Alessandro Acquisti’s research investigates the economics and behavioral economics of privacy, particularly within online social networks. His 2009 study on the predictability of Social Security numbers was widely publicized; two years after the publication of his 2009 study, the Social Security Administration changed the assignment scheme of Social Security numbers.
Acquisti is an associate professor of information systems and public policy at Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research. He is a fellow of the Ponemon Institute and a member of Carnegie Mellon CyLab and the CyLab Usability, Privacy and Security Lab.
His studies have been published in leading journals across diverse disciplines, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Science, Information Systems Research, and Journal of Comparative Economics. He has edited books, book chapters and conference proceedings.
Acquisti was awarded the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, the IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award, the Heinz College’s School of Information Teaching Excellent Award, and various best paper awards. He has been invited to be part of the Federal Trade Commission’s Privacy Roundtables and to co-chair the Cyber-Economics Track at the National Cyber Leap Year Summit. He is a member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media and Associated Privacy Considerations.
His findings have been featured in the Economist, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, and on CNN and National Public Radio.
He holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and master's degrees from UC Berkeley, the London School of Economics and Trinity College Dublin.