PhD Thesis defense: Leveraging online advertising platforms to measure and characterize digital inequalities

14 Feb

Yonas Kassa, PhD Student, IMDEA Networks Institute and University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain

PhD Defense

As the Internet is becoming a fundamental aspect of the society serving as a de facto platform for social and business activities, traditional offline activities and services have remarkably migrated to the web. The presence and interaction of users on these platforms has created a large amount of digital trace which is being effectively exploited by businesses targeting users on these platforms. One of the main players in this regard is online advertising which is the underneath business that drives the majority of the most important online services such as social media, search engines, map services, etc. This has made online advertising a crucial Internet service in its own right. While the benefit of using these digital resources has been accepted widely pushing governments and organizations to improve their Internet coverage, there are major challenges that limit the society from enjoying their benefits. Together with transparency and privacy, digital inequality is the main challenge that the society faces today.

In this thesis we propose a set of inexpensive and large scale methodologies that leverages datasets from online advertising systems to measure and characterize digital inequality on the web. Our methodologies consider various demographic, geographic and interest categories at global scale that advance the knowledge of the scientific community to better understand the challenges in the interplay between online services and users, with specific focus on digital inequalities.

About Yonas Kassa

Yonas Mitike Kassa received the M.Sc. degree in computer and communication networks engineering from the Politecnico Di Torino, Italy, and the Master of Telematics Engineering degree from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where he is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree. Prior to his incorporation to IMDEA networks, he worked with telecom service providers and telecom R&Ds in areas involving data centers, sensor networks, and unified authentication and security. He got a handful of certifications from ZTE University and Cisco Networking Academy along the way. In 2013, he was an Erasmus Exchange Student with the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, where he completed his master’s thesis on the design of social-aware content distribution infrastructures for online social networks. He has participated in the TMA shadow TPC training. His areas of interests include measurement and analysis of Internet traffic, online social networks, social media, privacy, and information services in general. He has served as a Reviewer for journals and conferences, such as the PLOS ONE, IEEE ACCESS, COMSNETS, AfriCHI, WCNC, ICWSM, and HOTPOST. This year he is serving as TPC at the Web Science conference (WebSci’20).

Personal site

The thesis defense will be conducted in English

PhD Thesis Advisors: Dr. Rubén Cuevas, University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain

University: University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain

Doctoral Program: Telematics Engineering

PhD Committee members:

  • President: Dr. Arturo Azcorra, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain. IMDEA Networks, Madrid, Spain.
  • Secretary: Dr. Carlos Castillo, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Panel members: Dr. Gareth Tyson, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

More info

  • Location: “Aula de Grados”, University Carlos III of Madrid, Avda. Universidad 30, 28911 Leganes – Madrid
  • Time: 11:00 am
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