Fall 2019

ECE 18-734 Foundations of Privacy

Lectures: Mondays and Wednesdays

Lectures: Mondays and Wednesdays

CMU @Pittsburgh
11:40pm-1:00pm Eastern; Link on calendar
CMU @Silicon Valley
8:40am-10:00am Pacific; Link on calendar

Recitations: Fridays

Recitations: Fridays

CMU @Pittsburgh
1:20pm-2:10pm Eastern; Link on calendar
CMU @Silicon Valley
10:20am-11:10am Pacific; Link on calendar


Professor: Giulia Fanti
Office: CIC 2118, CMU @Pittsburgh
Office Hours: Mondays
2:30pm-3:30pm Eastern / 11:30am-12:30pm Pacific
Location: Link on calendar
Teaching Assistant: Yash Dipak Mehta
Office: N/A, CMU @Pittsburgh
Office Hours: Tuesdays
8:30pm-9:30pm Eastern / 5:30pm-6:30pm Pacific
Location Link on calendar
Teaching Assistant: Ali Aldakheel
Office: N/A, CMU @Pittsburgh
Office Hours: Thursdays
11:00am-12:00pm Eastern / 8:00am-9:00am Pacific
Location Link on calendar


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.

Syllabus and Calendar

  • Syllabus: Lecture and recitation topics and reading, homework and project assignments and due dates.
  • Calendar or Google Calendar: Lecture and recitation times, office hours times and hangouts (andrew account required).


  • Piazza for questions and discussions related to the class: Please mail TAs if you have any issues
  • Canvas for coursework submission and grades


  • None


  • 40% Homework
  • 25% Exams
  • 5% Pre-class quizzes
  • 30% Project

Total of 5 late days (24 hours each) can be used throughout the semester. No more than 3 late days may be used on a single assignment.

About wellness

Take care of yourself. Do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle this semester by eating well, exercising, 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.