Cryptography, Security, and Privacy (CrySP)

This speaker series is made possible by an anonymous charitable donation in memory of cypherpunks and privacy advocates Len Sassaman, Hugh Daniel, Hal Finney, and Caspar Bowden.

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Where Theory Meets Practice for Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Chelsea Komlo, HashiCorp

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July 9, 2018 2:30pm, in DC 1304


Privacy Enhancing Technology communities rely on the research community for help designing and validating protocols, finding potential attack vectors, and applying new technological innovations to existing protocols. However, while the research community has made significant progress studying projects such as Tor, the number of research outcomes that have actually been incorporated into privacy enhancing technologies such as The Tor Project is lower than the number of feasible and useful research outcomes.

In this talk, we will examine why good research ideas can fail to be incorporated into privacy enhancing technologies such as Tor, and how maintainers and developers of such projects can work with researchers to ensure that good ideas are fully incorporated. We will look at where and why this process breaks down, and what steps are needed to ensure a complete transition from theory to practice for privacy enhancing technologies.


Chelsea Komlo is a software/security engineer with a focus on distributed systems, open source software, and applied cryptography. She has worked across a variety of open source projects, and is a core Tor developer. Chelsea has lead cross-functional and cross-regional security initiatives and held trainings in both English and Spanish on operational security and privacy issues. Chelsea currently works at HashiCorp and is part of a team developing an open-source distributed scheduler.