Privacy Policy, Technology, and Law


Units: 12

Description: This course focuses on policy issues related to privacy from the perspectives of governments, organizations, and individuals. We will begin with a historical and philosophical study of privacy and then explore recent public policy issues. We will examine the privacy protections provided by laws and regulations, as well as the way technology can be used to protect privacy. We will emphasize technology-related privacy concerns and mitigation, for example: social networks, smartphones, behavioral advertising (and tools to prevent targeted advertising and tracking), anonymous communication systems, big data, and drones. This course is part of a three-course series of privacy courses offered as part of the MSIT-Privacy Engineering masters program. These courses may be taken in any order or simultaneously. Foundations of Privacy (offered in the Fall semester) offers more indepth coverage of technologies and algorithms used to reason about and protect privacy. Engineering Privacy in Software (offered in the Spring semester) focuses on the methods and tools needed to design systems for privacy. This course is intended primarily for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students (juniors and seniors) with some technical background. Programming skills are not required. 08-733, 19-608, and 95-818 are 12-unit courses for PhD students. Students enrolled under these course numbers will have extra assignments and will be expected to do a project suitable for publication. 8-533 is a 9-unit course for undergraduate students. Masters students may register for any of the course numbers permitted by their program. This course will include a lot of reading, writing, and class discussion. Students will be able to tailor their assignments to their skills and interests, focusing more on programming or writing papers as they see fit. However, all students will be expected to do some writing and some technical work. A large emphasis will be placed on research and communication skills, which will be taught throughout the course.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, students should: • Be able to discuss why privacy is important to society • Be familiar with the fair information practice principles as well as the privacy law and policy landscape in the United States • Understand the differences between privacy regulation in the US and EU, and be able to discuss different regulatory approaches to privacy • Be able to read, understand, and evaluate privacy policies • Understand the mechanics of online tracking and other technologies with privacy implications • Be able to communicate the privacy implications of a technology with policy-makers, lawyers, and engineers • Be prepared to pass the IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professional exams (These exams will be given on campus this spring. They will be offered free of charge to students who are IAPP student members. See )