TIME: MW 2:40-3:55
ROOM: 310 Fayerweather

Computers are heavily entwined in almost everything we do. Their use is not an unmixed blessing. For example, we can get our news from many free, online sources—but their existence is threatening the existence of the newspapers that employ the reporters who gather the news. Social media are a great way to interact—but they can threaten personal privacy. This course will explore such issues and more. It will be a combination of lecture and seminar; discussion and opinions are strongly encouraged.


All readings will be from primary sources. There is no textbook.

My blog will often be relevant.

The Risks Digest

Please become a regular reader of the Risks Digest, using any of the mechanisms listed. Note that it appears irregularly; you can't poll it once a week or some such.

IAs and Office Hours

Daniel Schwartz d.schwartz@columbia...Thursday 3-4
Joshua Zweig jmz2135@columbia...Tuesday 3:30-4:30
Joanne Kim jk3740@barnard...Monday 12-1
Ikya Jupudy ij2205@columbia...Wednesday 7-8pm

All office hours are in the TA room: Mudd 122A


No computer science background is required, other than the usual familiarity with the Internet. An open mind and a willing to discuss things are strongly preferred.

Homework Policy

There will be one paper for each major unit. The lowest grade will be dropped.

Late assignments are subject to increasing penalties. There are no grace days or "free lates". See the slides from the first class for details.


There are no exams. Final grades are curved.


Unless there is significant sentiment to the contrary, I will not use Courseworks except for the gradebook and the discussion list. All lectures and homework assignments will be posted on this web site.