15-508 / 17-801 / 19-608: Privacy Policy, Law, and Technology

Homework 10 - due March 25, 2004

Reading assignment: Garfinkel Garfinkel 5, 9; Agre and Rotenberg 6, 9; Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains; Big Brother in the Wires; The Transparent Society

1. Give two examples of cases where the US government used personal data inappropriately to violate the civil liberties of US citizens.

2. Find a 1-meter (or better) accuracy satellite photo of CMU on the Internet. Explain how and where you found it. Cut and paste it into your homework. Does the availability of such photos raise any privacy concerns for you? Why or why not? At what level of resolution do satellite photos start raising privacy concerns for you? Explain.

3. Provide a brief description of each of the following government programs, and explain the current status (is it ongoing or has it been terminated?) and privacy concerns raised by each (you should write a short paragraph about each program): (a) Clipper (b) Echelon (c) CAPS II (d) TIA (e) Carnivore (f) CALEA.

4. How have the US government's surveillance powers changed since September 11, 2001? Do you believe any of these changes are appropriate in light of the heightened terrorist threat?

5. At the end of his essay, Brin asks, "Can we stand living our lives exposed to scrutiny ... our secrets laid out in the open ... if in return we get flashlights of our own, that we can shine on the arrogant and strong? Or is privacy's illusion so precious that it is worth any price, including surrendering our own right to pierce the schemes of the powerful?" What do you think? Explain.