word-order. Among these, we identified and empirically evaluated 26 Tregex patterns to automate the extraction of hyponyms from privacy policies. The patterns identify information type hypernym-hyponym pairs with an average precision of 0.83 and recall of 0.52 across our dataset of 15 policies. 

Jaspreet Bhatia, Travis Breaux, Joel Reidenberg, Thomas Norton.  2016.  A Theory of Vagueness and Privacy Risk Perception. 2016 IEEE 24th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE).

Ambiguity arises in requirements when astatement is unintentionally or otherwise incomplete, missing information, or when a word or phrase has morethan one possible meaning. For web-based and mobileinformation systems, ambiguity, and vagueness inparticular, undermines the ability of organizations to aligntheir privacy policies with their data practices, which canconfuse or mislead users thus leading to an increase inprivacy risk. In this paper, we introduce a theory ofvagueness for privacy policy statements based on ataxonomy of vague terms derived from an empiricalcontent analysis of 15 privacy policies. The taxonomy wasevaluated in a paired comparison experiment and resultswere analyzed using the Bradley-Terry model to yield arank order of vague terms in both isolation andcomposition. The theory predicts how vague modifiers toinformation actions and information types can becomposed to increase or decrease overall vagueness. Wefurther provide empirical evidence based on factorialvignette surveys to show how increases in vagueness willdecrease users' acceptance of privacy risk and thusdecrease users' willingness to share personal information.

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Daniel M. Best, Jaspreet Bhatia, Elena Peterson, Travis Breaux.  2017.  Improved cyber threat indicator sharing by scoring privacy risk. 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST).

Information security can benefit from real-time cyber threat indicator sharing, in which companies and government agencies share their knowledge of emerging cyberattacks to benefit their sector and society at large. As attacks become increasingly sophisticated by exploiting behavioral dimensions of human computer operators, there is an increased risk to systems that store personal information. In addition, risk increases as individuals blur the boundaries between workplace and home computing (e.g., using workplace computers for personal reasons). This paper describes an architecture to leverage individual perceptions of privacy risk to compute privacy risk scores over cyber threat indicator data. Unlike security risk, which is a risk to a particular system, privacy risk concerns an individual's personal information being accessed and exploited. The architecture integrates tools to extract information entities from textual threat reports expressed in the STIX format and privacy risk estimates computed using factorial vignettes to survey individual risk perceptions. The architecture aims to optimize for scalability and adaptability to achieve real-time risk scoring.