Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS) 2005

I’ve felt for sometime that the biggest obstacle to securing computer systems that have to be used by ordinary users is the human-computer interface, and this was one of the key aspects of our paper Trust for transparent, ubiquitous collaboration. Security is often in direct conflict with usability as by definition “security” means denying a class of people the ability to perform some action. Microsoft Windows is the most common source of examples of this — Microsoft’s aim to make their OS as usable as possible has lead to it being highly vulnerable in its default configuration.

Anyway, the good news is that a new Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security has just been announced, taking place in Pittsburgh, USA in July 2005 to address these problems. It’s sure to be an interesting interdisciplinary event.