Fall 2016: Foundations of Privacy

18-734 / 08-604


Professor: Anupam Datta
Office: B23 221, CMU Silicon Valley
Office Hours for Pittsburgh students: Monday 3pm - 4pm, on Google Hangout (details on Piazza).
Office Hours for SV students: Monday 12pm - 1pm, B23 221
Teaching Assistant: Lay Kuan Loh
Cubicle: CIC 2221E, CMU Pittsburgh
Office Hours for Pittsburgh students: Friday 1:30pm - 2:30pm, CIC 2206
Office Hours for SV students: Friday 10:30am - 11:30am, on Skype. Skype ID: loh2410.

Course Information

Location: HH 1107, CMU Pittsburgh
Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 4:30pm - 6:20pm
Recitation: Friday, 12:30pm - 1:20pm
Location: B23 212, CMU Silicon Valley
Lectures: Monday and Wednesday, 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Recitation: Friday, 9:30am - 10:20am

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 and targeted advertising).


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



Previous Offerings


Homework: 60%
5 homework assignments for the course in total
Lowest score dropped
5 late days to use in any way, 20% off per late day beyond that
Class Participation: 10%
Project: 30%
No late days allowed, talk to the instructors in exceptional circumstances


About wellness

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If you have questions about this or your coursework, please let us know.