Sebastian Benthall

Junior Research Scientist, NYU Steinhardt MCC

PhD Candidate, School of Information
University of California at Berkeley

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I'm a Junior Research Scientist working with Helen Nissenbaum on DARPA's Brandeis project. We are working on formal specifications of Contextual Integrity theory that are robust against the inferential threats to privacy posed by massive data collection.

Ion Channel

I'm also a data scientist at Ion Channel, a software supply chain intelligence startup. Check out this presentation of some of our cybersecurity work:

Background and Interests

I spent four years working in programming, product management, and marketing in geospatial civic tech before entering the PhD program at UC Berkeley's School of Information in 2011. I'm ABD and currently based out of New York City. You can find me, among other places, at NYU's Privacy Research Group meetings.

Broadly, my research interests are about the frontiers of artificial intelligence in understanding social life. I consider myself a computational social scientist.

I have a B.A. from Brown University in Cognitive Science.

e-mail: spb413 at nyu dot edu

Selected Publications


My research involves writing a lot of software.


In Fall 2013 I co-instructed a course on Open Collaboration and Peer Production with Thomas Maillart. It was aimed primarily at Masters students at the School of Information, fulfilling a Management requirement. My instruction was based mostly on my professional experience working in and managing open source software communities.

In Fall 2015 I co-organized a seminar on Superintelligence and the Social Sciences with Mahendra Prasad.