Projects in Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Course Number: 14-813

Department: Information Networking Institute

Location: Pittsburgh

Units: 12

Semester Offered: Spring

Data protection has become too cumbersome for citizens to manage on their own. One response to technologies that erode privacy and security is to craft new technologies to protect privacy and security. In this course we will learn how Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETS) fit into the larger privacy landscape, discuss challenges faced by authors and users of privacy and security tools, and identify several common categories of PETS. We will evaluate several existing PETS as a class: what is their audience, how well do they work in practice, what usability issues do they present, and how well do they work technically? You will then work individually or in small teams of your choice. Students will select existing PETS to perform analysis of audience, usability, and technical reliability. After identifying deficiencies, students will suggest improvements, implement a subset of those improvements, then perform human subjects or other technical research to validate their proposed changes actually do improve upon the existing PETS. Where possible, students will make suggestions back to the PETS developers.

Class format

Lecture and project-based

Home department

INI

Target audience

INI students

Background required

Programming skills are useful but not required as students can contribute in a variety of additional ways including documentation, installation packages, or user interfaces. A basic understanding of Internet and networking technologies is assumed.

Learning objectives

  • learn how Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETS) fit into the larger privacy landscape
  • discuss challenges faced by authors and users of privacy and security tools
  • identify several common categories of PETS

Faculty and instructors who have taught this course in the past

Aleecia McDonald