Foundations of Privacy


Instructor: Anupam Datta
Office hours:
For SV students - Monday 3-4PM PDT (in Building 23, Room 208)
For Pittsburgh students: Tuesday 3:30-4:30PM EDT (on Skype)

TA: Amit Datta
Office hours: Monday 1:30PM-2:30PM EDT (in CIC 2312 & on Skype)

Course hours:        Mon,Wed:   04:30-06:20PM EDT (01:30-3:20PM PDT)
Recitation hours:   Fri:              12:30-01:20PM EDT (09:30AM-12:20PM PDT)
Location:                HH1107 (Pittsburgh), B23 212/211 (SV)

Course Description:

Privacy is a significant concern in modern society. Individuals share personal information with many different organizations - healthcare, financial and educational institutions, the census bureau, Web services providers and online social networks - often in electronic form. Privacy violations occur when such personal information is inappropriately collected, shared or used. We will study privacy in a few settings where rigorous definitions and enforcement mechanisms are being developed - statistical disclosure limitation (as may be used by the census bureau in releasing statistics), semantics and logical specification of privacy policies that constrain information flow and use (e.g., by privacy regulations such as the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), principled audit and accountability mechanisms for enforcing privacy policies, anonymous communication protocols - and other settings in which privacy concerns have prompted much research, such as in social networks, location privacy and Web privacy (in particular, online tracking & targeted advertising).

Prerequisite: An undergraduate course equivalent to 15-251 or permission of instructor.


Piazza link: 18734
Blackboard link: CMU Blackboard

Previous Offerings: Fall 2014, Fall 2013


      Homework: 60%

      Reading and class participation: 10%     

      Project: 30%