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International/Comparative Privacy & Surveillance


Everyday headlines reveal reports of new threats to and invasions of privacy from government, corporate, and individual actors who collect and use information disclosed about us by ourselves and others through the connected devices that continue to flood society. New technologies force us to question how balance can be struck between privacy and security, innovation, and the rights of others. In this time of information policy influx, untangling old laws, new governance strategies proposals, computer ethics, Silicon Valley culture, waves of best practices, and realistic enforcement is incredibly challenging and the subject of this course. 

Comparative/International Privacy and Surveillance will provide students with the theoretical framework, policy tools, and comparative skills necessary to engage on public policy issues involving privacy and surveillance in a global context. Thematically, covers a great number of concepts and issues. It begins by introducing theoretical perspectives on privacy and surveillance, looks at the strain on basic and now-universal framework of ethical principles, analyzes corporate and government collection and use of information, investigates marginalization and bias, and addresses issues of speech, power, abuse, employment, health, and emerging technologies. We will discuss international efforts to govern privacy and surveillance issues, and then students will delve into chosen regions to more deeply understand privacy and surveillance specific to often overlooked cultures.


The course runs along two tracks: a discussion and writing based comparative track, complimented by a lab track. Each day we will spend time discussing readings and the written reflections students post the night prior to class. The posts apply the readings to their particular comparative subject, which usually takes a sociotechnical object or issue and compares it across countries, regions, cultures, times, etc. The posts are accumulated and revised to form the final paper due a week after the final class in December. Each class also includes a lab. These labs have four projects that are also accumulated in the form of a final project due in November. These projects’ progression begins with evidence and experience and moves to teardowns and histories and serve as a supplement to your final paper.


CCT course page - syllabus

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