bio

heatherlighthouseHello!  I’m a cognitive psychologist and senior UX researcher at Intel Labs and an affiliate privacy scholar at New York University’s Information Law Institute. I investigate social, legal, and policy aspects of personal information sharingwhen, why, and how people communicate things about themselves to others…enthusiastically, willingly, reluctantly, or perhaps unknowingly. As a usable privacy and security researcher, my goal is to make individuals’ interactions with technology more intuitive, satisfying, and empowering.

My specialty is identifying privacy challenges presented by ‘Internet of Things‘ sensors and systems. This often requires looking closely at social norms that guide information sharing behaviors in various social contexts (home life, work life, education, health care, etc.) and helping engineers, developers, and designers think about how to build privacy into technological systems by design, to respect the many ways that individuals want (and don’t want) to engage with the world.

I received my Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Washington in 2006 and my J.D. (specializing in technology law) from the UC Berkeley School of Law in 2012. I subsequently held a privacy research fellowship at NYU’s Information Law Institute, where I researched contextual privacy under the guidance of Dr. Helen Nissenbaum. Before all that, I received a B.S. in neurobiology and physiology from Purdue, and a MA in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. I now live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area.