Cryptography

The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Author: Derek Bruff Page 1 of 29

Class Notes

As you work on your final papers, you might find these notes from our class surveillance vs. privacy debate useful. Thanks to our three notetakers for capturing the debate so well!

Below you'll find my photos of our final class activity, the one that asked you to identify and then group "enduring understandings" about cryptography that you felt were important to remember. Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

Online Participation Self-Assessment

Your online participation in this course contributes 10% of your final course grade. Now that the course is almost over, I'm asking you to review your online participation in this course, compare your participation to that of your peers, and assess your contributions to the learning community. Please give yourself an online participation score between 0 and 10 points, and email it to me with a justification (a paragraph or two). If I think your score is reasonable, given your justification, I'll use that as your online participation grade. Your online participation self-assessment is due at the start of class on Wednesday, December 4th.

To assess your online participation, focus on blog posts and bookmarks on Diigo, as well as other forms of online participation, if any. In each of these areas, I usually ask you for specific contributions -- posts that responded to particular questions, or bookmarks about specific topics, or tags and comments that fit certain parameters. As you look over your contributions to the course, keep these requests in mind. Also consider how your online participation contributed to the learning of your peers in the course.

Blog Assignment #12

Okay, this is it: your final required blog post. For this assignment, write a 200 to 400 word post that responds to the question below that matches your role in the class debate scheduled for Monday, December 2nd. Note that we'll be debating this statement:

The US government should be given wide latitude to use electronic surveillance in the interests of national security, even if that means citizens’ privacy is not always respected.

Here are the questions:

  • Pro - You'll argue in favor of this statement, so what are two or three reasons you find compelling to support the statement?
  • Con - You'll argue against this statement, so what are two or three reasons you find compelling to counter the statement?
  • Jury - You'll evaluate the arguments made by the Pro team and the Con team, so what criteria are you planning to use to evaluate those arguments?
  • Notetakers - You'll take notes during the debate, so what are two or three aspects of this debate (issues, arguments, examples) that you feel are essential to the debate?

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 2nd.

Blog Assignment #11

For your next blog assignment, listen to this interview with Chris Gilliard, professor of English at Macomb Community College, that I conducted for Leading Lines, the educational technology podcast I host. Then write a 200 to 4o0 word post in which you respond to a statement, argument, or example shared in the podcast that caught your attention.

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 22nd.

Bookmark Assignment #7

For your next bookmark assignment, find and bookmark a resource that helps answer one or more of the "first questions" we brainstormed in class yesterday. If you'd like to address a "first question" not on the class list, that's fine. Either way, be sure to find a resource that's credible.

Save your bookmark to our Diigo group, tag it with "FirstQuestions" and at least two other tags, and put the question you're trying to answer in a comment attached to the bookmark. Your bookmark is due by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 20th.

First Questions

In class the other day, I asked you to brainstorm questions that you might need answered as you prepare your final argumentative essays. Below is a curated list of those questions. I'll ask you in this week's bookmark assignment (see next post) to find a source that helps answer one or more of these questions.

  • How effective has mass surveillance been in preventing terror attacks since 9/11?
  • What actual harm has come to US citizens as a result of mass surveillance?
  • How specifically has the pursuit of privacy impeded security efforts?
  • What are the mechanisms behind surveillance? How precisely are people surveilled in the US?
  • What is the balance of threats to national security that come from inside the US versus outside?
  • What specific legal frameworks are relevant to a discussion of mass surveillance?
    • What safeguards are in place to protect people from unwarranted surveillance?
    • What about other regulations or policies that govern privacy? Like regulations that might govern Facebook?
  • What reasons for surveillance does a government have other than terrorism prevention?
  • What have experts predicted for the future of surveillance?
  • What alternatives to mass surveillance have been proposed, and by whom?
  • What does polling say about public perception of surveillance and privacy?
  • What does this debate look like other countries? Say, China or the EU?
  • What do experts say about the risks of government “back doors” in software?

Paper #2 - Security vs. Privacy

Here's the info on your final paper assignment, due Monday, December 9th.

Bookmark Assignment #6

For your next bookmark assignment, find and bookmark a resource that provides an update on one of the topics mentioned in documentary Citizenfour. That documentary was released in 2014. What else do we know now about Edward Snowden, the NSA, or the state of surveillance in the US ? Be sure to select a resource that's credible.

Save your bookmark to our Diigo group and tag it with "postSnowden" and at least two other tags.

Your bookmark is due by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 13th.

Blog Assignment #10

For your next blog assignment, write a post between 200 and 400 words in which you first quote, then react to a statement (a sentence or two) in Chapter 2 of danah boyd's book It's Complicated that caught your attention.  You might address how the statement affects your understanding of privacy, connections you see between the statement and other ideas we've discussed this semester, or your own opinions on the statement.

Please (1) give your post a descriptive title, (2) assign it to the "Student Posts" category, and (3) give it at least three useful tags. Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, November 11th.

Note: If you'd rather leave a 200-400 word response on a peer's post than start your own post, that's fine!

Bookmark Assignment #5

For your next bookmark assignment, find and bookmark a resource that shows how cryptography is relevant to the digital life of a college student in 2019. You might share a resource on how cryptography is embedded in the computer systems we use or one that offers advice for protecting one's digital privacy. Be sure to select a resource that's credible!

Save your bookmark to our Diigo group and tag it with "practicalCrypto" and at least two other tags. Also: Leave a comment on your bookmark with a piece of advice for a fellow college student, drawn from your resource.

Your bookmark is due by 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 6th.

Page 1 of 29

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén