CS 294-65: Privacy Technologies: From Theory to Practice

Dawn Song
Elaine Shi
Soda Hall 320
Lecture Times
Mon, 4:00-6:00pm

Course Description

    Huge volumes of data containing sensitive/private information are being collected and stored by websites, sensors/monitoring systems, auditing systems, and so on. Examples include electronic records in health care systems and location information in ubiquitous computing applications. How can we protect users' privacy and at the same time enable effective sharing and utilization of the distributed data? How can we ensure that cloud services do not misuse users' data or violate privacy policies? And how can we provide desirable services to users and protect their privacy even when the servers are untrusted?

    The general theme of this course is to explore potential techniques for building new platforms, services, and tools that protect users' privacy. In particular, we emphasize the technical and economic viability, as well as the usability of these privacy technologies. We will study promising component technologies ranging from advances in secure systems research (e.g., trusted computing, virtualization), to theoretic tools like differential privacy and cryptography. Topics intended for discussion include but are not limited to:

    -- Attacks against privacy, including de-anoymization and re-identification attacks
    -- Trusted computing, code attestation and property attestation
    -- Data provenance
    -- Privacy of user data in the cloud
    -- Privacy-preserving data mining
    -- Differential privacy, data anonymization and perturbation techniques
    -- Privacy-preserving software systems and applications
    -- Cryptographic techniques for privacy

    The goal of this class is twofold: (1) to arm students with a set of core techniques they can use to address privacy issues in their research areas and application domains, (2) to introduce students to important research questions and prepare them to conduct additional research in these areas.

Course Schedule


The class on Monday Feb 7th will be moved to Soda 405. We will begin at the regular hour 4pm. See you there!

Lecture slides and scribe notes: Lecture slides and scribe notes are available here. The username and password have been announced in class. You can also send email to cs294.s11@gmail.com to inquire.

Mailing list: Please join Google Groups http://groups.google.com/group/cs294privacy to receive announcements about the class.

Class Format

The class is research oriented. In each class, the instructor will give a lecture based on materials from 2 to 3 selected papers. Then, there will be 1-2 short student presentations on additional reading materials.


Students should prepare to work on a class project. Students should form groups of size 2 to 3 by the end of the 2nd lecture. The project proposal is due at the end of the 4th lecture. Students will give project presentations and submit a final project report at the end of the semester.


15% Class particpation
15% Reading notes and critique
15% Scribe notes
15% Short presentation
40% Project

Scribe Notes

The template for scribe notes is here with the Makefile. Please read the comments in the beginning of the file to follow the naming convention for your files. Thanks!

Homework submission

Weekly written assignments based on the readings can be found on the course schedule and reading list page. These assignments should be turned in by 5pm on Sunday (the day before class). Homework submissions should be in pdf format, and emailed to cs294.s11@gmail.com. It's important that you finish these assignments on time, since we will discuss the questions during class.


The above information is subject to change.