Alessandro Acquisti is a professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, the co-director of the CMU Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR) and a member of the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, and the CyLab Usability, Privacy, and Security (CUPS) lab.

His research combines economics, decision research, and data mining to investigate the role of privacy in a digital society. His studies have spearheaded the economic analysis of privacy, the application of behavioral economics to the understanding of consumer privacy valuations and decision-making, and the investigation of privacy and personal disclosures in online social networks.

Acquisti’s work has been published in several journals, including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Journal of Economic Literature. His research has been featured in media outlets around the world, including The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. In a previous life, he has been a soundtrack composer and a motorcycle racer (USGPRU).

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Alessandro Acquisti
Alessandro Acquisti’s Heinz College Page


2003 Ph.D., Information Management and Systems, UC Berkeley

2001 M.I.M.S., Information Management and Systems, UC Berkeley

1999 M.Sc., Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, London School of Economics

1999 M.Litt., Economics, Trinity College Dublin

Media mentions

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

CyLab icon connects users with online privacy choices

Have you noticed the new icon popping up on websites across the Internet? Thanks to researchers at Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute, the University of Michigan, and Fordham University, users can now easily make choices about how websites use their personal information, all in one convenient spot.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

CyLab members present research at annual FTC PrivacyCon

CyLab faculty, postdocs, and students presented their research at the FTC’s seventh annual PrivacyCon on November 1.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

CyLab well represented at SOUPS 2022

There is no shortage of Carnegie Mellon (CMU) students and faculty participating in this year's Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS).

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

“Adulting” for cybersecurity, GANs, and more: CyLab’s 2022 seed funding awardees

Over $400K in seed funding has been awarded to 18 different faculty and staff across seven departments at Carnegie Mellon to support security and privacy research.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

Understanding the evolutionary roots of privacy

New research co-authored by CyLab researchers in the journal Science explores the concept of privacy not as a modern anomaly, but as a concept that spans time and space, social class, and degree of technological sophistication.

The Wall Street Journal

Acquisti quoted on facial recognition

CyLab’s Alessandro Acquisti was quoted in The Wall Street Journal on privacy concerns about facial recognition and Facebook’s announcement that it is shutting down its facial-recognition system in the coming weeks.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

Are the recent Facebook revelations a “privacy Chernobyl?”

CyLab’s Alessandro Acquisti shares his thoughts around the privacy issues Facebook is facing today.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

Misconceptions plague security and privacy tools

According to a new study out of CyLab, people hold a myriad of misconceptions about the security and privacy tools out there meant to help protect our privacy and online security.


Acquisti quoted on changes to TikTok’s privacy policy

CyLab’s Alessandro Acquisti was quoted in TIME on the potential implications of new changes to TikTok’s privacy policy.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

Ads may not provide benefits companies say they do

A recent study by researchers in Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab and Heinz College tests claims by the advertising industry that online ads help consumers find better, cheaper products faster.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

Three CyLab papers presented at the FTC’s PrivacyCon 2020

Three CyLab papers were presented at this year’s PrivacyCon, focusing on privacy and security nutrition labels, making privacy choices easier, and perceptions of advanced video analytics.

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute

How much control are people willing to grant to a personal privacy assistant?

In a new study presented at the CHI 2020 conference, CyLab researchers sought to find out how much autonomy people would feel comfortable giving to a personalized privacy assistant.