Current Research

From Simson Garfinkel
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My primary research interests center on data, and specifically data security, privacy, storage and correlation. In the 1990s my emphasis was largely on data security, largely driven by my experiences working an Internet service provider on Martha's Vineyard. From 1998-2003 I worked on network monitoring---first telephone networks, then IP networks---at Sandstorm Enterprises. From 2003 through 2014 I worked mostly on the digital forensics of stored data. Since 2015 I have mostly worked on data privacy and ethics issues, exploring de-identification at NIST and now differential privacy at the US Census Bureau. I also have strong interest in usability.

As of May 2020, I am looking for students to help on the following projects:

  • Improving the usefulness of the website, with:
    • Providing better visualizations of the data sets we have available for download
    • Identifying which data sets are being used with better real-time analysis of our web server log files.
    • Provide brief summary web pages of each dataset, like a forensic nutrition label. (We also need to develop the forensic nutrition label.)
    • Engaging the digital forensics educational community to find out what data sets would be more useful.
  • Papers about the current state of Cloud Forensics
    • An overview paper for ACSAC 2020.
    • A review journal paper that goes deeper and looks at the full subject/
  • Paper(s) on AI and Digital Forensics
    • What is AI being used for, and what could it be used for?
    • Can we apply AI ethics to this?
  • Paper on the philosophy of differential privacy.
  • Paper on AI Ethics and Security for NSPW
  • Creating better open source mail analysis tools
    • It is surprising how few articles there are in the computer science literature about email analysis.
    • I have a framework for extracting information from mail archives.
  • Completing NIST SP 800-188, de-identifying government datasets.
  • Create Python3 plug-in for Autopsy
    • Currently Autopsy requires plug-ins be written in Python2 with Jython. But using py4j, the same bridge that pyspark uses, it should be possible to have a bridge to programs written in Python3.

If you have interest, please contact me at

About the Summer 2020 Internship Program

The Summer 2020 Internship program will run from May 21st, 2020 through August 6, 2020, although students may start and end late. The internship is unpaid, but students working with me will get:

  • Regularly scheduled phone or video conferences to discuss their progress.
  • The opportunity to collaborate on submitted research papers, and their name as a co-author on any papers that are submitted based on research that they participate in.
  • References/recommendations that can be used for future academic programs or employment.

See Also

Other information that you will find on this site includes: