Engin currently works as Uber’s principal privacy architect and leads privacy by design at Uber. He represents the Netherlands in ISO/PC 317, which published the world’s first standard in privacy by design. Engin previously worked at Philips and Google. He was the winner of NWO’s Mozaiek 2010 grant. Engin completed both his MSc and BSc degrees in Computer Science (Delft, 2008).
Engin’s Ph.D. project focused on algorithmic bias, algorithmic transparency and the phenomenon “filter bubble”. Many scholars claimed that social media tools such as Google and Facebook have opaque filtering algorithms that personalize information on user’s behalf without their consent. Such opaque algorithms are trying to improve accuracy at the expense of diversity and has a negative effect on users’ autonomy. As a result, users never see the other side of an argument, get trapped in their ideological bubbles, and civic discourse is undermined. Engin’s thesis first analyses internal processes and factors in online web services that might cause filter bubbles. Later, it presents the results of an empirical study for Dutch and Turkish Twitter users. The thesis also analyses software tools and design attempts to combat filter bubbles. It demonstrates that almost all of the tools implement norms required by two popular democracy models. The thesis argues that democracy is essentially a contested concept, and that other less popular democracy models should be included in the design of such tools as well.