Sebastian Benthall

PhD Candidate, School of Information
University of California at Berkeley

Research Fellow, NYU Steinhardt

e-mail: sb at ischool dot berkeley dot edu

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I'm a Research Fellow 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:



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.

Background and Interests

I have a B.A. from Brown University in Cognitive Science and spent four years working in programming, product management, and marketing in geospatial civic tech before starting the PhD program at the I School.

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

Humanizing details

I like music a lot. I like it so much that I volunteer at Birdland Jazzista Social Club. It's a really nice venue for jazz, blues, and other great live music.

I enjoy reading and writing fiction, philosophy, and sometimes poetry.

I like cats and impressionable hyperactive children.