Privacy versus In-your-face Big Government

HONR 239R - Spring 2014

Satisfies CORE Interdisciplinary and Emerging Issues (IE) requirement.
Satisfies GenEd Distributive Studies Scholarship in Practice requirement.
Meets TuTh 3:30PM - 4:45PM in CSI 3120

For more information contact Prof. James Purtilo (purtilo *at* Office 4437 AV Williams Building, phone extension x52706.

This course is intended to tour many competing technologies and specifically evaluate their interplay with both enumerated and natural rights. We will study the role of computers in this balancing act and try to understand the dynamics of privacy.

A class project will be to compile a taxonomy of specific sorts of information that the state (as a case study) routinely maintains on its citizens. We will require a term paper (or project) evaluating a relevant technology in depth, illustrating its application and potential for abuse. Research on these topics may involve use of the MPIA or FOIA to track how government tracks us and evaluate government’s sensitivities to its privacy. Grading will be based on these work products as well as on the small number of exams and quizzes. All submitted material may be graded, but weighting may vary. We anticipate grading will be 20% final project; 20% final exam; 20% mid terms/quizes; and 40% short writing or technical assignments during the semester.

We meet twice weekly for lecture and discussion (in seminar style) in which active participation is required. Discourse on rights should never be a spectator sport!

The courtesy of on-time attendance is expected, as is active participation in class discussion and activities. Because we anticipate having guest speakers throughout the semester, we remind students that we all represent the University in how we treat our visitors. Professional and scholarly decorum will be given and expected at all times. The nature of a course that vets hard social policy is that hard views may sometimes be shared - this is natural! We will nevertheless share views in the fashion of scholars, and treat all participants and groups with appropriate respect.

Late deliverables typically receive no credit. Students shall respect the intellectual property rights of others at all times, and shall not submit any resources, software, documents or other artifacts in violation of a copyright, or for which a copyright infringement would result by the instructors accessing, grading or using those materials in whole or in part. Students own their own intellectual work product (consistent with campus policy) but shall grant a permanent, non-exclusive right to the instructor to access and use these classroom materials (with attribution.) Students may submit projects containing artifacts or materials that are subject to separate licensing agreements (e.g., “shareware”) but only by explicit advance approval from the instructors.

Attempts to falsely represent the correctness of your work, or to delay other members of the class from completing an assignment, or to disrupt computing services for either students or faculty, or to have project deliverables derive from the efforts of others outside the class (except as explicitly arranged with the instructor – since, after all, reuse of program libraries is a way to, in effect, rely upon the efforts of others) will be considered forms of academic dishonesty.

No permission is given for students to record video or audio of class lectures. The instructor reserves the right to record class lectures and activities, and posts this notice that all activities should be treated as if recording is in progress.

Except by prior arrangement, we expect your phones and computers to be turned off during class. We want to see you engaged with the class, not the back side of your computer while you surf! Use of these devices will be treated as the classroom disruption that they are.

Students claiming a excused absence must apply in writing and furnish documentary support (such as from a health care professional who treated the student) for any assertion that the absence qualifies as an excused absence. The support should explicitly indicate the dates or times the student was incapacitated due to illness. An instructor is not under obligation to offer a substitute assignment or to give a student a make-up assessment unless the failure to perform was due to an excused absence.

Requests for correction to grades on an assignment should be made within one week of the initial distribution that assignment's grades to students. Any student eligible for and requesting reasonable academic accommodations due to a disability should provide to the instructor a letter of accommodation from the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) within the first two weeks of the semester.