Microsoft Research Blog

Microsoft Research Blog

The Microsoft Research blog provides in-depth views and perspectives from our researchers, scientists and engineers, plus information about noteworthy events and conferences, scholarships, and fellowships designed for academic and scientific communities.

Microsoft Research welcomes Landon Cox, Senior Researcher with a passion for privacy and empowering users worldwide

May 15, 2018 | By Microsoft blog editor

Landon Cox

Sr. Researcher Landon Cox

Microsoft Research further bolsters its research force this month, welcoming Landon Cox to the Mobility and Networking Group as Senior Researcher.

Cox, whose research area is experimental software systems has an impressive body of work focusing on privacy in mobile computing and operating systems. Immediately previous to joining Microsoft Research, he was a tenured professor in the Duke University Department of Computer Science. He was previously a visiting researcher with Microsoft Research and joining Microsoft Research reunites him with many former collaborators.

“Landon is one of the most capable and creative researchers I know, said Victor Bahl, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington. “He has excellent taste in problem selection and amazing skills to building practical systems. With numerous high-profile impactful research accomplishments, he has established himself as one of the preeminent researchers and thought leaders in the field of experimental computer science.”

In addition to an impressive research and academic portfolio, Cox brings a passion for privacy, ethics and for protecting individual users in a world that is increasingly complex when it comes to controlling what happens to personal data.

Very attractive to Cox about Microsoft Research was the promise of considerable freedom to work on a wide range of interesting problems. His focus will continue to be on issues of privacy, especially privacy controls for sensor data, camera data and research on how people can control what parts of the environment are captured by cameras and used by applications.

“It’s critical that we build systems and tools that can simultaneously allow developers to build useful new applications and give users control over the information that’s collected about them,” said Cox. “We’ve already witnessed the importance of balancing privacy and utility as smartphones have become the dominant computing platform, but this imperative will grow more urgent as emerging platforms like IoT and robotics become pervasive and further blur the line between our digital and physical worlds,” he explained.

While at Duke, Cox published seminal work in research areas such as information-flow tracking – studying exactly where apps send the sensitive data they receive – and development of reliable techniques for preemptively marking and masking sensitive information that users often inadvertently convey via camera during video conferencing and other types of camera usage.

“I’m definitely interested in giving people better tools for controlling what information they hand over to applications and I feel that Microsoft is a place that is supportive of this kind of work,” said Cox. “Microsoft’s experience with operating systems and cloud infrastructure as well as its plans for IoT – for example, Azure Sphere – put it in a great position to give users tools for balancing privacy and utility,” he added.

Cox is extremely enthusiastic to return to Microsoft Research in his new role as Senior Researcher. He cited the open nature of the role and freedom to pursue a wide range of ideas as among the many reasons he is excited to be at Microsoft.
Cox holds a PhD and Masters in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He graduated cum laude as an undergrad at Duke in mathematics and computer science.

“Landon has all the qualities that will enable him to thrive in Microsoft Research and his addition to the team makes it indisputably the strongest research team in mobile computing in the world, added Victor Bahl. “I am thrilled about the opportunity to work closely with him on a day to day basis.

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