Undergraduate Certificate:
Program in Technology and Society, Information Technology Track

The Center for Information Technology Policy and the Keller Center are pleased to offer an Undergraduate Certificate – Program in Technology and Society, Information Technology Track.

Information technology (IT) broadly covers the computation and communication technologies that permeate virtually all aspects of corporate and social activity. The products and services enabled by it have had a major impact on the world economy and on social interactions. As we look to the future, emerging technologies in IT continue to address critical societal challenges such as economic development, health care, politics, education, productivity, government and social organization. At the same time, these technologies raise new challenges in security, law enforcement, privacy, economic stability and justice.

Admission to the Program
Students are admitted to the program once they have chosen their field of concentration and consulted with the director of the Information Technology Track, Professor Edward Felten, who will assign them an adviser. Normally, they will have completed the program’s core course prior to seeking admission. Students interested in this certificate program should begin by submitting the Program Admission form.

Three Primary Requirements

  • One core course, two technology courses, two societal courses and one course that combines technology and society in an area outside of IT
  • A one-semester independent research project in IT and society
  • Present the projects/thesis to the program students and faculty at an annual symposium

See Requirements for more details.

Certificate of Proficiency
Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a Certificate of Proficiency in Technology and Society, Information Technology Track upon graduation.

The following course requirements need to be satisfied to earn the program certificate in Technology and Society, Information Technology Track. Courses must be taken for a grade. PDF is not accepted unless the course is only offered PDF.

Please note that courses that begin with “Advanced Topics in,” “Special Topics in,” or “Topics in STEP” may reuse course numbers but change course titles from year to year. Please make sure you are looking at an approved course title. Further, please feel free to email Professor Felten for approval of new courses that might be applicable to the certificate program.

Core Course required:

EGR/HIS/SOC 277 – Technology and Society (This course is offered every spring).

This course provides students with the intellectual tools needed to approach the rest of the program – a “set of lenses” that will help them view the issues being addressed in their work. Ideally, this course will be taken before the other required courses.

IT and Society Courses:

This course requirement is intended to provide an understanding of the technology and societal aspects through a discipline based study of both sides.

Technology Courses:

Each student is required to take two technology courses from a list that includes the courses below. These courses are mostly drawn from a set that includes courses specifically designed for a wider campus audience (no prerequisites). An advanced/one-time only course may be used to replace one or both of these courses with the permission of the program adviser.

COS 109/EGR 109 – Computers in Our World
COS 126 – General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109)
COS 432 – Information Security
COS 445 – Networks, Economics and Computing
COS 455/MOL 455 – Introduction to Genomics and Computational Molecular Biology
COS 597G – Advanced Topics in Computer Science – Surveillance and Countermeasures
ELE 201 – Information and Signals (may be taken instead of ELE 222)
ELE 222a/b/EGR 222a/b – The Computing Age
ELE 381/COS 381 – Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes
ELE 386/EGR 386 – Cyber Security
ELE 391/EGR 391 – The Wireless Revolution: Telecommunications for the 21st Century
ELE 580/COS 580 – Advanced Topics in Computer Engineering: Trustworthy
MAE 345 – Robotics and Intelligent Systems
ORF 401 – Electronic Commerce
ORF 411 – Operations and Information Engineering

Societal Courses:

Each student is required to take two societal courses from a list that includes the courses below. An advanced/one-time only course may be used to replace one or both of these courses with the permission of the program advisor.

COS 448* – Innovating Across Technology, Business, & Markets
COS 495/EGR 495/WWS 495 – Special Topics in Computer Science – Information Technology, Law and Policy, (one time course, spring 2014) (The title for this course number changes. Please see previous years for approved titles.)
COS 496/HLS 496/ART 496 – Special Topics in Computer Science – Modeling the Past – Digital Tech, and Excavations in Polis, Cyprus (The title for this course number changes. Please see previous years for approved titles.)
COS 586/WWS 586F* – Topics in STEP: Information Technology and Public Policy
ECO 326 – Economics of the Internet: The Digital Revolution
FRS 163 – Science, Technology and Public Policy (one time course, fall 2012)
POL 332 – Topics in American Statesmanship – Science, Technology, and the American Way
PSY 214 – Human Identity in the Age of Neuroscience and Information Technology
PSY 322/ORF 322 – Human Machine Interaction
SOC 204 – Social Networks
SOC 214 – Creativity, Innovation, and Society
SOC 344 – Communications, Culture, and Society
SOC 346* – Sociology of the Cubicle: Work, Technology, and Organization
SOC 357* – Sociology of Technology (can also be count as a breadth societal course)
SOC 409*/COS 409 – Critical Approaches to Human Computer Interaction
SOC 596 – Computational Social Science
STC 349 – Science Journalism
WRI 121/122 – Technology and Culture
WRI 149 – Fans and Consumer Culture
WWS 334/SOC 313 – Media and Public Policy (formerly WWS 309)
WWS 351/SOC 353/COS 351 – Information Technology and Public Policy (formerly WWS 451)

Breadth Course (1 course required):

In addition to the technology and society courses, each student is required to take one course that combines technology and society in an area outside of IT. For engineering/science students this should be based in the societal disciplines, and for humanities and social science students this should be based in the science/technology disciplines.

Representative Technology Courses:

CBE 260/EGR 260 – Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World
CEE 102B/EGR 102B/MAE 102B – Engineering in the Modern World
ENV 360* – Biotech Plants and Animals: Frankenfood or Important Innovations?
MAE 228/EGR 228/CBE 228 – Energy Solutions for the Next Century
MAE 244*/EGR 244 – Introduction to Biomedical Innovation and Global Health
MAE 445/EGR 445 – Entrepreneurial Engineering
MOL 205 – Genes, Health, and Society
NEU 259A/B – Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
WWS 353/MAE/AST 353 – Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarefare

Representative Societal Courses:

ANT 344 – Science, Technology & Culture
CEE 102A/EGR 102A/MAE 102A – Engineering in the Modern World
EGR 201 – Introduction to Entrepreneurship
EGR 392 – Creativity, Innovation, and Design
EGR 491/ELE 491 – High-Tech Entrepreneurship
EGR 492* – Radical Innovation in Global Markets
EGR 495 – Special Topics in Entrepreneurship (The title for this course number changes. Please see previous semesters for approved titles.)
ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/WWS 455 – Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy
HIS 292 – Science in the Modern World
HIS 398 – Technologies and Their Societies: Historical Perspectives
NES 266*/ENV 266 – Oil, Energy and The Middle East
SOC 346* – Sociology of the Cubicle: Work, Technology, and Organization
SOC 356* – Sociology of Science (one time course, spring 2013)
SOC 357* – Sociology of Technology (can also be counted as a required societal course)
WWS 354 – Modern Genetics and Public Policy

Registrar Course Offerings Homepage

Independent Work

All students are required to undertake a one-semester independent research project in IT and society. For AB students, this includes a junior paper. This may be substituted by a significant component in their senior thesis (at least a chapter). It is expected that some of these projects/theses will be jointly supervised by faculty members across the university divisions.

The project/thesis component requires pre-approval of the student’s program advisor. Please make sure approval is granted before beginning your semester of independent study.

Annual Symposium
Students are required to present their projects/theses to the program students and faculty at an annual symposium. This provides a mechanism for shared learning as well as for developing the common themes across the program.

*Indicates the course may not always be offered.

RTC – Required Technology Course
RSC – Required Societal Course
BTC – Breadth Technology Course
BSC – Breadth Societal Course

Please note that if a course has two designations, i.e., RSC/BSC, that this means there is an exception for that semester only. It does not apply to other semesters. Please see the “Requirements” tab for the regular course designation.

Fall 2014

CBE 228/EGR 228/ENE 228/MAE 228 – Energy Solutions for the Next Century, BTC
CBE 260/EGR 260 – Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World, BTC
CEE 102A/EGR 102A/MAE 102A – Engineering in the Modern World, BSC
CEE 102B/EGR 102B/MAE 102B – Engineering in the Modern World, BTC
COS 109/EGR 109 – Computers in Our World, RTC
COS 126/EGR 126 – General Computer Science, RTC
COS 381 – Networks: Friends, Money and Bytes, RTC
COS 432 – Information Security, RTC
COS 455/MOL 455 – Introduction to Genomics and Computational Molecular Biology, RTC
ECO 326 – Economics of the Internet: The Digital Revolution, RSC
EGR 201 – Introduction to Entrepreneurship, BSC
EGR 491/ELE 491 – High-Tech Entrepreneurship, BSC
EGR 492 – Radical Innovation in Global Markets, RSC/BSC
EGR 495 – Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – Building and Financing Technical Ventures, BSC
ELE 206/COS 306 – Contemporary Logic Design, RTC
ELE 580 – Advanced Topics in Computer Engineering – Trustworthy Computing, RTC
ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/ WWS 4555 – Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy, BSC
ORF 411 – Operations and Information Engineering, RTC
POL 332 – Topics in American Statesmanship – Science, Technology and the American Way, RSC
SOC 596 – Computational Social Science, RSC
STC 349 – Science Journalism, RSC
WWS 354 – Modern Genetics and Public Policy, BSC

Spring 2014
ANT 344 – Science, Technology & Culture, BSC
COS 126/EGR 126 – General Computer Science, RTC
COS 445 – Networks, Economics and Computing, RTC
COS 448 – Innovating Across Technology, Business, and Marketplaces, RSC
COS 495/EGR 495/WWS 495 – Special Topics in Computer Science – Information Technology, Law and Policy, RSC
COS 496/HLS 496/ART 496 – Special Topics in Computer Science – Modeling the Past – Digital Tech, and Excavations in Polis, Cyprus, RSC
EGR 277/HIS 277/SOC 277 – Technology and Society, Core Course
EGR 392 – Creativity, Innovation, and Design, BSC
EGR 491/ELE 491 – High Tech Entrepreneurship, BSC
ELE 201 – Information and Signals, RTC
ORF 401 – Electronic Commerce, RTC
SOC 357 – Sociology of Technology, RSC or BSC
MOL 205 – Genes, Health, and Society BTC
NEU 259A/PSY 259A – Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience, BTC
WWS 353/MAE 353 – Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarfare, BTC

Fall 2013
CEE 102A/EGR 102A/MAE 102A – Engineering in the Modern World, BSC
CEE 102B/EGR 102B/MAE 102B – Engineering in the Modern World, BTC
COS 109/EGR 109 – Computers in Our World, RTC
COS 126 – General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109), RTC
COS 432 – Information Security, RTC
COS 597G – Advanced Topics in Computer Science – Surveillance and Countermeasures, RTC
ECO 326* – Economics of the Internet: The Digital Revolution (one time course, Fall 2013), RSC
ELE 381/COS 381 – Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes, RTC
ELE 580/COS 580 – Advanced Topics in Computer Engineering: Trustworthy Computing, RTC
EGR 492* – Radical Innovation in Global Markets, RSC
EGR 495 – Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – Developing Commercially Viable Technologies, RSC/BSC
MAE 228/EGR 228/CBE 228 – Energy Solutions for the Next Century, BTC
MAE 345 – Robotics and Intelligent Systems, RTC
ORF 411 – Operations and Information Engineering, RTC
SOC 346* – Sociology of the Cubicle: Work, Technology, and Organization, RSC/BSC
WWS 351/SOC 353/COS 351 – Information Technology and Public Policy (formerly WWS 451), RSC

Spring 2013
CBE 260/EGR 260 – Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World, BTC
COS 126 – General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109), RTC
COS 448* – Innovating Across Technology, Business, & Markets, RSC
ELE 201 – Introduction to Signals and Systems (may be taken instead of ELE 222), RTC
ELE 386/EGR 386 – Cyber Security , RTC
MOL 205 – Genes, Health, and Society, BTC
NEU 259A/B – Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience, BTC
ORF 401 – Electronic Commerce, RTC
SOC 204 – Social Networks, RSC
SOC 356* – Sociology of Science, BSC
WWS 334/SOC 313 – Media and Public Policy (formerly WWS 309), RSC
WWS 353/MAE/AST 353 – Science and Global Security: From Nuclear Weapons to Cyberwarefare, BTC

Fall 2012
CEE 102a/b/EGR 102a/b/MAE 102a/b – Engineering in the Modern World, BTC
COS 109/EGR 109 – Computers in Our World, RTC
COS 126 – General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109), RTC
COS 432 – Information Security, RTC
COS 445 – Networks, Economics and Computing, RTC
COS 455/MOL 455 – Introduction to Genomics and Computational Molecular Biology, RTC
COS 597D – Advanced Topics in Computer Science – Information Privacy Technologies RTC (Undergraduates need permission from the instructor to register for this graduate course and completion of the form Permission to Enroll. Instructor: Arvind Narayanan, )
EGR 492* – Radical Innovation in Global Markets , RSC/BSC
EGR 495 – Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – The Lean LaunchPad, RSC/BSC
ELE 381/COS 381 – Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes, RTC
EGR 491/ELE 491 – High-Tech Entrepreneurship , RSC/BSC
ELE 580/COS 580 – Advanced Topics in Computer Engineering: Trustworthy Computing, RTC
FRS 101* – Facebook: The Social Impact of Social Networks (one time course, Fall 2012), RSC
FRS 125 Friending, Following and Finding, RTC
FRS 163 – Science, Technology and Public Policy, RSC
MAE 228/EGR 228/CBE 228 – Energy Solutions for the Next Century , BTC
MAE 244*/EGR 244 – Introduction to Biomedical Innovation and Global Health , BTC
ORF 411 – Operations and Information Engineering, RTC
WWS 334/SOC 313 – Media and Public Policy (formerly WWS 309), RSC
WWS 351/ SOC 353/COS 351 – Information Technology and Public Policy (formerly WWS 451), RSC
WWS 571B/NES 584 – Topics in Development – New Media & Social Movements: New Tools for an Old Game, RSC (Undergraduates need permission from the instructor to register for this graduate course and completion of the form Permission to Enroll. Instructor: Zeynep Tufekci, )

Spring 2012
CBE/EGR 260 – Ethics and Technology: Engineering in the Real World, BTC
COS 126 - General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109), RTC
COS 448 - Innovating Across Technology, Business, & Markets, RSC
COS 495/ART 495 – Special Topics in Computer Science – Modeling the Past – Technologies and Excavations in Polis, Cyprus, RSC
EGR/HIS/SOC 277 - Technology and Society (Core Course)
EGR/ELE 386 – Cyber Security, RTC
EGR/ELE 491 – High-Tech Entrepreneurship, BSC
EGR 495 – Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – Entrepreneurial Leadership, BSC
MOL 205 – Genes, Health, and Society, BTC
NES/ENV 266 – Oil, Energy and The Middle East, BSC
ORF 401 – Electronic Commerce, RTC
SOC 409 – Critical Approaches to Human Computer Interaction, RSC

Fall 2011
CBE/EGR/MAE 228 – Energy Solutions for the Next Century, BSC
CEE/EGR/MAE 102a/b – Engineering in the Modern World, BTC
COS/EGR 109 – Computers in Our World, RTC
COS 126 – General Computer Science (may be taken instead of COS 109), RTC
EGR/ELE/ORF 491 - High-Tech Entrepreneurship, BSC
EGR 492/WWS 493 – Radical Innovation in Global Markets, BSC
EGR 495 - Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – Ventures to Address Global Challenges, BSC
ELE 381 - Networks: Friend, Money, and Bytes, RTC
ITA 309 – Topics in Contemporary Italian Civilization – New Media, Social Network and Italy, RSC
SOC 357 – Sociology of Technology, RSC
WRI 149 – Fans and Consumer Culture, RSC
WWS 309/SOC 313 - Media and Public Policy, RSC

Spring 2011
EGR 495 – Special Topics in Entrepreneurship – Entrepreneurial New Product Development (NPD), BSC

Students are admitted to the program once they have chosen their field of concentration and consulted with the director of the Information Technology Track, Professor Edward Felten, who will assign them an adviser. Normally, they will have completed the program’s core course prior to seeking admission. Students interested in this certificate program should submit the Program Admission form.

I am not a Princeton undergraduate student. Can I still apply to the Program in Technology and Society, Information Technology Track?

No. You must be a Princeton undergraduate student to receive this certificate.

How does ITS relate to the Program in Applications of Computing?

ITS is for students from all backgrounds who want to study the intersection of computing and society. Applications of Computing is for non-CS majors who want to study computing—at another university it might be called a “minor in Computer Science”.

I am an incoming freshman, and although my major is undeclared/undecided, I am interested in the TS certificate. What is an optimal course map for the program?

The first course you should take is the core course required, EGR/HIS/SOC 277 Technology and Society.

Please see the Technology and Societal courses listed in the Course Requirements for other suggested courses. Two technology, two societal and one breadth courses are required to receive this certificate.

Can I substitute another course for one of the required courses?

Substitutions must be consistent with the goals and structure of the program. Any substitution must be approved in advance by the director of the Information Technology Track, Professor Edward Felten.

Can I take any of the courses as PDF?

No, all courses must be taken for a letter grade. The only exception is if PDF is the only option.

What else is required to receive this certificate?

Along with the course work required, a semester of Independent Work and participation in the Annual Symposium are also required to receive the Technology and Society, Information Technology Track certificate upon graduation.

Do you need to be in a specific major to apply for the Technology and Society, Information Technology Track certificate?

No, as long as you fulfill all the certificate requirements you will receive the certificate upon graduation.

Can I get a Technology and Society, Information Technology Track certificate and another certificate at the same time?

Yes, as long as you meet the requirements for both.

What if I have more questions?

Please contact the director of the Information Technology Track, Professor Edward Felten, or the Program Manager, Laura Cummings-Abdo,

2014 Certificate Graduates

Daniel Chyan, COS
Title of Project: Investigating Censorship through Detecting Modified Content

This paper details the process of creation of a tool to monitor and detect censorship among a
large set of URLs and its application on a popular Chinese news site. The creation of this tool stemmed from an earlier effort to identify potentially censored keywords based off of lexical relations. Development issues from the censored keyword identification system prompted a shift in strategy from a lexical approach to a crawling and monitoring approach. Results from the censorship detection tool has revealed some amount of content modification to the monitored URLs and further exploration is necessary to realize the full potential of this tool. Future application of this tool can lead to better censored keyword detectors and provide, in a timely manner, stronger insight into topics being censored.

Vladimir Costescu, COS
Title of Project: Interviewing with Glass: Investigating a Potential Application of Wearable Technology

In recent years, rapid technological advances have increasingly enabled the miniaturization of computing devices, leading to the proliferation of powerful smartphones, TV streaming dongles such as the Chromecast, and a new array of wearable computers embedded in objects such as watches and glasses. In this paper, I am studying the potential impact of Google Glass in the corporate world, specifically considering the usability of the device as an aid to human resources personnel in the process of conducting interviews with job applicants. To this end, I met with a number of employees at a software company that fulfills US government contracts and pitched the idea of a Glass app that would help streamline the interview process. In the course of discussing the potential functionality of such an app, I gained valuable feedback from key personnel inside the company, including tech leads, human resources personnel, and even the COO and CTO of the company about features they would like to see in an interview app and also about the usability of the device in general.

Owen Gaffney, POL
Title of Project: Uncharted Waters: Re-evaluating the Ethics of Extraterratorial Surveillance

In response to a recent movement – catalyzed by Edward Snowdon’s NSA leaks – in support for an international right to privacy (and corresponding international laws) this thesis does a historical review of the circumstances, causes and purposes around which the West formed its collective ethical framework in relation to the concept of “Just Intelligence.” After establishing this framework a number of changes in the world, brought around by politics and technological advances, are reviewed. The framework is then reevaluated in the context of this changed world and the evolving nature of threats to national security and is shown to fall short in several areas. Ultimately, the NSA’s continuing surveillance of foreign citizens is supported under this new framework of “Just Intelligence.”

Lucas Ho, COS
Title of Project: Meaningful Use Attestation and Hospital Acquired Infections

Research has shown that hospital acquired infections (HAIs) cost our healthcare system $10 billion a year. Furthermore, up to half of these infections can be prevented. Motivated by these facts, recent literature has suggested that increasing electronic health record (EHR) usage can significantly reduce HAIs similar to how checklists improve safety and quality control. Small-scale pilot studies have confirmed this hypothesis, but are these isolated incidents or do they point towards a larger trend? This project seeks to analyze open government data, courtesy of Data.gov, on national EHR adoption (represented in this project as meaningful use attestation) and HAI rates. I will use a JavaScript data visualization library to create a state-by-state visualization of the current relationship between the two factors in order to seek an answer to the question posed above.

Sing Sing Ma, REL
Title of Project: 140 Character Limits: A Study on Change, Responses to Pope Francis, and the Impact of Digital Media

When the Vatican adopted Twitter as a communication method, the conflict between technology and tradition converged onto one social media account. Scholars predicted a decline of religious belief when the Internet allowed everyone a voice, undermining the authority of a pulpit. This paper investigates the question of change and the papacy, using the lenses of influence on media, religious participation, and authority. The primary focus is on the favorites, re-tweets, and mentions of Pope Francis and his tweets.

Carmina Mancenon, ORFE
Title of Project: The Startup Spring: Leveraging Public Policy to Increase Capital Pools for Technology Startups in Turkey and Jordan

Money is an indispensable component of bringing a vision to life in the entrepreneurship space. Indeed, 90% of startups fail primarily due to a lack of sufficient funding, according to the United States Small Business Administration. To this end, governments have the potential to influence the capital pool available to startups through financial policies such as tax incentives and grants. This paper proposes a framework for governments to understand the health of their country from an entrepreneurship perspective, specifically in the technology sector, and enact tailored policies to create an ecosystem conducive to innovation and creation substantiated by comparatively increased financial means. We apply this model to technology startups in Turkey and Jordan.

The methodology used to create this model involves regression and applied time series analyses to deduce the funding crunch area and financial policy priorities. This data is collected from publicly available investment tables on Crunchbase, press releases, and news articles, as well as results from surveys conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. These are supplemented by qualitative data based on 30+ interviews conducted with both investors and entrepreneurs in Turkey and Jordan through collaboration with Endeavor Global. Ultimately, we present a systematic, ‘plug-and-chug’ framework for governments to customize in order to begin taking action.

Dillon Reisman, COS
Title of Project: Cookie Crumbs and Unwelcome Javascript: Evaluating the hidden privacy threats posed by the “mashed-up” web

Many modern websites are built on a “mash-up” of numerous web technologies and libraries. This combined with the ubiquity of third-party web tracking can open up a user to an increasingly large array of threats to her privacy from many angles. Our paper is a comprehensive evaluation of how the structure of the web can enable new forms of privacy violation and measures these new threats’ severity.

In this paper, we first define a novel form of passive network surveillance we term “cookie linking.” Through this method an eavesdropper observing a user’s HTTP tracking cookies on a network can transitively link shared unique cookies to reconstruct that user’s web browsing history, even if IP varies across time. Using simulated browsing profiles we find that for a typical user over 90% of web sites with embedded trackers are located in the large component of visited sites created through cookie linking. The privacy implications of cookie linking are made more acute by the prevalence of identity leakage. In a survey of top web sites we find that over half of those sites leak the identity of logged-in users to an eavesdropper in unencrypted traffic. The eavesdropper thus both identifies a user and uncovers a majority of her web history through passive means.

Second, we evaluate how the third-party Javascript-handling practices of popular sites further exposes users to potential privacy violations. We employ a man-in-the-middle attack to model what information malicious Javascript put in the place of approved third-party Javascript can exfiltrate to a malicious server. We find that third-party Javascript is very often permitted to execute in unsupervised environments, where it is free to collect everything from user cookies to keystrokes. Compromised third-party Javascript presents a significant privacy threat against users that many sites help enable.

We ultimately conclude that the most effective method of preventing the above privacy violations is through blocking third-parties on websites, often done via a browser plug-in. These may limit a site’s functionality, however, leaving users without a satisfactory option to protect themselves.

Anna Kornfeld Simpson
Title of Project: History Independent File System on an Insecure Flash Device

Keeping data on a hard drive safe is of critical importance for consumers and advances in file system and computer security have struggled to keep pace with powerful adversarial capabilities. Solid state drives (SSDs) provide new challenges for disk security because of their wear levelling properties: the disk controller maps between physical and virtual memory blocks in order to keep the disk from being worn out too quickly, which means that the operating system cannot guarantee that a particular block is erased or overwritten on the disk. This thesis presents a method for securing file-system history from an adversary with forensic access to such a disk by extending previous work on secure deletion on SSDs.

As well as addressing the technical problems of encryption and systems-building, the design of this project and other security technologies must consider the adversarial scenarios where this technology may be used in order to ensure that the design captures the correct metaphors for secure use. Who are the potential users of the technology? What capabilities will their adversaries have? How will existing policy regimes and social norms affect the adoption of the technology? This talk will describe the technical insights of my thesis project and then focus on the choice of threat model and the impact of the above considerations on the design.

Gregory Smith, HIS (presenting 2014, graduating 2015)
Title of project: Authority Through the Wires: Telegraph Usage by President Lincoln 1861-1865

With the growing importance of telecommunications in virtually every aspect of daily life, including government, it is important to remember the historical roots of telecommunications networks and the models that were developed then that still influence usage of electronic communication today. Analyzing the role of the telegraph in the Civil War, particularly as deployed by President Lincoln, reveals how leaders reacted to this groundbreaking technology and integrated it into one of the largest struggles on American soil. Telegraph operators moved with armies, providing hourly updates on the situation on the front line and allowing Lincoln and other Union war leaders to exercise unprecedented control over their military commanders. Furthermore, the integration and expansion of telegraph networks revolutionized Union logistical efforts and military strategy, allowing for increasingly complex military strategies in the later half of the war. By analyzing Lincoln’s telegraph correspondence, it becomes possible to build a model for how the telegraph became an essential tool of communication and central to American governance in the 19th century.

Rosemary Wang, ELE
Title of project: A Study of Mobile Video Power Consumption over HetNets

Given that user consumption of data over mobile technologies and the number of applications requiring higher data rates are increasing, the next generation of mobile technology needs to handle demand for more reliable, higher quality data. In particular, the amount of traffic from video is a growing concern for wired and wireless traffic management. One solution to this problem to distribute the traffic without compromising user experience would be to use heterogeneous networks (HetNets) to switch between technologies or utilize them simultaneously to improve the reliability, quality, and throughput of data. These multiple radio access technologies (multi-RATs) can be used to improve Quality of Experience (QoE) with video at the cost of increased power consumption for the user’s mobile device. This study analyzed video traffic at the packet-level and its impact on device power consumption, determined differences between mobile technologies and wired technologies in both power consumption and packet interactions, and determined the factors that indicate the need to switch to a different technology. Furthermore, these findings apply to the existing policy surrounding net neutrality and the importance of reasonable network management. The usage of multi-RAT implementations raise questions regarding an individual network’s ability to handle video traffic, the increased convergence in technology today, and the differing net neutrality standards for wired and wireless technologies. The conclusions regarding packet-level interactions for video, one of the most bandwidth-heavy applications today, provide a framework for evaluating network neutrality in order to maintain user QoE.

Harvest Zhang, COS
Title of project: Efficient Packet Traceback in Software-Defined Networks

This paper presents an efficient method for performing packet traceback in software-defined networks. While previous work explores tracing packets forward from their point of entry, the problem of packet traceback is to determine, given a packet that has arrived at a switch in the network, all possible paths it could have taken to get there from its point of ingress. Packet traceback is useful for tracing attacks, network debugging, monitoring performance, and so on; multiple autonomous systems may also collaborate to enable packet tracebacks across domains. Given a network policy consisting of functions that define how packets are handled at each switch, we compute a traceback policy that we use to reconstruct the flagged packet’s possible paths through the network. This traceback is performed entirely by the controller without incurring any overhead on the data plane, and no additional flow rules need to be installed at the switch level.

2013 Certificate Graduates

Raymond Auduong, ARC
Title of project: ALMOST HUMAN: Robots in Architecture and the Narrative of Control

In the 21st century, robots are increasingly capable and common in everyday life. As robotic technologies continue to develop, humans like to believe that they are in complete control of technology, but to what extent might robotic technologies exert an influence of their own?

The thesis seeks to explore how humans, robots, and architecture are influencing each other today. The approach for this thesis exploits the natural analogy between humans and robots: Essentially, both sense, “think,” and act, but the mechanisms used are very different. The technological, spatial, and visual consequences of these differences are considered as important indicators of how these three subjects interact today.

The scope of the project encompasses two radically different environments: industrial and domestic. Through case studies of non-humanoid and humanoid robots (Kiva Systems, Baxter, Roomba, and ASIMO), it is shown that human-robot-architecture interactions are very context specific. In industrial case studies, robots have a strong influence over architectural design and the role of the human worker; but in the domestic setting, robot designs are adapted to existing patterns of residential architecture and human behaviors. The interchange between robots, humans, and architecture is multidirectional and multimodal.

Daniel Feinberg, WWS
Title of project: International Regimes of the Internet and Aviation: Structure, Preferences, and Technology

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has, since its inception, provided scholars with a compelling puzzle: how did a private corporation come into a position of authority over the Internet and what keeps it in control? To address these key questions about ICANN, this thesis seeks to create a cohesive model of technological regimes in order to understand ICANN’s current position as well as its prospects for change. To build such a model, this thesis looks at the case of international aviation in the post-World War II era, studying both the similarities and differences between the two cases. By combining these cases, a model of technological change in complex interdependence can be constructed, providing a theoretical framework that can be utilized to assess ICANN.

Michael Franklin, COS
Title of project: A Statistical Approach to the Detection of Behavioral Tracking on the Web

Online Behavioral Targeting is a controversial practice for which rigorous detection and analysis is challenging. The capacity to make strong claims about Behavioral Targeting in “the wild” would be valuable for policy makers. In this paper we present a conception of browser-server interactions and a novel statistical approach to detecting Behavioral Targeting that leverages this formulation. This approach allows us to make precise claims about Behavioral Targeting and achieve valuable automation of analysis.

Marianne Jullian, COS
Title of project: Visualizing Expression: A Visual Analysis of Literary Works and Nonliteral Copying in the Context of Copyright Infringement

In the domain of copyright law that deals with fictional works, issues of nonliteral copying have been quite contentious. The focus has been on how to protect the public domain against monopolies of ideas that serve as fodder for creative writings, while also providing adequate protection for authors’ expressions of ideas in order to incentivize future work. Several judges have developed tests that can be applied to fictional works, however they are rather abstract and rely on the discretion of those involved in individual court cases.

With this in mind, I sought out to develop an automated method that seeks to identify unique expressions of ideas in literary works. Drawing from discussions of nonliteral copying in the context of copyright infringement, expressions are hereafter defined as patterns composed of the following literary components: writing style, character development, plot themes, parallelism of incidents, and relationships between characters. The method I propose as a tool for detecting nonliteral copying is a data visualization. This method relies on computational linguistics and also on the power of data visualization to uncover otherwise obscured patterns of expression through the use of color, layers, and small multiples.

The efficacy of the linguistic analysis and data visualization is judged by its ability to accurately identify important characters, concepts, and plot developments on works in isolation. Additionally, the efficacy of the data visualization as a tool for identifying nonliteral copying is analyzed using works written by the same author and the comparison of its application to a work and its parody.

Emma Lawless, ANT
Title of project: Trusting Paper, Trusting People: The Role of Documentation for Trustworthy Conditions in Spacecraft Work

My project developed out of six weeks of qualitative fieldwork at two space science laboratories in Boulder, CO. It explores the crucial roles that regimes of documentation played in creating trustworthy working conditions for team members on several NASA missions working out of these labs. In working with technological tools from simple spreadsheet programs to more customized spacecraft visualization tools, my interlocutors employed a variety of low-tech, paper documentation practices which were instrumental in allowing the team members to achieve confidence in their working conditions and the products they were generating. Essentially, far from being empty bureaucratic requirements, paper documents functioned to infuse reliability into the work processes of my interlocutors, contributing to a sense of “trust-in-familiar-form” which characterized the work I observed.

Shreya Murthy, POL
Title of project: A Theory of Privacy

This paper presents a theoretical account of the right to privacy. It discusses the problems that are typically encountered when one attempts to define or defend privacy and explains the need for a conceptually distinct and clearly articulated concept of privacy. It then examines in detail the perspectives on privacy that have been offered by philosophers and legal scholars thus far and then presents a new conception of privacy. Informed by a thorough understanding of the problems of privacy and the shortcomings of the major perspectives, the theory of privacy presented in this paper provides a valuable grounding for both legal and technological approaches to privacy protection.

Eleanor (Nora) Taranto, HOS
Title of project: Too Fast, Too Soon? The Privacy Implications of Electronic-Medical-Record System Adoption

The privacy rights of medical patients are expansive, especially in the United States since the passage of HIPAA in 1996. Since then, medical institutions have also begun to implement electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) systems at a fast rate. These systems provide some practical benefits for the medical community, but also raise serious privacy concerns—worries in particular about how well such systems protect against confidentiality breaches. The vast number of privacy breaches in these new EMR systems, even with protective mechanisms in place, leads me to make four recommendations that may be useful in preventing more data breaches: 1) strengthening of access control; 2) encryption of stored data as well as data in transit; 3) better use of data logs through the development of anomaly-detection algorithms; and 4) caution on the part of medical institutions and policymakers in adopting only those EMR/EHR systems with adequate protective mechanisms.

2012 Certificate Graduates

Jasika Bawa, ELE
Title of project: TUBE – Time-dependent Usage-based Broadband price Engineering

TUBE (Time-dependent Usage-based Broadband price Engineering) is a system that aims to bridge the digital divide by computing and delivering pricing incentives for wireless usage. It is anticipated that this, in turn, will enable wireless providers to make wireless data available to a wider audience.

The notion behind being able to deliver pricing incentives is that charging users different prices for Internet access at different times of the day will incentivize them to spread their demand for bandwidth across various different times of the day. This is also a viable way of maximizing the use of capacity of a wireless spectrum. With the high rate of penetration by smartphones, tablets and other Internet-capable mobile devices, wireless Internet usage has been increasing at an extremely fast pace, with more users consuming larger amounts of data. However, ordinarily, heavy usage is concentrated during a few peak hours of the day which forces ISPs to overprovision in order to handle such concentrated heavy usage. Thus, pricing by timing is advantageous not only for end users (particularly those affected by the digital divide) but also for wireless providers. Finally, although congestion pricing has been implemented, ISPs are increasingly finding that the traditional models are insufficient to meet the challenge of growing demand for bandwidth.

In the fall semester, I helped design and develop an Android application to enable users to control their budget for mobile broadband in an informed manner. This involved providing rich information regarding overall data use, app-specific data use, budget expenditure per day and the like, providing notifications regarding good and bad times to launch data-hungry applications (such as YouTube) and providing the user with a way to schedule applications.

This semester I am working on data analysis to help provide the TUBE team with information regarding user preferences. From a set of surveys filled out by Princeton students, I have had the chance to work on quantifying delay sensitivity to Internet applications. From a second data set of survey participants from India, I will have the opportunity to further quantify socio-economic demographics’ price and delay sensitivity to the same.

Andrew Bristow
Title of project: Cruelty in the Digital Age – Adolescents and Online Bullying

In the everyday social interactions of adolescents, a number of cruel behaviors associated with bullying have expanded online, sometimes shifting in the process. Existing research shows that the nature of online space allows bullying to be even more damaging than its offline counterpart. Online bullying can have many, if not more, of the same negative consequences of the offline variant.

The current study provides a framework to study online bullying. In particular, this study presents a way to gather information on adolescents’ perspective on this phenomenon and to identify the components of their support network. This study seeks to understand parental involvement in online space and to contribute to a body of literature that claims online and offline spaces have become intertwined in such a way that distinctions between the “real” and “virtual” world are no longer appropriate. I apply this framework to newly collected data from middle school students in the greater Mercer County area. Results of this implementation are discussed at length herein, along with implications for parents, school personnel, and policymakers.

Rebecca Lee, WWS
Title of project: Contested Control: European Data Privacy Regulations and the Assertion of Jurisdiction over American Businesses

In the European Union, a comprehensive data privacy law called the Data Protection Directive governs the collection, use, storage, and dissemination of European personal data. Any data controller – regardless of its geographical location – that accesses and collects European personal data must comply with Directive. However, the Directive was adopted in 1995 and has since become out of date. On January 25, 2012, the European Commission published its proposal for a new comprehensive data privacy law, the Data Protection Regulation.

This thesis examines the Data Protection Regulation and its potential effects on American businesses, consumers, and society. Specifically, I analyze the mechanisms through which European policymakers attempt to secure the compliance of American businesses and the substantive requirements for compliance. I illustrate how data privacy provisions such as the explicit consent requirements and the right to be forgotten conflict with American business practices, political values, and legal principles. I conclude by suggesting that American policymakers may want to take a more active role in influencing the final shape of the Data Protection Regulation.

Jay Parikh, WWS
Title of project: Evading Government Censorship: the Labor Movement’s Use of the Internet

In China, rapid Internet growth had given hope to a renewed civil society movement focused on improving human rights, labor conditions, environmental concerns, and addressing a number of other issues. This hope, however, was tempered with the reality of comprehensive government censorship of information technology.

This paper seeks to clarify the aggregate effect of Internet censorship on the development of domestic civil society institutions in China by focusing on the labor movement and workers’ rights issues. The labor movement serves as an effective vehicle to examine the broader civic sector for two reasons. First, the government is particularly concerned with the effect of organized labor on political reform; therefore, censorship of these movements is pervasive. Second, the labor movement has been adept at harnessing technology since it is the only way they can effectively compete with widespread communication networks possessed by the state and marketplace.

This paper is organized into five parts: first, I present the theoretical argument underlying the power of the Internet in shaping civil society and the Internet’s rise in China. I then examine how the labor movement has used different aspects of information technology to advance its interests and goals. The next section evaluates how the Chinese state uses technical restrictions to monitor and censor CSOs. Once this is established, I analyze the benefits in eliminating these restrictions on both Chinese CSOs and US companies. The paper closes with specific policy recommendations for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on how the government can partner with technology companies to help labor CSOs.

2011 Certificate Graduates

Jennifer King, COS
Title of project: Software Support for Software-Independent Auditing

(published as Software Support for Software-Independent Auditing — Short Paper. Gabrielle A. Gianelli, Jennifer D. King, Edward W. Felten, and William P. Zeller. EVT/WOTE’09, Proceedings of the 2009 Conference on Electronic Voting Technology / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections)

Thomas Lowenthal, POL
Title of project: BitTorrent Research

Copyrighted material is often shared without the permission of the copyright holder. Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems — including BitTorrent — are a common vector for such sharing. Some copyright holders wish to detect such unauthorized sharing when it occurs, and to discourage it. Several companies offer services designed to detect this sort of unauthorized distribution. These companies typically use proprietary detection techniques, and often boast about the reliability of their particular methods. However, previous research has indicated that these services may not be as reliable as claimed.

We performed a study to investigate the accuracy rates — specifically: to establish an estimated lower bound on the false-positive rates — of various techniques for identifying those who share copyrighted material via BitTorrent without the authorization of the copyright holder. We implemented a selection of detection and verification techniques, ran them against the live BitTorrent ecosystem, and compared the suspect lists they produced against a reliable control technique. This allowed us to estimate the rate at which each of these techniques turns up false positives.

TS Certificate Director

Mung Chiang

Information Technology Track Director

Edward Felten

Executive Committee

Andrew Appel, Computer Science
Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School
Mung Chiang, Electrical Engineering
Angela Creager, History
Paul DiMaggio, Sociology, Woodrow Wilson School
Edward W. Felten, Computer Science, Woodrow Wilson School
Michael Gordin, History
Andrea LaPaugh, Computer Science
Sharad Malik, Electrical Engineering
Margaret Martonosi, Computer Science
Martin Ruef, Sociology
Matthew Salganik, Sociology

Sits with Executive Committee:

Ed Zschau, Electrical Engineering, Operations Research and Financial Engineering

Program Manager

Laura Cummings-Abdo