Course Details

Course CSC 495/591 - Privacy, Spring 2019
Meeting Location 2236 EB3
Meeting Times Tu/Th 8:30am-9:45am
Credits 3
Instructor Anupam Das
Office 3296 EB2
Phone TBA
Office Hours Tu/Th 2pm-4pm
Class Forum Class discussion will take place on Piazza

Course Resources

You can find the class schedule and all slides from the lectures here.
We will use Piazza for our communication.

Course Prerequisites

Prerequisites: CSC 316 (ST 370 is recommended)
Informal: You need to have understanding on (1) basic concepts on statistics and probability and (2) basics of systems implementation (e.g., web, distributed systems, networking, etc.). If you do not have a basic understanding of these areas, you may have difficulty with certain parts of the course. If you have questions regarding these prerequisites, please contact the instructor.


Privacy is a growing concern in our modern society. We interact and share our personal information with a wide variety of organizations, including financial and healthcare institutions, web service providers and social networks. Many times such personal information is inappropriately collected, used or shared, often without our awareness. This course introduces privacy in a broad sense, with the aim of providing students an overview of the challenging and emerging research topics in privacy.

This course will expose students to many of the issues that privacy engineers, program managers, researchers and designers deal with in industry. By the end of the course, students will learn about the following areas in privacy:

Textbooks and Reading Material

This course has no formal textbook. The course readings will come from online book chapters, seminal papers, and other informative sources. Slides will serve as the main reading resource summarizing the lecture content.

Here are some useful online books that provide additional information:

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

Course Structure and Grading

The course will consist of one midterm, one final, five home assignments (best four will be considered), a class project (groups of 2-3 maybe allowed based on the particular project selected) and a few pop quizzes. The final grade will be composed differently for undergradaute (those enrolled under CSC 495) and graduate level students (those enrolled under CSC 591) as shown below:

Students enrolled under CSC 495 Students enrolled under CSC 591
20% Homework Assignments 20% Homework Assignments
20% Midterm Exam 15% Midterm Exam
20% Final Exam 15% Final Exam
30% Class Project 40% Class Project
10% Pop Quizzes 10% Pop Quizzes

The final letter grade will be based on the final percentage as follows:

A+ <= 96% < A <= 92% < A- <= 88% < B+ <= 84% < B <= 80% < B- <= 76% < C+ <= 72% < C <= 68% < C- <= 64% < D+ <= 60% < D <= 56% < D- <= 52% < F

REG 02.50.03 (Grades and Grade Point Average) describes the grade point interpretation of letter grades.

Homework Assignments

The instructor will assign homework on a periodic basis for topics associated with the class syllabus. These homeworks require the students to write, program, or perform other basic research. The content and due dates of these assignments will be decided over the course of the semester. If you cannot attend a lecture, contact other students to see if any assignments have been published and consult the syllabus. Students enrolled under CSC 591 (graduate-level) are expected to do additional tasks in each assignment.

Class Project

The class project will require students to conduct researches relate to the course material. Students may opt to work solely or in groups of two or three depending on the scope of the project. Students can suggest their own projects or choose one from here. The main objective of the project is to provide students with hands-on experience with real-world privacy problems. Some projects will involve analyzing user data while others may involve developing a system for such data collection. High quality works will potentially lead to conference papers. Students will be expected to submit a project report (8-10 pages) before the end of the semester. Project scope and deliverables for graduate-level students (CSC 591) will be higher.

Pop Quizzes

Pop quizzes will be held at the end of certain classes and will cover topics from that day's class lecture and required reading. It is strongly suggested that students do the reading prior to attending the class. Quizzes missed because of absences can not be made up unless arrangements are made with the instructor prior to the course meeting. Only a handful of pop quizzes will be held.

Policies on Incomplete Grades

If an extended deadline is not authorized by the instructor or department, an unfinished incomplete grade will automatically change to an F after either (a) the end of the next regular semester in which the student is enrolled (not including summer sessions), or (b) the end of 12 months if the student is not enrolled, whichever is shorter. Incompletes that change to F will count as an attempted course on transcripts. The burden of fulfilling an incomplete grade is the responsibility of the student. The university policy on incomplete grades is located at

Weekly Course Schedule

See the course schedule. Note that the schedule is subject to change as the semester evolves.

Late Policy

No late assignments will be accepted. Students with legitimate reasons who contact the professor before the deadline may apply for an extension.

Communications Policy

Announcements and online class discussion will occur via Piazza. It is the responsibility of the student to sign up for an account. Questions to the instructor or TA should occur in Piazza unless there is a reason not to. The instructor or the TA will do their best to respond to questions in Piazza within 24 hours. When appropriate, make the question viewable to everyone so that the answer can benefit all students. For sensitive matters (e.g., grading), email the instructor and/or TA. Whenever emailing the TA about grading concerns, please CC the instructor.

Electronically-Hosted Course Components

Students may be required to disclose personally identifiable information to other students in the course, via electronic tools like email or web-postings, where relevant to the course. Examples include online discussions of class topics, and posting of student coursework. All students are expected to respect the privacy of each other by not sharing or using such information outside the course.

Attendance Policy

The instructor will not take any formal attendance for class meetings. However, as stated above, a portion of the grade is based on class participation, which includes pop quizzes. Additionally, exam material includes anything in the readings, slides, and topics discussed in class. Students missing class should consult classmates on missed material.

The university policy on excused absences will be observed (see The students are responsible for discussing makeup exams if they miss exams due to excused absence. The instructor will choose a mutually agreed date and time for the makeup exam. Late submission of homework assignments due to excused absences is not subject to the policies on late assignments.

Academic Integrity Policy

The university, college, and department policies against academic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. You may obtain copies of the NCSU Code of Student Conduct from the Office of Student Conduct, or from the following URL:

The instructor expects honesty in the completion of test and assignments. The instructor has a zero tolerance policy for violations of academic integrity. The instructor carefully monitors for instances of offenses such as plagiarism and illegal collaboration, so it is very important that students use their best possible judgement in meeting this policy. The instructor will not entertain any discussion on the discovery of an offense, and will assign the 'F' grade and refer the student to the appropriate University bodies for possible further action. It is the understanding and expectation of instructor that the student's signature on any test or assignment means that the student neither gave nor received unauthorized aid. For additional information, visit

Note that students are explicitly forbidden to copy anything off the Internet (e.g., source code, text) for the purposes of completing an assignment or the final project. Also, students are forbidden from discussing or collaborating on any assignment except were explicitly allowed in writing by the instructor.

Academic Honesty

See for a detailed explanation of academic honesty.

Ethics Statement

This course considers topics involving personal and public privacy and security. As part of this investigation we will cover technologies whose abuse may infringe on the rights of others. As an instructor, I rely on the ethical use of these technologies. Unethical use may include circumvention of existing security or privacy measurements for any purpose, or the dissemination, promotion, or exploitation of vulnerabilities of these services. Exceptions to these guidelines may occur in the process of reporting vulnerabilities through public and authoritative channels. Any activity outside the letter or spirit of these guidelines will be reported to the proper authorities and may result in dismissal from the class.

When in doubt, please contact the course professor for advice. Do not undertake any action which could be perceived as technology misuse anywhere and/or under any circumstances unless you have received explicit permission from the instructor.

Statement on transportation

Students have to provide their own transportation for any and all class related trips.

Statement on safety and risk assumption

This course does not require activities that pose physical risk to students.

Accommodations for Disabilities

Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with verifiable disabilities. In order to take advantage of available accommodations, students must register with Disability Services for Students at 1900 Student Health Center, Campus Box 7509, 919-515-7653. For more information on NC State's policy on working with students with disabilities, please see the Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Regulation (REG 02.20.01).

Non-Discrimination Policy

NC State University provides equality of opportunity in education and employment for all students and employees. Accordingly, NC State affirms its commitment to maintain a work environment for all employees and an academic environment for all students that is free from all forms of discrimination. Discrimination based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation is a violation of state and federal law and/or NC State University policy and will not be tolerated. Harassment of any person (either in the form of quid pro quo or creation of a hostile environment) based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation also is a violation of state and federal law and/or NC State University policy and will not be tolerated. Retaliation against any person who complains about discrimination is also prohibited. NC State's policies and regulations covering discrimination, harassment, and retaliation may be accessed at or Any person who feels that he or she has been the subject of prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should contact the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 919-515-3148.

N.C. State University Polices, Regulations, and Rules (PRR)

Students are responsible for reviewing the PRRs which pertain to their course rights and responsibilities. These include: (Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Statement), (Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity), (Code of Student Conduct), and (Grades and Grade Point Average).

Course Evaluation

Online class evaluations will be available for students to complete during the last two weeks of class. Students will receive an email message directing them to a website where they can login using their Unity ID and complete evaluations. All evaluations are confidential; instructors will never know how any one student responded to any question, and students will never know the ratings for any particular instructors.

Resources Link
Evaluation website:
Student help desk:
Info about ClassEval:

Trans Inclusive Syllabi Act

In an effort to affirm and respect the identities of transgender students in the classroom and beyond, please contact me if you wish to be referred to using a name and/or pronouns other than what is listed in the student directory.