Why Nominated: Archer, an advocate for preserving privacy of data even when it’s used in decision-making both within the U.S. at all levels of government as well as internationally, directs research in privacy-preserving information technologies.
Profile: David Archer is all about privacy. He leads projects in secure computation (SC) for the DARPA Brandeis program on privacy assurance; a U.S. Census Bureau project on privacy-preserving econometrics; the DARPA SafeWare program on protecting computer programs; the IARPA RAMPARTS program on usability of SC; and a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) project on privacy-preserving cybersecurity analysis.
He is at the helm of a project funded by the Bipartisan Policy Center on SC for evidence-based policy; and serves as a member of the United Nations Privacy-Preserving Task Team, which is focused on SC for international data sharing.
Currently, Archer is collaborating in secure computation technologies with researchers at 10 universities in the U.S. and abroad. His research projects support the research of several doctoral students as part of these collaborations. 2018 marked Archer’s impact on the future of key Census Bureau products such as Econometrics, which provide Congress with information on the health of the economy. In the past, lawmakers have had to work with inputs delayed by many months and reported only on paper surveys —due, in part, to industry sensitivity over pricing and sales data.
Archer, though, has shown how data can be gathered within hours rather than months, all the while preserving data privacy. As a result, the Census is under ongoing evaluation for deploying the technology nationwide. He also showed how SC technology can protect data shared across agencies for policy-making purposes as well as sensitive DHS network data while enabling research to improve the U.S.’s cybersecurity stance; and to enable effective decision support. The fruits of Archer’s privacy advocacy can been seen in data-sharing initiatives in the Defense Department and his work with Congressional aides to help craft legislation for privacy preserving data sharing, and educate lawmakers on SC and blockchain technology.