Syllabus: CSE 125, Technology and Policy

Jonathan M. Smith and Matthew A. Blaze

 

Have you ever wondered why sharing music and video generates such political and legal controversies? Is information on your PC safe and should law enforcement be able to access information you enter on the Web? Will new devices allow tracking of your every move and every purchase?

 

CSE 125 is focused on developing an understanding of existing and emerging technologies, along with the political, societal and economic impacts of those technologies. The technologies are spread across a number of engineering areas and each of them raise issues that are of current concern or are likely to be a future issue.

 

Readings are deliberately chosen to be provocative and possibly polarizing, with the goal of understanding the tensions that must be addressed in discussing the technology policies.   Each lecture is self-contained, and will start by introducing the technology at issue, explain some of its attractions and potential pitfalls, and continues into a discussion of policy choices.  This syllabus represents an initial version of the course topics and suggested readings to be covered in Spring 2007; however, it will evolve and respond to emerging technology and policy challenges.

 

The course has no formal pre-requisites, but it is expected that students will have a genuine curiosity and willingness to learn about technologies in sufficient detail to be capable of making well-reasoned policy judgments of their own, on both what is covered in the course and technologies they may encounter in the future.

Grades will be based on class participation, short written essays on each topic covered, as well as a significant final paper on an emerging technology and policy concerns associated with it.

 

Required Texts:

            Simson Garfinkel, “Database Nation”,

            Lawrence Lessig, “Code: Version 2.0

            David Brin, “The Transparent Society

            Neville Shute, “On the Beach

All of these books are available in paperback.

 

Topics (with associated background materials) for Spring Semester 2007 are:

 

Class 1: Digital Rights Management, Digital Content

http://www.dcita.gov.au/drm/

 

Class 2: Computer Security

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Security

 

Class 3: Network Security

            http://www.interhack.net/pubs/network-security/

 

Class 4: Economics of Security

            http://www.ftp.cl.cam.ac.uk/ftp/users/rja14/econ.pdf

 

Class 5: Privacy in Databases

            Garfinkel, “Database Nation”

 

Class 6: Healthcare Information and HIPPA

            Garfinkel, “Database Nation”

 

Class 7: Privacy and the Nation State

            Garfinkel, “Database Nation”

 

Class 8: Privacy and the Internet, Google

            Garfinkel, “Database Nation”

 

Class 9: Economics of Privacy, Price Discrimination

            http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/privacy.economics.pdf

 

Class 10: Electronic Voting Risks – Including Voter Registration

            Arbaugh, “The Real Risk of Digital Voting,” IEEE Computer

 

Class 11: Open Source Software and GPL

            Raymond, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”

 

Class 12: Software Patents

            http://www.bitlaw.com/software-patent/history.html

 

Class 13: Blogging and protections for Journalists

            http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/press/topic.aspx?topic=blogging

 

Class 14: Biometrics, Pervasive Cameras, “Lie Detectors”

            http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2004/08/04/mortal_gods/index.html

 

Class 15: Genetic Data, Customized Medicine, Insurance

            http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/313/7061/838/a

 

Class 16: Biotechnology, Systems Biology

http://www.systemsbiology.org/Intro_to_ISB_and_Systems_Biology

 

Class 17: Gene Therapies, Genetically-Modified Food

            http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/gmfood/overview.php

 

Class 18: Nanosystems and their risks

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html

http://www.bioethics.upenn.edu/nanotech/

 

Class 19: Traffic and Congestion Pricing

            http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004781.html

 

Class 20: Network Neutrality

            http://herot.typepad.com/cherot/2006/07/video_of_cerffa.html

 

 

 

Class 21: RF and Spectrum Management

            http://www.eetimes.com/news/latest/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=174900299

 

Class 22: Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID)

            http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/207

 

Class 25: Nuclear Weapons/Nuclear Energy

            Shute, “On the Beach”

http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb/nsam-160/pal.html

 

Class 26: Technological Risk Assessment

            http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/challenger-appendix.html

 

Class 27: Consumer Behavior and Novel Technologies

            http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4021/is_n2_v20/ai_20302953

 

Class 28: Technologies, Terrorism and Society

            http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/uploads/207/2003-04.pdf