This is the webpage for a class from the PAST that
has ALREADY ENDED. Current class information is available here
- 11/29/17: On the off-chance anybody in this class wants to meet with me during office hours today, Wednesday, 11/29, I've delayed them to 2 - 3pm. Sorry if this inconveniences anyone.
- 11/21/17: I am holding "virtual" office hours on Wednesday, 11/22, at the usual time, 11:10 - 11:55 AM. I will log in for that hour via a Zoom chatroom, which you can visit using your computer, smartphone, or telephone. See Canvas for the link and phone number.
- 11/21/17: I have posted additional details about our 11/30 class and presentations--as well as a solicitation for two volunteers--to Canvas.
- 11/9/17: By Tuesday, November 28th, at 5pm, you must add two slides presenting your final term project to our shared slide show. The URL is available in Canvas. See the second slide for instructions.
- 11/4/17: I have posted the final reading for the semester, for Thursday, 11/9, below.
- 11/2/17: Just a reminder that this class is not meeting today. Please remember to turn in your Technical Data Processing Project to me by tomorrow, Friday, 11/3, at 5pm.
- 10/22/17: For the Technical Data Processing Project (due 11/3), a student noticed that neither problems 8 nor 9 specified what you're supposed to do with their output. I have clarified this and posted a new version (version 1.1) of the assignment below. Even if you've already finished the assignment, you shouldn't have to do much to alter your script to comply with these two new instructions. (Note, after posting this the first time, I updated it with version 1.2, fixing a few other ambiguities.)
- 10/21/17: I have posted the reading for 10/26, below. Remember that you must bring to class at least one set of saved data flows from mitmproxy for your technical term project (see the assignment for more details.) Many of you still haven't selected a topic (list here), which you should do as soon as possible.
- 10/19/17: Reminder: Just a reminder that we meet today across town at the offices of Palantir, at 1025 Thomas Jefferson St., NW, Suite 600, at 1:20 PM (Lunch at 12:30 PM). See the earlier post on Canvas for the full details.
- 10/14/17: I have posted the Technical Term Project test subjects that were reserved before the deconfliction cut-off here. Everybody who is not on this list must choose a test subject not on this list, one a first-come, first-served basis.
- 10/12/17: I have posted details regarding next week's trip to Palantir, on 10/19/17, including the assigned reading, to Canvas.
- 10/10/17: I have posted an updated, finalized copy of the syllabus, one you can rely on for the schedule and due dates for the rest of the term. (You can tell you have the latest version if it is marked "Version 0.99 (Final)" on the first page.) Please note two significant changes: FIRST, we WILL be meeting on 10/26 and WON'T be meeting on 11/2. I swapped those two dates. SECOND, your third (and final) graded assignment will be distributed in class this week and due on Friday, November 3rd, by 5pm.
- 10/2/17: Remember that the first, graded, Written Assignment is due this Friday, October 6th, by 5pm. You must send me your final draft via email, and you should ROT13 encode your name to protect anonymity. A student asked about word limits. As the assignment says, "You must write no fewer than 2000 words, counting footnotes". This is a minimum. You can write more than 2000 words, although please don't inundate me with many thousands more words than that! Finally, I recommend you don't bother with things like tables of content or authorities. Just cut to the chase of the argument.
- 9/30/17: I have posted the reading for week six, Thursday, October 12th, below. This is the longest reading of the year, so don't put it off until the last minute.
- 9/30/17: I have to cancel office hours this Wednesday, October 4th. Contrary to what I said in class, I will have office hours on Tuesday, October 3rd, so you have one more chance to talk to me in person about your written assignments before they are due.
- 9/28/17: I have posted Problem Set Three (due 10/12), which will be distributed in class today. I have also created a document under the "Pages" section of Canvas that summarizes all of the virtual machine commands we have used.
- 9/26/17: As many of you have no doubt have already noticed, I never posted reading for Tech of Privacy this week. I could pretend that this is all some master, pedagogical plan. But the truth is I just forgot! I'll figure out a way to bring in the topics I had intended to introduce through reading, through some other method. But come to class anyway, and we'll make do without reading. Enjoy the light week!
- 9/15/17: Posted reading for week four.
- 9/14/17: I need to cancel both of my office hours next week, on both Tuesday, 9/19, and Wednesday, 9/20. Feel free to contact me via email with your questions.
- 9/8/17: Posted reading for week three. You must have a working VM in VirtualBox before class begins!
- 9/7/17: Posted problem set two (due 9/14) and the graded, Written Assignment (due 10/6). Reading for week three will be posted on Friday.
- 8/31/17: Posted syllabus, problem set one (due 9/7), and reading for week 2. You will find the link to download our class's virtual machine and the instructions on how to install it on the Canvas page.
- 8/17/17: Posted class web page, first reading, and ssh exercise for first class.
What you should know about this class
- This won't be a typical law school class. First, the class will focus a lot on technology and technology policy and not a lot on legal doctrine.
- The reading for the class is expected to be comparable in
quantity to a typical law school seminar, meaning approximately 30
to 50 pages per week. Assigned reading for the first class is posted
below. The assignments for the rest of the term will be posted
The syllabus for the course is available in PDF or MS Word file formats. ("Final" version 0.99 posted October 10th.)
The only required text is a book, which the author has made available online for free. It is:
William E. Shotts, Jr., The Linux Command Line (No Starch Press 2012), available for download at http://linuxcommand.org/tlcl.php or here.
You can also buy a nicely printed copy of the book from the law school bookstore or online retailers (ISBN-13: 978-1593273897).
Reading for Week One, Thursday, August 31, 2017
For the first class, the readings fit into three categories:
In addition to the reading, follow these instructions to try to locate or install the ssh program on your personal computer.
Earlier in this space, we mentioned that we would provide instructions for you to install VirtualBox. Those instructions aren't ready yet, so don't worry about installing this before class. We'll ask you to install it next week instead.
Reading for Week Two, Thursday September 7th
- The relationship between technological change and policy.
- Encryption: History, Technology, Famous Conflicts, and Policy.
- Tom's IT Pro, A Visual History of Cryptography and Encryption, September 26, 2012 (view all 17 slides and read captions) (optional: slightly more detailed version of similar material available here).
- Excerpt from Cryptography for Dummies (may be review for some of you)
- As a small window into how encryption figures into some modern law and policy debates, consider these two short takes on the "going dark" problem, which give you only a narrow sliver into this multi-faceted debate.
- Introduction to Linux:
- From the required text: William E. Shotts. Jr., The Linux Command Line, Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2, pp. xxv-xxix and 3-11.
Reading and Assignments for Week Three: Thursday, September 14, 2017
- The Theory of Privacy
- The commercial impetus
- Julia Angwin, The Web's New Gold Mine: Your Secrets, WALL ST. J., July 30, 2010, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703940904575395073512989404.html. (If you hit the paywall, use this mirror instead.)
- Natasha Singer, Your Online Attention, Bought in an Instant, N.Y. Times, Nov. 17, 2012, at BU1, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/technology/your-online-attention-bought-in-an-instant-by-advertisers.html?pagewanted=all
- BlueKai Registry: Scroll down to see what this ad network knows about you. Try visiting this from different browsers and different computers/devices.
- Cookie primers
- Lou Montulli, The Reasoning Behind Web Cookies, (original offline; this links to a mirror copy)
- Cookies: Frequently Asked Questions, AboutCookies.org, http://www.aboutcookies.org/cookie-faq/ (a teachable moment: to comply with the EU's cookie directive rules, this link might not load the first time you click it. If you don't find the FAQ, just try clicking on this a second time.)
- As a translation exercise, read certain sections of the IETF Standards document defining cookies: RFC 6265
- http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6265 Read only the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, 3. Overview (skim), 7. Privacy Considerations (skim), and 8. Security Considerations (skim)
- More from Linux Command Line
- William E. Shotts, The Linux Command Line, Chapters 3 - 6 pp. 13-58
- Finally, you must download the virtual machine and the instructions for how to install it using VirtualBox. You will find the link for all of this on Canvas.
- Don't forget to attempt and submit Problem Set One before class.
Log files, and how they are parsed
William J. Turkel, Basic Text Analysis with Command Line Tools in Linux, June 15, 2013, http://williamjturkel.net/2013/06/15/basic-text-analysis-with-command-line-tools-in-linux/
Mitmproxy and TOR
- You must have a working VM in VirtualBox before class begins. Once again, the instructions are posted in a Powerpoint hosted on our Box.com site. Consult Canvas for the details. Please attempt to install this early enough in the week to allow you to visit office hours if you can't figure it out.
- Intro material
Complete Problem Set Two.
Finally, we are likely to discuss the readings on "The relationship between technological change and policy" assigned in week one (above), particularly the articles by Kerr and Surden. You should reacquaint yourself with those two readings.
Reading for Week Four, Thursday, September 21, 2017
- Paul Ohm, An Internet X-Ray Machine for the Masses, Jotwell blog, June 12, 2015, http://cyber.jotwell.com/an-internet-x-ray-machine-for-the-masses/
- Philipp Heckel, How To: Use mitmproxy to read and modify HTTPS traffic, Philipp's Tech Blog, July 1, 2013, http://blog.philippheckel.com/2013/07/01/how-to-use-mitmproxy-to-read-and-modify-https-traffic-of-your-phone/
- Tor Project, Tor: Overview, https://www.torproject.org/about/overview
Week Five: Thursday, September 28, 2017: More mitmproxy and the Going Dark debate
Thursday, October 5, 2017: No Class.
Week Six: Thursday, October 12, 2017: Geolocation Technology and Carpenter
- Like it or not, we'll finally get our virtual machines running this week, one way or another. As we instructed in class, switch "Bridged" networking to "NAT" (not "NAT Network") networking and see if you can boot into your VM. (For some background into what these settings mean, see this blog post.) From the shell, try these two commands "ping 22.214.171.124" and "ping google.com" to verify that you are connected to the Internet (Control-C will break out of ping.). If you can't figure this out, please come to Sabrina's or Charlie's office hours (remember that Prof. Ohm's are canceled this week).
- In general, we will spend most of the week digging more deeply into the same topics we covered last week. Reacquaint yourself with all of last week's reading, in particular the materials on "Mitmproxy and TOR".
- In addition, we will spend a little time rounding out your knowledge of how the Internet works with a few more readings designed for the lay reader:
- Chris Gonyea, DNS: Why It's Important & How It Works, Dyn, August 25, 2010, http://dyn.com/blog/dns-why-its-important-how-it-works/
- You can learn a lot about particular domain names and IP addresses using publicly available tools. Try out some of the tools at DNSstuff
- Three primers written by Lawrence Abrams for the website Bleeping Computer:
- Finally, we will be reviewing some basic text processing skills this week. A core skill is called "regular expression" searching. Learning how to use regular expresssions is akin to learning a mini-computer-programming language, and in this class, we will have time only to scratch the surface. To familiarize yourself with regular expressions and how they are used in Linux:
- Read Chapters 19 (Regular Expressions) and 20 (Text Processing) from the Shotts book.
- Do Lessons 1 through 10 from the regexone.com website.
- Play a little with regexr.com, an interactive website that uses color-coding to show the power of regular expressions.
Week Seven: Thursday, October 19, 2017: Trip to Palantir
For details about the trip to Palantir, including the assigned reading, see the announcement on Canvas.
Week Eight: Thursday, October 26, 2017: Machine Learning and the Increasing Power of Inference
- Reader on Geolocation Technology, the Fourth Amendment, and the Supreme Court (41 pages): (word) (pdf).
- Spend a few minutes playing with this animated visualization of data collected by a german cell phone company of one german legislator.
- John Brownlee, This Creepy App Isn't Just Stalking Women Without Your Knowledge, It's a Wake-Up Call About Facebook Privacy, CultofMac.com, March 30, 2012.
- Mat Honan, How Trusting in Vice Led to John McAfee's Downfall, Wired.com, Dec. 6, 2012.
- Skim Kevin Bankston and Ashkan Soltani, Tiny Constables and the Cost of Surveillance: Making Cents Out of United States v. Jones, 123 Yale L.J. Online, 335 (2014).
Week Nine: Thursday, November 9, 2017: More Machine Learning and Ad-Block Lists
- Liza Daly, AI Literacy: The basics of machine learning: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
- Charles Duhigg, How Companies Learn Your Secrets, N.Y. Times, Feb. 16, 2012.
- Excerpt from Paul Ohm, Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization, 57 UCLA Law Review 1701 (2010).
- Excerpt from Felix Wu, Privacy and Utility in Data Sets, 84 Colo. L. Rev. 117 (2013) (word format).
- Excerpt from Paul Schwartz & Dan Solove, The PII Problem: Privacy and a New Concept of Personally Identifiable Information, 86 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 1814 (2011) (word format).
- Identifying Third-Party Trackers with Ad-Block Lists
- As a further aid to your final projects, we will be looking at two lists used widely by the AdBlocking community to identify internet sources known for advertising or tracking. These lists are known as EasyList and EasyPrivacy and they are hosted here. Read the material posted at that page and click on each of the two lists to get a feel for what they look like.
- We will be playing with these files in class. To help you understand their formats, read these three pages:
- More Machine Learning and Big Data Ethics
We will continue our study of machine learning, thinking about how it raises questions about fairness and ethics:
- First, here are a few more primers about the BigML system we started to play with last class. Be sure you remember the username and password you created on this site:
- Second, here are three great recent discussions about fairness and ethics in machine learning. These are long and detailed, so feel free to skim:
- Excerpt from Solon Barocas and Andrew Selbst, Big Data's Disparate Impact, 104 Cal. L. Rev. 671 (2016).
- Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu, and Lauren Kirchner, Machine Bias, ProPublica, May 23, 2016.
- Sam Corbett-Davies, Emma Pierson, Avi Feller, and Sharad Goel, A computer program used for bail and sentencing decisions was labeled biased against blacks. It's actually not that clear., Washington Post, Oct. 17, 2016.
Instructions for submitting the first two graded assignments.:
- Send them to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- I will send you a confirmation of receipt.
- DO NOT PLACE YOUR NAME ANYWHERE ON THE PAPER, INCLUDING ON THE FILENAME. INSTEAD, USE THE ROT13-ENCODED VERSION OF YOUR NAME WITHOUT SPACES. FEEL FREE TO INCLUDE OTHER WORDS WITH YOUR NAME IF YOU FEEL THAT YOUR NAME LENGTH IS EASILY REIDENTIFIABLE. Here is an online form for generating ROT13.
Other Class Materials