Jessica Vitak

Dr. Jessica Vitak

Jessica Vitak

Associate Professor and Director of CASCI
Hornbake Building (South Wing), Room 2117-G
(301) 405-8617
(301) 314-9145

Dr. Jessica Vitak  is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland and an affiliate professor in the Communication Department. In addition, she is director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI) and associate director of the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). 


Dr. Vitak's research evaluates the benefits and drawbacks of mediated communication technologies by focusing on the role that social and technical affordances shape interactions online.

Current Research Interests

  • Data privacy and security
  • Pervasive data ethics
  • Generation, collection, and analysis of large-scale user data


  • PhD, Michigan State University

Enhancing Digital Privacy and Security Skills for Low-Socioeconomic Families: Resources for Librarians and Patrons

Principal Investigator: Jessica Vitak
Investigator: Mega M. Subramaniam
Research Area:

Bringing together interdisciplinary faculty from the iSchool, economically disadvantaged/low socioeconomic status (SES) families, and public library partners may help minimize privacy and security challenges that librarians face and risks that low-SES families face using internet and communication technologies (ICTs).

Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems: Practices and Contexts in the Netherlands and US

Principal Investigator: Jessica Vitak
Research Area:

Mobile devices are efficient and convenient, but also increase the potential for more pervasive forms of digitally mediated surveillance by media companies, marketers, governments, employers, and Internet Service Providers. This project evaluates mobile users’ mental models of privacy.

Collaborative Research: Pervasive Data Ethics for Computational Research (PERVADE)

Principal Investigator: Katie Shilton, Jessica Vitak
Investigator: Sarah Gilbert
Research Area:

Increasingly pervasive data about people enables fundamentally new computational research. Simultaneously, changes in scale, scope, speed, and depth of data availability require reconsideration of ethics for computational research. Much work addressing ethics for big and pervasive data proceeds from first principles, applying traditional tenets of research ethics to computational data research.