COMS BC 3420 Privacy in a Networked World
COMS BC 3420 Privacy in a Networked World
| Time: || Thursdays, 4:10pm - 6:00pm
| Location: || Milstein LL016 |
Waiting List - last update 1/10/2022
This class has only 24 slots, and has been very popular. This
semester, I am handling the waitlist as an instructor-controlled
waiting list. Priority will be given to seniors, and half of the
seats will be reserved for Barnard students. To be considered for
being let into the class, please join the waiting list AND fill out
the form at https://forms.gle/4SEptFZ8DVW3xRGT9, which asks three
questions about your interest in the class. Based on the strength of
your answers and looking to ensure we have a multidisciplinary
perspective in the class, as well as prioritizing seniority and
reserving half of the available slots for Barnard students (assuming
sufficient demand), I will make an initial round of enrollments from
the waitlist on November 22, considering all responses that have been
received by 11:59pm ET on November 21. I will provide updates here from
time to time, with the goal of helping students plan.
Update 1/10/2022: I made an initial round of enrollments from the waiting list in November, and there were a couple of students who dropped since then and have been replaced by students from the waitlist. During this week and until the deadline to add classes on January 28, additional assignments will be made as people in the class drop, still considering responses to "assignment 0" (form at https://forms.gle/4SEptFZ8DVW3xRGT9). Based on past experience, I still expect a fair bit of turnover even though there hasn't been any yet. That said, I think it is extremely unlikely that any sophomores or first-years will be admitted (though anything is possible). If you have been admitted to the class and no longer want to take it, please drop the class as soon as possible to make room for others.
Prof. Wright's open office hours: typically Wednesdays 2-4pm for Spring 2022, but sometimes rescheduled. Complete schedule of office hours.
The ubiquity of computers and networks in business, government, recreation, and almost all aspects of daily life has led to a proliferation of online sensitive data: data that, if used improperly, can harm the data subjects. As a result, concern about the use, ownership, control, privacy, and accuracy of these data has become a top priority. This seminar course focuses on the technical challenges of handling sensitive data, the privacy implications of various technologies, and the policy and legal issues facing data subjects, data owners, and data users.
Specific topics to be discussed include:
This course is suitable for computer science majors and non-majors,
and we take a multidisciplinary approach to privacy. Coding background
is not required. Course readings draw on a variety of sources,
including both technical materials and the popular press. The course
includes a student-chosen privacy-related project. Projects are largely
student-directed, and can include activities such as a programming
project, a design proposal for a new privacy solution, a survey
article describing the state of the art in a particular area, a public
policy or legal argument, or an article suitable for the popular
- what is privacy?
- technology-specific issues (online social media, the Internet of Things, information consolidation, personalization, Internet commerce and payment technologies, ...)
- sector-specific issues (healthcare, finance, national security, Internet applications, Census data, ...)
- privacy legislation
- privacy in the attention economy
- fair information principles
- when cryptography can and cannot help
- anonymity vs. pseudonymity
- differential privacy
- deidentification and risks of reidentification
- tools for privacy management
- public information and privacy
We start each class with a discussion of a privacy-related case
study. For each, we frame our discussion around a series of
specific questions, which you can find in the Courseworks site for the
class. Two of your assignments are to present your own case
studies. Some student case studies may be used during class as
Students will be able to:
- demonstrate understanding of privacy issues associated with various technologies and their use.
- compare and contrast different approaches to privacy, and identify examples of when different approaches are relevant.
- develop, refine, and execute a privacy-related project based on feedback and iteration.
- evaluate the potential tradeoffs of privacy and other properties such as usability, transparency, profitability.
Additional Course Information
Additional course information, including a detailed syllabus, reading list, and information about grading, will be available for enrolled students via Courseworks.