Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

NSF WATCH Talk- The Weakest Link

September 8th, 2016 / in Announcements, NSF / by Helen Wright

Kelly Caine, Clemson University

The next WATCH talk, called The Weakest Link is Thursday, September 15th, from Noon-1pm EDT.

The presenter, Kelly Caine, is a researcher and professor working at the intersection of people and technology. She directs the Humans and Technology Lab at Clemson University where she and her students advocate for users and create easy to use, useful technology that meets people’s needs. Dr. Caine enjoys teaching students to become scientists, and has designed and taught courses on research methods for understanding people and their relationship with technology at universities and in industry. She also leads research in human factors, human-centered computing, privacy, usable security, health informatics and human-computer interaction. She is the co-author of the book, “Understanding Your Users”, has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, chapters and papers, and regularly speaks to a wide variety of audiences about these topics. She holds degrees from the University of South Carolina (B.A.) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (M.S. and Ph.D.). Her book with Kathy Baxter and Catherine Courage,Understanding Your Users, can be found here.


Scholars and professionals claim that users are the weakest link in the secure and trustworthy computing chain. Users find security protocols opaque and difficult to follow but at the same time have a deep and unmet desire for privacy and security. But what if not users, but designers, coders, managers, and system administrators are the weakest link? Indeed, the people who develop and administer systems often fail to understand the needs, practices, abilities, and desires of users. But understanding users is tough, especially in the security and privacy domain. In this talk I will discuss the key challenges in conducting user research that aims to make systems more secure, trustworthy, and privacy-enhancing. I will also suggest solutions, share existing resources on methods to understand users, and identify high impact areas for future work.

The talk will be held in Room 110 at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA. No RSVP is necessary, and no visitor badges are required. It will also be webcast; you can register here

NSF WATCH Talk- The Weakest Link