Privacy in the Digital Age - CS 5436 / INFO 5303

This course surveys the current state of digital privacy from multiple perspectives, including technology, philosophy, ethics, law, and policy. Privacy poses equally difficult challenges to technologists, policy makers, and ethicists. They must understand what privacy means in their respective domains, as well as the mutual impacts of the domains on one another. The course will review key technologies, including web and mobile tracking, location tracking, privacy engineering, data analytics and differential privacy, facial recognition, and more. It will also introduce students to different approaches to privacy, including technical, empirical, legal, and ethical. When addressing privacy threats in these areas, as well as potential solutions, the course sets out to pair a review of relevant technologies with a review of associated considerations in law and policy, ethics, and social sciences.


Textbook: Nissenbaum. "Privacy in Context".


Feb 9. Course overview. Feb 11. Web tracking. Feb 16. Cross-device tracking. Feb 18. Behavioral (surveillance) advertising. Feb 23. Ethical and philosophical approaches to privacy. Feb 25. Mobile app tracking. Mar 2. Location privacy. Mar 4. Puzzles and paradoxes of "standard" definitions of privacy.
  • Reading: PIC Chapter 6.
Mar 9. No class.
Mar 11. Contextual integrity (Part 1).
  • Reading: PIC Chapter 7.
Mar 16. End-2-end secure communications and the "going dark" debate. Mar 18. Anonymity networks and censorship resistance. Mar 23. Contextual integrity (Part 2). Mar 25. Data anonymization and re-identification. Mar 30. U.S. legal landscape. Apr 1. The Fourth Amendment: Salome Viljoen. Apr 6. The threat of "big data". Apr 8. Privacy-preserving data analytics and differential privacy. Apr 13. Paula Kift (EU Data Protection Lead, Palantir).
Apr 15. Behavioral studies of privacy: Laura Brandimarte (U. of Arizona). Apr 20. Privacy policies. Apr 22. Privacy by design: Ero Balsa. Apr 27. Federated learning. Privacy issues in machine learning. Apr 29. Face recognition. Privacy of biometrics. May 4. Usable privacy: Xinru Page (BYU). May 6. Chrome privacy sandbox: Vinay Goel, Michael Kleber (Google).
May 11. Genomic privacy. May 13. "Smart home" and IoT privacy.




Spring 2021
Tu Th 10:25-11:40a
Helen Nissenbaum

Vitaly Shmatikov

TA: Eugene Bagdasaryan

TA: Julia Len