Following Jiminy Cricket

Following Jiminy Cricket

Tanzima Hashem comes from Bangladesh and she is a Computer Science Engineer.

When she is only a child she is fascinated by her dad’s work: university teacher. He becomes her Jiminy Cricket who encourages her to build her career as a successful academician and researcher.

The time passes, and she becomes a young girl, she takes the exam to go to University and she is selected for admission into both the medical and the computer science engineering schools.

Friends and relative expect just one choice: she will become a doctor because in Bangladesh there is an unspoken rule for which engineering is not for females.  But, following her passion in mathematics and problem solving, she decides to study… Guess what? Engineering! She is lucky because she is supported by her parents. They tell her what every parent should tell “You should choice the subject that you prefer”.

And now she is a computer scientist, precisely an associate professor in the same department in which she graduated. After one year at the University of Melbourne, as Research Visitor she is back to Bangladesh. Her work could be summarized in a tweet as

“My research aim is to make technology usable and acceptable in solving real life problems, for the betterment of humanity.”

The aim of one Tanzima’s projects is to protect the privacy of people accessing location-based services, so she has developed some computational techniques. The main trouble is that a services provider could obtain the history of the user’s movements as well as when and where it was accessed.

Who has ever thought about our sensitive data? The answer is Tanzima. Privacy data is a huge concern, therefore it is necessary not only to develop technologies but also to find a way to protect user’s privacy, independently from the sector (habits, healthcare, et al.). She says:



“Research on privacy protection has a very high impact as privacy threats are now a global problem.”




She is a woman and she lives the problems of all women in the world: women face harassments on the street, on public transport and at public events. It is very difficult to speak about these experiences, but it is necessary, it is a kind of duty for us to help each other. To help kindly the harassed women who want  their privacy to be protected: thus, she developed an app that allows women to share their experiences.

My consideration: it is important to speak about this shit. No one deserve to be molested. And if something bad happened, you should go to the police and denounce the aggressor. It is hard but it is necessary, it will help you and subtract other women from hazards. Moreover, talking about the event help to make through the bad period and help other women who lived the same experience to not give up.

Tanzima developed another useful app starting from real problems – Workers in Bangladesh often live in poverty and are subjected to very poor working conditions in more than one sector, for example textile. They do not speak about this problems because they are scared to lose their jobs. But on the other hand, feedback could not be completely anonymous without regard for who submitted, to avoid false claims. So, she thought an amazing app which allow people to give workplace feedback in a privacy-preserving manner.

But Tanzima is also a mum: she loves playing with her daughter, Tanisha, and spending time with her family. Now her dream is to develop technology-assisted solution for the early detection of human disease and find the appropriate treatments for them. It’s not easy in a developing country as Bangladesh with lacking resources and research funds. But her advice is:

“Step up to challenges. If you have determination and put in sincere effort, no one can hold you back from the success!”


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