Naval Postgraduate School
Fall 2007

CS3610: Information Crime, Law and Ethics


Contact Information // Course Goal // Course Description // Learning Outcomes //
Course Format // Prerequisites // Text // Assessment // Grades // Citation // Protocols //

Lectures will be held at Tuesdays TBD and Thursdays 1630-1830 in GE-117 (subject to change).

Although portions of this class may be taught using tele-presence equipment, this class will not be videotaped. The making of video or audio recordings is strictly prohibited.

Contact Information

Course LocationTuesdays: 1700-1800 Glasgow 113
 Thursdays: 1630-1830 Root 277A
Instructor:Simson L. Garfinkel, Ph.D.
Phone:831-656-7602 (office); 617-876-6111 (home)
Internet e-mail: slgarfin
Office Hours:Tuesdays, 1000-1200

Course Goal

Upon completing this class, you will understand how US law and emerging international standards of conduct affects Internet users. You will be conversant with many current statutes, cases, and ongoing policy debates in Washington. You will know the names and positions of the major non-governmental groups that are affecting the policy debate, and will be able to perform an independent analysis of new policy situations that will arise in the future.

Course Description

This class examines the major controversies affecting today's Internet resulting from the interplay of policy, law, technology and human nature. Topics include computer crime; intellectual property; privacy; encryption; free speech; identity; data mining and additional DoD specific issues. Readings include laws, judicial opinions, popular articles, and academic computer science articles. Assignments include written exercises, a midterm quiz analyzing a public policy problem, and term paper

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

Course Format

This course is being offered in conjunction with Harvard University using a real-time two-way video teleconferencing setup.

Prior to each class, you will be given between 5 and 20 pages of material to read or review.

During each class, you will discuss the readings and answer questions posed by the professor and their fellow students.

After each class, you will continue the discussion using a password-protected electronic collaboration forum that is open to students at both NPS and students at Harvard. (We won't use Blackboard!)

Prerequisites and Technical Requirements

You should have a basic understanding of computer systems and Internet protocols; basic civics. You should be able to write a coherent essay between 5 and 10 pages in length.


Most of the reading will be from court opinions, scholarly articles, popular articles, and other reference materials that we will make available on the course website. In addition, we will be reading most of these two booksbook:

Privacy On the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption (Updated and Expanded Edition) is the primary text for this course. We will be reading the entire textbook during the course.

Our goal in using this text is three-fold. First, survey courses such as this tend to give students a little information about a lot of things; the goal of reading the entire text is so that you will also learn a lot of one thing in particular (and in this case, a very important thing).

Second, the controversy discussed in the book can be viewed as a model for understanding every other controversy that we will encounter. Time and again changing technology brings up a policy conundrum. Solutions are found. But the conundrum doesn't go away--it just morphs into a slightly different conundrum.

Third, the specific technologies problems that are discussed in this book underly the majority of the other policy issues that we will be discussing during the class.

We hope that you enjoy reading Privacy On the Line.


Grades are calculated as follows:

4 1-page assignments 10%
4-page brief #1 10%
4-page brief #2 10%
Class Participation (first half) 10%
Midterm 20%
Class Participation (second half) 10%
Final Paper 30%

Response Papers

You will be required to write two response paper that explains your intellectual reaction to the readings. The typical response paper will include two sections. The first section will objectively explain some aspect of the reading you wish to focus on. The second section will analyze it, arguing its truth or falsehood, putting the subject argued into a broader context, or showing how the reading material directly applies to some issue or event. Response papers should be no more than 400 words in length (that's approximately four times longer than this paragraph).

Your response paper should not be a list of bullet points. Instead, the paper should be a compact, well-reasoned essay about the subject at hand. You will be graded both on the content and on the writing quality.

Your response paper is not a book report. We have read the material that is assigned, and we assume that you have read it also. The purpose of the response paper is to give you an opportunity to think about the material and work with it before you come to class---in part so that you will have some tangible aspect of the reading to discuss with your classmates.

A rubrick explaining our grading policy will be distributed before the first assignment is due.

Written Briefs:

You will write two one-page and two four-page briefs that will analyze a case or public policy problem in detail. You will be guided in writing the first brief using a web-based brief writing assignment created especially for this course. The second brief you will write on your own.

Class Participation:

This is a seminar-style class. As such, class participation is an important part of the experience.

Your grade for class participation will include your contributions on the class website, your attendance, and your preparation.

We will provide you with your "first half" class participation grade following the midterm examination, giving you a "heads up" on how you are doing while there is still an opportunity to make substantive improvements.

Collaboration, Plagiarism, Academic Integrity and the Honor Code

It is strongly recommended that you discuss the readings and assignments with your classmates. You may wish to organize reading or study groups for this purpose. However, it is also expected that the homework you submit will be your own work. You may not collaborate on the response papers; collaboration on the final project is limited to your assigned groups.

Plagiarism in any form will not be tolerated in this course. This includes both direct plagiarism, in which you reprint words written by another person without reference, and to intellectual plagiarism, in which you present another person's ideas or argument as if they are your own.

The easiest way to protect yourself from a charge of plagiarism is to be careful in your citations. There is nothing wrong with quoting other authors provided that you properly cite their work. Likewise, there is nothing wrong with presenting an argument that has been advanced by another author, but you must give that author credit in your writing.

Academic integrity on the part of U.S. and International officers and civilians participating in NPS programs is an important aspect of professional performance.

The midterm exam is open book, which includes the use of all books, notes, and on-line sources that do not involve interaction with a person.

The provisions of NAVPGSCOLINST 5370.1C of the Academic Honor Code will be strictly enforced.

If you have questions about collaboration, plagiarism or academic integrity, please contact the class staff.

Citation Policy

It is expected that you will reference a variety of articles and other sources in the preparation of your assignments and final project. You are welcome to use either the so-called "Harvard Style" or IEEE style to cite your references. A URL without an author, title, publication title, and publication date is not an acceptable citation format. Citations that are bare URLs will be ignored.

Wikipedia entries are surprisingly good and will frequently be recommended as supplementary reading in this course. However, due to the nature of how Wikipedia is complied and edited, Wikipedia entries are not to be used as authortative citations in this course.


Grades are based on an absolute scale:

A90 to 100% of the total possible points
B80 to 89% of the total possible points
C70 to 79% of the total possible points
D60 to 69% of the total possible points
F0 to 59% of the total possible points


Communication is a central part of every course. This section of the syllabus describes what we expect from your communications with your fellow students and the course staff.


For announcements and assignments, the Web is our authoritative form of communication. Students are expected to check the home page for both news and assignments at least once a week. If you hear a rumor, check it there. If you miss an announcement, it should be on the home page.

Homework (added October 8th)

All homework is due at the start of class on the day for which it is assigned. Late homework is not accepted except in extraordinary cases.

Class Participation

This is a seminar-style class. As such,

Your grade for class participation will include your contributions on the class website, your attendance, and your preparation.

We will provide you with your "first half" class participation grade following the midterm examination, giving students a "heads up" on how they are doing while there is still an opportunity to make substantive improvements.

General protocols for Email and Discussion Forums

Although email and discussion forums may feel like talking, it's important to remember that they are written communication. You may feel the need to quickly respond to a message, but many minutes, hours, or even days may elapse between the time that you write something and the time it will be read. Therefore:

Discussion Forum Protocols

Communication with Course Staff

Office Hours