The NYU Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture, and Communication and the Information Law Institute at NYU School of Law will host the International Workshop on Obfuscation: Science, Technology, and Theory on April 7 and 8, 2017.

obfuscation event poster

Obfuscation strategies offer creative ways to evade surveillance, protect privacy, and improve security by adding (rather than concealing) data to make it more ambiguous and difficult to exploit. For example, radar chaff – introduced in WWII – involves dropping small pieces of metal from warplanes to serve as decoys on radar detection screens, making it unclear which is the actual plane. A more recent example of obfuscation is Twitter bots deployed during elections that excessively tweet using popular hashtags and add "noise" that drowns out reporting and political discourse.

This interdisciplinary workshop convenes researchers, scientists, developers, and artists to discuss a broad range of technical, theoretical, and policy approaches to obfuscation, from tools that anonymize users’ social media data to new methods for writing code itself. A series of seven panel discussions will feature speakers from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, NYU, Princeton University, and Cornell Tech.

For a detailed agenda of events, please visit the conference website.

The conference is organized by an international committee of scholars and is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation to NYU’s Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum, coauthors of Obfuscation: A User’s Guide to Privacy and Protest (MIT Press, 2015).

The workshop is free but attendees are required to register through the event website. Reporters interested in attending must RSVP to Rachel Harrison, NYU Office of Public Affairs, at 212-998-6797 or

About the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU
Media, Culture, and Communication (MCC) is a department within NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, advancing scholarship in all areas of media, technology and society, with expertise in global media, digital technology, and media history. To discover more about MCC, visit:

About the Information Law Institute at NYU School of Law
The Information Law Institute is an academic center focusing on law, policy, and social norms defining and affecting the flow of information in a digitally networked society. Its mission is to encourage and disseminate thoughtful research and commentary, welcoming the participation of faculty, students, and other researchers across the disciplinary spectrum. Current projects span issues of open data, government and private sector surveillance, algorithmic governance, obfuscation and resistance, and security and privacy. It is the host of the Privacy Research Group. For more information visit

Press Contact

Rachel Harrison
Rachel Harrison
(212) 998-6797