Rishab Nithyanand

rishab nithyanand


Assistant Professor @ Department of Computer Science
The University of Iowa
Ring leader of the SPARTA Lab
Co-Director of the Algorithms and Culture Research Group in the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
Research Fellow in the Social and Education Policy Research Program in the University of Iowa Public Policy Center

email: firstname-lastname@uiowa.edu
office: 201L MacLean Hall | office hours (summer 2022): by appointment
google scholar | dblp | curriculum vitae

I am currently looking for self-motivated students seeking a Ph.D. in Computer Science and interested in pursuing research in topics related to computational social science, online privacy, and Internet measurement.
Send me an email with the subject "you NEED to hire me!" if you're interested in working with me and have a demonstrably strong background in any of the following areas: computer networking, statistics, text analytics, or experiment design.


bio and research interests

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Iowa where I lead the SPARTA Lab. Before joining the faculty at UIowa, I worked at the Data & Society Research Institute and obtained my Ph.D. from Stony Brook University where I was lucky to be co-advised by Rob Johnson and Phillipa Gill. My research interests are in the areas of Internet security, privacy, network measurement, and the computational social sciences. My work seeks to bring transparency to the Internet while improving our understanding of the impact of the Internet on our sociopolitical realities.

Put another way, I'm always asking the questions: "How does X work, in practice?", "Is X working the way it was intended to work?", "How could X be misused?", "What are the consequences of X working in this way?", and "What would be a feasible way to mitigate the harms from X?", where "X" is usually a tech-related public policy, platform algorithm, network protocol, or new networked technology. To find satisfactory answers to these questions, I often engage with collaborators from law and the social sciences. In the past, I conducted research in usability and computer theory.

Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to be the recipient of a Google Faculty Research Award, a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellowship, an OTF Emerging Technology Senior Fellowship, and the Franklin Antonio Scholarship from Qualcomm's Office of the Chief Scientist.


teaching

(Spring Term Only) 2021-2023. Privacy Law and Technology (CS4980/LAW9871); co-taught with Mihailis Diamantis
(Fall Term Only) 2020-2022. Introduction to Computer Networks and Their Applications (CS3640)


publications

2022
September
[PDF preprint] Paying Attention to the Algorithm Behind the Curtain: Bringing Transparency to YouTube's Demonetization Algorithms.
Arun Dunna, Katherine Keith, Ethan Zuckerman, Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, Brendan O'Connor, and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ACM CSCW 2022).
2022
September
Pathways to Radical Misogyny: How Participation, Interaction, and Perception in Online Communities Increase Radical Behavior.
Hussam Habib, Padmini Srinivasan, and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ACM CSCW 2022).
2022
September
When Are Cache-Oblivious Algorithms Cache Adaptive? A Case Study of Matrix Multiplication and Sorting.
Arghya Bhattacharya, Helen Xu, Abiyaz Chowdhury, Rezaul Chowdhury, Rathish Das, Rob Johnson, Rishab Nithyanand, and Michael Bender.
Proceedings of the 2022 European Symposium on Algorithms (ESA 2022).
2022
July
PDF ATOM: A Generalizable Technique for Inferring Tracker-Advertiser Data Sharing in the Online Behavioral Advertising Ecosystem.
Maaz Bin Musa and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of the 2022 Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS 2022).
2022
June
PDF Exploring the Magnitude and Effects of Media Influence on Reddit.
Hussam Habib and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of the 2022 International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (AAAI ICWSM 2022).
2022
June
PDF Are Proactive Interventions for Reddit Communities Feasible?.
Hussam Habib, Maaz Bin Musa, Fareed Zaffar, and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of the 2022 International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media (AAAI ICWSM 2022).
2022
May
Relationships Among Vaccination Attitudes, Social Media Use, and Activist vs. Radical Behavior.
Ryan Stoldt, Andrew High, Ashley Peterson, Kathryn Biddle, Raven Maragh-Lloyd, Rishab Nithyanand, Brian Ekdale, Timothy Havens, Hussam Habib, and John Thiede.
Presented at the 72nd Annual International Communication Association Conference (ICA 2022).
2020
July
PDF Inferring Tracker-Advertiser Relationships in the Online Advertising Ecosystem using Header Bidding.
John Cook, Rishab Nithyanand, and Zubair Shafiq.
Proceedings of Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, PETS 2020, July 2020.
2020
April
PDF Apophanies or Epiphanies? How Crawlers Impact Our Understanding of the Web.
Suleman Ahmad, Daniyal Dar, Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, Fareed Zaffar, and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of The Web Conference, WWW 2020, April 2020.
2020
March
PDF Extortion or Expansion? An investigation into the costs and consequences of ICANN's gTLD experiments.
Shahrooz Pouryousef, Daniyal Dar, Suleman Ahmad, Phillipa Gill, and Rishab Nithyanand.
Proceedings of the Passive and Active Measurement Conference, PAM 2020, March 2020.
2018
July
Characterizing the Nature and Dynamics of Tor Exit Blocking.
Rachee Singh, Rishab Nithyanand, Sadia Afroz, Paul Pearce, Michael Carl Tschantz, Phillipa Gill, and Vern Paxson.
Proceedings of the Applied Networking Research Workshop, ANRW 2018, Montreal, QC, Canada, July 16-16, 2018.
2018
February
PDF Apps, Trackers, Privacy, and Regulators: A Global Study of the Mobile Tracking Ecosystem.
Abbas Razaghpanah, Rishab Nithyanand, Narseo Vallina{-}Rodriguez, Srikanth Sundaresan, Mark Allman, Christian Kreibich, and Phillipa Gill.
25th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, NDSS 2018, San Diego, California, USA, February 18-21, 2018.
2017
December
PDF A Churn for the Better: Localizing Censorship using Network-level Path Churn and Network Tomography.
Shinyoung Cho, Rishab Nithyanand, Abbas Razaghpanah, and Phillipa Gill.
Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies, CoNEXT 2017, Incheon, Republic of Korea, December 12 - 15, 2017.
2017
November
PDF Online Political Discourse in the Trump Era.
Rishab Nithyanand, Brian Schaffner, and Phillipa Gill.
CoRR.
2017
August
PDF Measuring Offensive Speech in Online Political Discourse.
Rishab Nithyanand, Brian Schaffner, and Phillipa Gill.
7th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada, August 14, 2017..
2017
August
PDF Characterizing the Nature and Dynamics of Tor Exit Blocking.
Rachee Singh, Rishab Nithyanand, Sadia Afroz, Paul Pearce, Michael Carl Tschantz, Phillipa Gill, and Vern Paxson.
26th USENIX Security Symposium, USENIX Security 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada, August 16-18, 2017..
2016
December
PDF The Adblocking Tug-of-War.
Hamed Haddadi, Rishab Nithyanand, Sheharbano Khattak, Mobin Javed, Narseo Vallina{-}Rodriguez, Marjan Falahrastegar, Julia E. Powles, Emiliano De Cristofaro, and Steven J. Murdoch.
;login: 41(4).
2016
August
PDF Adblocking and Counter Blocking: A Slice of the Arms Race.
Rishab Nithyanand, Sheharbano Khattak, Mobin Javed, Narseo Vallina{-}Rodriguez, Marjan Falahrastegar, Julia E. Powles, Emiliano De Cristofaro, Hamed Haddadi, and Steven J. Murdoch.
6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet, FOCI '16, Austin, TX, USA, August 8, 2016..
2016
June
PDF Exploring the Design Space of Longitudinal Censorship Measurement Platforms.
Abbas Razaghpanah, Anke Li, Arturo Filast{\`{o}}, Rishab Nithyanand, Vasilis Ververis, Will Scott, and Phillipa Gill.
CoRR.
2016
May
PDF Holding all the ASes: Identifying and Circumventing the Pitfalls of AS-aware Tor Client Design.
Rishab Nithyanand, Rachee Singh, Shinyoung Cho, and Phillipa Gill.
CoRR.
2016
February
PDF Games without Frontiers: Investigating Video Games as a Covert Channel.
Bridger Hahn, Rishab Nithyanand, Phillipa Gill, and Rob Johnson.
IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, EuroS\&P 2016, Saarbr\"ucken, Germany, March 21-24, 2016.
2016
February
PDF Measuring and Mitigating AS-level Adversaries Against Tor.
Rishab Nithyanand, Oleksii Starov, Phillipa Gill, Adva Zair, and Michael Schapira.
23rd Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, NDSS 2016, San Diego, California, USA, February 21-24, 2016.
2014
November
A Systematic Approach to Developing and Evaluating Website Fingerprinting Defenses.
Xiang Cai, Rishab Nithyanand, Tao Wang, Rob Johnson, and Ian Goldberg.
Proceedings of the 2014 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, Scottsdale, AZ, USA, November 3-7, 2014.
2014
November
PDF CS-BuFLO: A Congestion Sensitive Website Fingerprinting Defense.
Xiang Cai, Rishab Nithyanand, and Rob Johnson.
Proceedings of the 13th Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, WPES 2014, Scottsdale, AZ, USA, November 3, 2014.
2014
November
PDF Glove: A Bespoke Website Fingerprinting Defense.
Rishab Nithyanand, Xiang Cai, and Rob Johnson.
Proceedings of the 13th Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, WPES 2014, Scottsdale, AZ, USA, November 3, 2014.
2014
August
PDF Effective Attacks and Provable Defenses for Website Fingerprinting.
Tao Wang, Xiang Cai, Rishab Nithyanand, Rob Johnson, and Ian Goldberg.
Proceedings of the 23rd USENIX Security Symposium, San Diego, CA, USA, August 20-22, 2014..
2014
January
PDF How Best to Handle a Dicey Situation.
Rishab Nithyanand, Jonathan Toohill, and Rob Johnson.
CoRR.
2013
November
PDF The password allocation problem: strategies for reusing passwords effectively.
Rishab Nithyanand and Rob Johnson.
Proceedings of the 12th annual ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, WPES 2013, Berlin, Germany, November 4, 2013.
2013
October
Can Jannie verify? Usability of display-equipped RFID tags for security purposes.
Alfred Kobsa, Rishab Nithyanand, Gene Tsudik, and Ersin Uzun.
Journal of Computer Security 21(3).
2012
May
PDF A Theoretical Analysis: Physical Unclonable Functions and the Software Protection Problem.
Rishab Nithyanand and John Solis.
2012 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy Workshops, San Francisco, CA, USA, May 24-25, 2012.
2011
December
User-aided reader revocation in PKI-based RFID systems.
Rishab Nithyanand, Gene Tsudik, and Ersin Uzun.
Journal of Computer Security 19(6).
2011
September
PDF Usability of Display-Equipped RFID Tags for Security Purposes.
Alfred Kobsa, Rishab Nithyanand, Gene Tsudik, and Ersin Uzun.
Computer Security - ESORICS 2011 - 16th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Leuven, Belgium, September 12-14, 2011. Proceedings.
2010
September
PDF Readers Behaving Badly - Reader Revocation in PKI-Based RFID Systems.
Rishab Nithyanand, Gene Tsudik, and Ersin Uzun.
Computer Security - ESORICS 2010, 15th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Athens, Greece, September 20-22, 2010. Proceedings.
2010
September
PDF Groupthink: usability of secure group association for wireless devices.
Rishab Nithyanand, Nitesh Saxena, Gene Tsudik, and Ersin Uzun.
UbiComp 2010: Ubiquitous Computing, 12th International Conference, UbiComp 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 26-29, 2010, Proceedings.