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Rahul Telang - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Rahul Telang

Trustees Professor and Program Chair | Carnegie Mellon University


Rahul Telang is interested in how information and communication technologies (ICTs) information impact consumers, business and policies.


Rahul Telang is broadly interested in how information and communication technologies (ICTs) and associated digitization of information impact consumers, business and policies. Recently, he has been working on issues around the future of work, value of users' skills and skill training. His examination of the digital media industry has focused on how digitization (and associated piracy) in copyrighted industries is affecting the incentives of content provider, distributors and users. His research is directed towards understanding and shaping an optimal copyright and intellectual property policy in the Digitization Era. He has worked in the space of economics of information security and privacy. His key interest is in understanding the incentives of various parties (users, firms and hackers), why markets fail, how to create a useful policy framework and how to measure the effectiveness of such policies. His work explored the controversy surrounding vulnerability disclosure, vulnerability markets and their role in generating optimal outcomes. He has been examining the role of data breach disclosure laws on identity thefts. He is also part of Cylab and Institute for Infrastructure Protection (I3P). He also worked on a large NSA funded project on examining home users’ security and privacy behavior.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Digitization of Information

Intellectual Properity Policy

Market Failures



Vulnerability Markets

Vulnerability Disclosure

Media Appearances (5)

Hollywood plunges into all-out war on the heels of pandemic and a streaming revolution

ABC News  online


Rahul Telang, a Carnegie Mellon University professor and co-author of the book “Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment,” says an entire era of change was condensed into two years. “What is happening right now was bound to happen. With streaming, the whole business got disrupted,” says Telang. “So naturally, they’re complaining, ‘We need our fair share.’ But how do you decide what’s a fair share? There has to be a transparency about where the money is coming from and where it’s going. Until this gets resolved, this issue will keep coming up.”

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Ransomware, a love story

Lenovo Late Night I.T.  online


Ransomware attacks have reached record levels, and the breaches aren’t letting up. Two cybersecurity heavyweights talk threat intelligence, business continuity, crime as a service, and the unexpected upside of ransomware.

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Is the cookie web tracker dying?

TheNextWeb  online


“When advertisements became popular, especially with Google and all these ad markets, then there was more momentum toward finding and tracking data because the advertising had to be personalized,” said Rahul Telang, a professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University.

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What You Need To Know About Dark Data

Forbes  online


The concept of dark data sounds ominous, even sinister. But it is very important in the technology world. “To make it more relatable, dark data is like all of the photos on your devices,” said Sky Cassidy, who is the CEO of MountainTop Data. “Most of them will never be used or even viewed again, but they are there. So as for dark data, it’s all the information companies collect in their regular business processes, don’t use, have no plans to use, but will never throw out. It’s web logs, visitor tracking data, surveillance footage, email correspondences from past employees, and so much more.” For most companies, there is usually an enormous amount of dark data. According to Rahul Telang, who is the professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, its about 90% or so.

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Success Of Net Neutrality Lawsuit Depends On Role Of Precedent In FCC Decisions

90.5 WESA  online


However, professor of information systems management at Carnegie Mellon University Rahul Telang said he believes that the FCC will be successful. Rahul explained that in the initial installation of net neutrality in 2015, the Obama administration FCC exercised their right to label the internet as a telecommunication service, which requires heavy regulation. The current FCC has done the same thing, instead labeling the internet as an information system, which is lightly regulated.

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Rahul Telang Publication




Streaming, Sharing, Stealing | Michael D. Smith, Rahul Telang | Talks at Google Piracy & Security panel Towards an Understanding of Cross Channel Consumption Patterns of Media Content, Rahul Telang



Industry Expertise (4)

Information Technology and Services

Media - Online



Education (4)

Carnegie Mellon University: Ph.D., Industrial Administration (Information Systems) 2002

Carnegie Mellon University: M.S., Industrial Administration (Information Systems) 1999

Indian Institute of Foreign Trade: M.B.A. 1997

Birla Institute of Technology and Science: B.E., Electrical and Electronic Engineering 1994

Articles (5)

The consequences of rating inflation on platforms: Evidence from a quasi-experiment

Information Systems Research

2023 Informative online ratings enable digital platforms to reduce the search cost for buyers to find good sellers. However, rating inflation, a phenomenon in which average rating increases and rating variance across listings decreases, threatens the informativeness of ratings. We empirically identify the consequences of rating inflation by conducting a quasi-experiment with a digital platform that exogenously changed its rating display rule in a treated neighborhood, which resulted in rating inflation.

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Incentive misalignments in programmatic advertising: Evidence from a randomized field experiment

Management Science

2023 In programmatic advertising, firms outsource the bidding for ad impressions to ad platforms. Although firms are interested in targeting consumers that respond positively to advertising, ad platforms are usually rewarded for targeting consumers with high overall purchase probability. We develop a theoretical model that shows if consumers with high baseline purchase probability respond more positively to advertising, then firms and ad platforms agree on which consumers to target. If, conversely, consumers with low baseline purchase probability are the ones for which ads work best, then ad platforms target consumers that firms do not want to target—the incentives are misaligned.

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The impact of ride-hailing services on congestion: Evidence from indian cities

Manufacturing & Service Operations Management

2023 Problem definition: Early research has documented significant growth in ride-hailing services worldwide and allied benefits. However, growing evidence of their negative externalities is leading to significant policy scrutiny. Despite demonstrated socioeconomic benefits and consumer surplus worth billions of dollars, cities are choosing to curb these services in a bid to mitigate first order urban mobility problems. Existing studies on the congestion effects of ride-hailing are limited, report mixed evidence, and exclusively focus on the United States, where the supply consists primarily of part-time drivers.

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Frontiers: virus shook the streaming star: estimating the COVID-19 impact on music consumption

Marketing Science

2022 Many have speculated that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a surge in the use of online streaming services. However, this assumption has not been closely examined for music streaming services, the consumption patterns of which can be different from video streaming services. To provide insights into this question, we analyze Spotify’s streaming data for the weekly top 200 songs for two years in 60 countries between June 2018 and May 2020, along with varying lockdown policies and detailed daily mobility information from Google.

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When TV Becomes a Stream: Content Decisions of a Video On Demand Service


2020 Entertainment television today is being increasingly consumed via online video on demand (VOD) services. A VOD service is less constrained compared to the traditional (linear) TV in terms of the number of programs it can simultaneously offer, allowing its viewers to watch a program at a time of their choice. On the one hand, offering more programs can dilute the quality of the offered programs; while on the other, the service benefits from the time flexibility that viewers now have on their side. n this paper, we theoretically study how the ‘on-demand’feature affects the number of programs and the investment in their qualities (by a monopolist) when viewers are heterogeneous in their keenness to watch television programs, their preferred genre (taste preference) and, importantly, their preferred time to watch the programs (time preference).

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