Tousif Ahmed, who earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering in 2018, was awarded the 2019 John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award at the 15th Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS) in Santa Clara, California in mid-August.
The Karat Student Award is presented to a graduate student in honor of their research in useable privacy and security, their efforts to mentor others, and their community service for usable privacy and security. The student must have graduated no earlier than 18 months prior to the conference to be eligible.
“It’s a great achievement to receive this award,” said Ahmed, who is currently a research engineer for Samsung Electronics America. “Only five scholars have received this award before me, and it’s a huge honor to receive such a prestigious award. It builds confidence for my research, and it will provide motivation to continue working hard in the future.”
Ahmed’s research focuses on understanding and addressing privacy and security challenges faced by people with visual impairments. His dissertation explored the views and requirements of visually impaired users when it came using camera-based systems to sense nearby people, including their presence, identity, activity, and proximity. Through this study, he developed three wrist-based medium-fidelity feedback prototypes that could receive and relay information about bystanders to a visually impaired person through a proxy camera. He also studied the views and privacy concerns for sighted bystanders who appear on camera.
“I haven’t been in my current role long,” Ahmed said. “But I have found industry research to be very challenging. However, this award gives me confidence to explore difficult research problems without fear and will help me as a go forward in my career. I’m grateful for my advisor, (SICE Associate Professor of Computer Science) Apu Kapadia, and my awesome collaborators.”
Ahmed spent more than five years as a research assistant and postdoctoral researcher at the Privacy Lab at SICE, which is led by Kapdia.
“Tousif’s dissertation research has made important contributions towards improving the privacy of people with visual impairments,” Kapadia said. “The John Karat award recognizes not only his research contributions but also his mentoring and service activities in the growing field of usable security. Tousif has been a great asset to the Privacy Lab, where he has mentored graduate and undergraduate students, and the work he started continues with a new generation of Ph.D. students.”