“Signal Loss” and advertising privacy on Facebook

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The 2021 Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology, a major award administered by a Japanese foundation, goes to Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, a Chinese computer scientist who earned PhDs from Harvard and the University of Illinois before being a professor at MIT, Stanford, and Princeton and then becoming Dean of an important theoretical computer science education program at Tsinghua University.  Professor Yao is a theorist, his many major important results are in “computational complexity theory,” so how did he win an international award in “Advanced Technology?”    Well, one of his major results led to the invention of Secure Multiparty Computation (MPC), by which two or more people can pool their data to compute a result without actually disclosing their data to each other.  And in this article I’ll explain how one present day company seems to be applying MPC to try to comply with privacy rules issued by regulators.

Facebook tracks your web browsing in order to make money delivering ads to you.  Facebook has

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