COMP 590: Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Spring 2024
Instructor: Saba Eskandarian
TAs: Grace Coleman and Katie Cornette
Class Meetings: Tues/Thurs 2-3:15pm, FB009
Office Hours: Tues 3:15-4:15pm, FB346
Course Project Details
Anonymous Feedback

Course Description

This class covers a combination of fundamental tools and recent developments in privacy-preserving technologies. The first half of the course will cover cryptographic tools that can be used to build privacy-preserving systems, and the second half will cover various privacy-preserving technologies, including both research contributions and deployed systems. Along the way we will discuss how to think about the technology we create and its impact on society.

The class is intended for undergraduate students who are interested in thinking about what technology can do to protect privacy and why modern technology so often fails to do so. Prior experience in security or privacy, while welcome, is by no means required.

Class meetings will consist of a mix of lectures and discussions, with responses to pre-discussion readings being an important component. Students will also complete a substantial course project on a relevant topic of their choosing. See the syllabus for more details.

Course Schedule

Class titles are followed by required readings for that day (if any).


A Crash Course in Cryptography

Privacy, Anonymity, and Surveillance, Part I

Private Computation Tools

Contextualizing Cryptography

Privacy, Anonymity, and Surveillance, Part II

Bonus Topics