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The most important digital currency in ecommerce is data. As personal information is collected and shared, risks to individual privacy climb, and UNC Charlotte computer scientist Liyue Fan is researching novel ways to better protect individuals’ personal data.

Through a five-year National Science Foundation Early CAREER Award, Fan is investigating data-sharing algorithms that can be applied to digital platforms to better safeguard personal privacy. An assistant professor of computer science in the College of Computing and Informatics, Fan explains data sharing as important to society because it provides researchers a more holistic view of an overall population. “It will lead to unleashing the true power of artificial intelligence,” she said.

Because data currently is highly centralized, it is fragmented across local and regional systems — such as in hospitals, banks and schools. For this reason, privacy-protecting data sharing is important to integrating these decentralized data.

“Privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Fan, an assistant professor of computer science. “While certain organizations and governmental agencies may be subject to privacy laws and regulations, individuals are still concerned that personal information can be leaked or misused.”

Read more on Inside UNC Charlotte.