Carnegie Mellon University

Lorrie Cranor

Dr. Lorrie Cranor

Professor of Computer Science and of Engineering & Public Policy; Co-director, MSIT-Privacy Engineering

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Lorrie Faith Cranor is a Professor of Computer Science and of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University where she is director of the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory (CUPS). She is associate department head of the Engineering and Public Policy Department and co-director of the MSIT-Privacy Engineering masters program. She teaches courses on privacy, usable security, and computers and society. In 2016 she was on leave from CMU while serving as Chief Technologist at the US Federal Trade Commission, working in the office of Chairwoman Ramirez. She is also a co-founder of Wombat Security Technologies, Inc, a security awareness training company. She came to CMU in December 2003 after seven years at AT&T Labs-Research. While at AT&T she also taught in the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Dr. Cranor is a leading researcher in both online privacy and usable privacy and security, and has co-authored over 150 research papers in these areas. She has played a key role in building the usable privacy and security research community, having co-edited the seminal book Security and Usability (O'Reilly 2005), and founded the Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS). In 2003 she was named one of the top 100 innovators 35 or younger by Technology Review magazine. In 2014 she was named an ACM Fellow for her contributions to usable privacy and security research and education, and in 2016 she was named an IEEE Fellow for her contributions to privacy engineering. In 2017 she was elected to the ACM CHI Academy. Dr. Cranor was appointed a Privacy by Design (PbD) Ambassador by the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada. She has testified about privacy issues at a Congressional hearing and at workshops held by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission. She chaired the Platform for Privacy Preferences Project (P3P) Specification Working Group at the World Wide Web Consortium and authored the book Web Privacy with P3P (O'Reilly 2002). She is frequently quoted in the press, and has appeared on the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Financial News, NPR Morning Edition, NPR Science Friday, and NPR All Things Considered. Her TED talk on passwords has been viewed over 1.5 million times and was featured entertainment on Delta Airlines.

Dr. Cranor served on the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and The Future of Privacy Forum Advisory Board. She is also a commissioned Kentucky Colonel and a member of USACM. In 2000 she served on the Federal Trade Commission Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security. She also serves on the editorial boards of the journals IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing and I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society.

Dr. Cranor has consulted for companies and non-profits on privacy policies, P3P, usable privacy and security, and technology policy. She has served as an expert witness in patent litigation, privacy cases, and in cases challenging the constitutionality of Internet harmful-to-minors laws, including the ACLU's successful challenge to the 1998 Children's Online Protection Act.

Dr. Cranor received her doctorate degree in Engineering & Policy from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. She also holds an undergraduate degree and two masters degrees from Washington University. While in graduate school she helped found Crossroads, the ACM Student Magazine, and served as the publication's editor-in-chief for two years.

Dr. Cranor spends most of her free time with her husband, Chuck, her son, Shane, and her daughters, Maya and Nina. She plays the flute in local flute choirs and in her family band, Unanticipated Fun. She has served as a Pittsburgh Dynamo Youth Soccer commissioner, and founded Dynamoms, an educational soccer program for women over 30 with little or no experience playing soccer. Since 2004 she has served as an Allegheny County, PA elections poll worker. She has also served as president of the Parent Teacher Organization at her kids' school.

Dr. Cranor practices yoga and is an avid photographer and quilter. She spent the 2012-2013 academic year on sabbatical as a fellow in the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University where she worked on fiber arts projects that combined her interests in privacy and security, quilting, computers, and technology. She has won awards in local and national quilt competitions, and several of her quilts have been featured on the covers of books and journals. She had a solo exhibit of her quilts at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum and one of her quilts was featured in Science magazine.