Call for participation

Important dates:

  • Registration re-opens on: February 3, 2021
  • Submissions due: March 15, 2021
  • Notifications: April 1, 2021
  • Workshop: May 7, 2021
    A vernissage will take place on May 4, 2021
  • Study group meets on: April 30, May 6 and May 19, 2021

Overview and topics:

The 3rd Workshop on Obfuscation convenes participants around the concept and practice of obfuscation in digital societies. We welcome researchers, scientists, policy makers, public-interest developers and coders, journalists, activists, artists and other interested parties to discuss obfuscation in environments and conditions of asymmetrical power and information. 

We welcome and value a broad range of approaches, including theories, tools, simulations and experimental methods from diverse disciplines and spheres of practice. The workshop constitutes a wide umbrella welcoming a diverse family of related topics and efforts, including adversarial machine learning, protective optimization technologies (POTs) and obfuscation in behavioral decision-making contexts by humans and artificial agents. We encourage participants to contribute with ideas about how obfuscation may (or may not) serve people in the current context of ever greater power imbalances between people, societal institutions and technology companies.

Submission types:
  • A (short) position paper or extended abstract of your work (this can be work in progress).
  • A description of an interesting use case to be discussed (this may be an academic or policy/practice-based case).
  • A description of a demo or prototype (of applications, hardware or other artifacts), performance, artwork (in any media) or journalistic piece relevant to the topic of obfuscation.
  • A description of a hands-on workshop or other interactive format that engages with obfuscation. We welcome and encourage participants to organize their own session on a topic related to obfuscation. Please provide details on method and logistic needs. Note that we have allocated 1-hour slots for invited sessions; let us know if you need additional time so we can best accommodate your proposal. 

Page limit and formatting: Submissions must be written in English and must not exceed a 2-page limit (references not included in page limit). If the final submission contains materials (e.g. video footage) in another language, we invite you to speak with us about making translations available. Participants are encouraged to submit their proposals in PDF. 

Submission and review: Submissions will be peer-reviewed by the Obfuscation Workshop's Organizing Committee and accepted based on relevance and potential to contribute to workshop discussions and goals. Please submit your proposals here

Publication and registration: The workshop will not publish formal (i.e. archival) proceedings. Instead, the workshop aims to foster discussion and feedback to improve work-in-progress for subsequent publication elsewhere. With authors' permission, accepted submissions will be included in the postscript we plan to release after the workshop. This document will be publicly available on our website but will not be considered an archival publication. Please note that those with accepted proposals will be invited to present their work at the workshop and are required to register.

The study group

We invite junior researchers, artists, activists and other interested parties to join us in a study group that accompanies the Workshop on Obfuscation. Our goal is to provide an arena for deeper reflection and engagement, a more tight-knit and longer breathed space for collaboration for those interested in obfuscation. The study group will be mentored by leading researchers of obfuscation Finn Brunton and Helen Nissenbaum, as well as artist and designer Femke Snelting. The study group will also contribute, under the direction of Khadijah Abdurahman and Reni Hofmüller, to the production of a podcast. For more details about what you can expect from the study group and a tentative schedule of activities, please visit the study group page

Participation in the study group is preconditioned on a submission. Please see the submission guidelines outlined above. Through the submission page, you will be able to choose whether you wish join the study group. A limited number of 12 places will be allocated based on submission merit. 
In keeping with the Workshop on Obfuscation tradition of supporting artists and independent researchers, we have a limited number of stipends available. If you are an artist or independent researcher, please make sure you submission includes a funds request (including project description and production budget). We hope to provide stipends for 4-6 projects, with new works receiving €800 max and previosuly-produced works receiving a fixed amount of €400.

For any questions, comments or requests, you can reach us at
Please feel encouraged to share this call in your circles. We are looking forward to receiving your submissions and seeing you at the workshop!

WO 2017 Report

Sponsored by:

Organizing committee:

Ero Balsa (Cornell Tech)
Seda Gürses (TU Delft)
Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell Tech) 
Jara Rocha (Independent Researcher)