Fall 2018: Foundations of Privacy (18-734)


Professor: Anupam Datta
Office: B23 221, CMU @Silicon Valley
Office Hours:
@SV B23 221
@PGH ??? on Google Hangout (details on Piazza).
Professor: Arthur Azevedo de Amorim
Office: ???, CMU @Pittsburgh
Office Hours:
@SV ??? on Google Hangout (details on Piazza).
@PGH ???
Professor: Piotr Mardziel
Office: B23 114, CMU @Silicon Valley
Office Hours:
@PGH ??? on Google Hangout (details on Piazza).
@SV B23 114

Teaching Assistant: David Edelstein
Office Hours:
@PGH ???
@SV ??? on Google Hangout (details on Piazza)

Course Information

Lectures: Mondays and Wednesdays

CMU @Pittsburgh
4:30pm-6:20pm Eastern; HH 1107
CMU @Silicon Valley
1:30pm-3:20pm Pacific; B23 212

Recitations: Fridays

CMU @Pittsburgh
12:30pm-1:20pm Eastern; HH 1107
CMU @Silicon Valley
9:30am-10:20am Pacific; B23 212

Course Description

Privacy is a significant concern in modern society. Individuals share personal information with many different organizations - healthcare, financial and educational institutions, the census bureau, web services providers and online social networks - often in electronic form. Privacy violations occur when such personal information is inappropriately collected, shared or used. We will study privacy in a few settings where rigorous definitions and enforcement mechanisms are being developed - statistical disclosure limitation (as may be used by the census bureau in releasing statistics), semantics and logical specification of privacy policies that constrain information flow and use (e.g., by privacy regulations such as the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), principled audit and accountability mechanisms for enforcing privacy policies, anonymous communication protocols - and other settings in which privacy concerns have prompted much research, such as in social networks, location privacy and Web privacy (in particular, online tracking & targeted advertising).


An undergraduate course equivalent to 15-251 or permission of instructor.



  • Piazza for questions and discussions related to the class: Please mail TA (andrew id:dedelste) if you have any issues
  • Canvas for coursework submission, grades and (??? ppt version of the lecture notes)


  • None


  • 60% Homework (lowest score dropped)
  • 10% Class Participation
  • 30% Project

??? Total of 8 late days can be used throughout the semester. No more than 3 late days may be used on a single assignment.

Previous Offerings


About wellness

Take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and taking some time to relax. This will help you achieve your goals and cope with stress.

All of us benefit from support during times of struggle. You are not alone. There are many helpful resources available on campus and an important part of the college experience is learning how to ask for help. Asking for support sooner rather than later is often helpful.

If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support. Consider reaching out to a friend, faculty or family member you trust for help getting connected to the support that can help.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or in danger of self-harm, call someone immediately, day or night:

If the situation is life threatening, call the police:

  • On campus: Dial CMU Police at 412-268-2323
  • Off campus: Dial 911

If you have questions about this or your coursework, please let us know.