Me at the Nuremberg Imperial Castle, Germany in Summer 2017.

Hello there! Thanks for thinking I'm interesting enough to check up on. If you've come this far, I dare you to say hello before you leave :)

My name is Yixin Zou (pronounced "Yee-Shin Zoh"). I am a PhD candidate at University of Michigan, School of Information (UMSI) advised by Florian Schaub. I am part of the Security and Privacy Interaction (SPI) Lab and the Michigan Interactive and Social Computing (MISC) group. I also work closely with the Usable Privacy Policy Project team at Carnegie Mellon University, the GWUSEC Lab at George Washington University, and a research team based in New York City that studies computer security and privacy issues for survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV).

My primary research focuses on (1) understanding and improving users' adoption of protective behaviors in the face of privacy and security threats, and (2) examining the privacy risks and needs of exposure-sensitive populations such as IPV survivors and older adults. My research has been published at venues such as CHI, USENIX Security and SOUPS with several best paper awards and honorable mentions. I'm also interested in exploring my research's relevance to policymakers: I've been an invited speaker at the US Federal Trade Commission's annual PrivacyCon, and a series of work with my CMU collaborators has directly influenced the California Consumer Privacy Act's rulemaking process.


  • Apr 2021 - I co-wrote a Michigan Daily op-ed with Cindy Lin, Heeryung Choi, and Jane Im on anti-Asian racism in the US and in academia.
  • Feb 2021 - New paper to appear at USENIX Security 2021 :) We queried individuals' awareness, perception, and responses to data breaches that affected them according to records on Have I Been Pwned.
  • Jan 2021 - Our paper on usability issues of website privacy choices have received a Student Paper Honorable Mention for Future of Privacy Forum’s Privacy Papers for Policymakers Award.