My research is focused on discovering, formalizing, and empirically testing the social and philosophical assumptions inherent in technology using the methods of data science: From the Web to blockchain technology, at the heart of every technical problem is a social problem waiting to get out.
Motivating my work is the clear and present need to create an ethical foundation for the future technologies that enable fully realized and autonomous humans whose capabilities are extended by technology, rather than subservient to it. Also, I maintain a commitment to serve the most vulnerable in society, including human rights defenders, community activists, and journalists in at-risk situations.
Currently, my work is centered on how protocol design can enable collective intelligence in adversarial environments. Despite secure messaging being the central problem of cryptography – how can one person send a secure message privately to another person – the vast majority of messages, particularly e-mail, sent today are sent through centralized servers where they may be intercepted by malicious actors and mined for data without the knowledge of either the sender or receiver. Even if encrypted, these messages may leak important metadata about the social network.
Redesigning these systems will require a combination of advanced cryptography, distributed systems design, and understanding social incentives. Technology should be designed with the user first, so we are engaged with studying the use of secure messaging applications by human rights defenders in countries such as Egypt and Ukraine, and building from their insights to co-design new and secure decentralized solutions. Part of this involves creating new anonymity-preserving mix networks capable of withstanding powerful global adversaries, even adversaries with government-level surveillance capabilities.
Previously, I worked at the World Wide Web Consortium, primarily on security, in the Technology and Society Domain, but resigned over their stanardization of DRM. Up until 2010 I was a postgraduate student of computer scientist Henry S. Thompson and the philosopher Andy Clark at the University of Edinburgh. My dissertation studied the impact of the Web over traditionally difficult questions of meaning and reference in philosophy of language, with applications to creating search engines over heterogeneous data and colloborative tagging, now available as the book "Social Semantics".
Research Scientist (on leave) at MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center, where I work with Alex "Sandy" Pentland (Ethics, Human Dynamics) on blockchain technologies.
Researcher at Inria, where I am project co-ordinator of NEXTLEAP Project on end-to-end encrypted messaging (from usability to protocol design) with the Prosecco Team and five other partner institutions.
Team member of Technology and Society Domain at the World Wide Web Consortium, where I was W3C Team Contact of W3C Web Cryptography Working Group, W3C Web Authentication Working Group, and W3C Social Web Working Group.
Research Associate at Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, MIT
Postdoctoral "Marie Curie" scholar at L'Institut de recherche et d'innovation du Centre Pompidou (IRI) with Bernard Stiegler.
Yahoo! Research, working on Semantic Search, supervised by Peter Mika.
Project Manager at Duke University for Information Science and Studies and HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), supervised by Cathy Davidson.
For the complete version see DBLP and Google Scholar
- Harry Halpin (2017). A Roadmap for High Assurance Cryptography. Proceedings of Symposium on Foundations and Practice of Security (FPS 2017)
- Harry Halpin (2017). The Crisis of Standardizing DRM: The Case of W3C Encrypted Media Extensions. International Conference on Security, Privacy, and Applied Cryptography Engineering (SPACE 2017)
- Harry Halpin (2017) Le web qui vient: de la NSA a l'intelligence collective In Bernard Stiegler (Ed.), La toile que nous voulons (pp 189-200). Paris, France: FYP Press
- Harry Halpin (2017) NEXTLEAP: Decentralizing Identity with Privacy for Secure Messaging. International Conference on Availability, Reliability, and Security (ARES 2017)92:1-92:10
- Harry Halpin (2017) Semantic Insecurity: Security and the Semantic Web. Society, Privacy and the Semantic Web - Policy and Technology (PrivOn 2017) at ISWC 2017.
- Carmela Troncoso, Marios Isaakidis, George Danezis, and Harry Halpin. (2017). Systematizing Decentralization and Privacy: Lessons from 15 Years of Research and Deployments. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 2017(4): 404-426.
- Harry Halpin and Marta Piekarska (2017) Introduction to Security and Privacy on the Blockchain IEEE European Symposium on Privacy and Security (EuroS&P) Workshops: 1-3.
- Peter Todd and Harry Halpin (2017) OpenTimestamps: Securing Software Updates using the Bitcoin Blockchain Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC 2017).
- Denis A. Ulybyshev, Bharat K. Bhargava, Miguel Villarreal-Vasquez, Aala Oqab Alsalem, Donald Steiner, Leon Li, Jason Kobes, Harry Halpin, Rohit Ranchal (2016) Privacy-Preserving Data Dissemination in Untrusted Cloud. IEEE CLOUD 2017: 770-773.
- Harry Halpin and Alexandre Monnin (2016) The decentralization of knowledge: How Carnap and Heidegger influenced the Web. First Monday 21(12).
- Elijah Sparrow, Harry Halpin, Kali Kalineko, and Ruben Pollan: LEAP: A Next-Generation Client VPN and Encrypted Email Provider. International Conference on Cryptology and Network Security (CANS 2016): 176-191
- Ksenia Ermoshina, Francesca Musiani, Harry Halpin (2016) End-to-End Encrypted Messaging Protocols: An Overview Internet Science Conference (INSCI 2016): 244-254.
- Kelsey Cairns, Harry Halpin, and Graham Steel (2016) Security Analysis of the W3C Web Cryptography API.Security Standardization Research Conference (SSR 2016): 112-140.
- Marios Isaakidis, Harry Halpin, and George Danezis (2016) UnlimitID: Privacy-Preserving Federated Identity Management using Algebraic MACs.Workshop on Privacy and the Electronic Society (WPES 2016) at ACM CCS 2016
- Harry Halpin (2016) The Responsibility of Open Standards in the Era of Mass Surveillance. Workshop on Hot Topics in Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (HotPETS 2016)at PETS 2016.
Selected Representative Publications
- Harry Halpin, Valentin Robu, Hana Shepherd (2007) The complex dynamics of collaborative tagging. The World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2007): 211-220
- Roi Blanco, Harry Halpin, Daniel M. Herzig, Peter Mika, Jeffrey Pound, Henry S. Thompson, Duc Thanh Tran (2011) Repeatable and reliable search system evaluation using crowdsourcing. Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2011): 923-932
- Harry Halpin, Patrick J. Hayes, James P. McCusker, Deborah L. McGuinness, Henry S. Thompson (2010) When owl: sameAs Isn't the Same: An Analysis of Identity in Linked Data. International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2010): 305-320
- Harry Halpin (2013). The Philosophy of Anonymous: Ontological Politics without Identity. Radical Philosophy 176:19-28.
- Harry Halpin, James Cheney (2014). Dynamic Provenance for SPARQL Updates. International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC 2014): 425-440
- Sense and Reference on the Web (2011). University of Edinburgh. Ph.D. Advisors: Andy Clark and Henry S. Thompson. External Committee: Yorick Wilks and Jon Oberlander.