6.885 – Critical Perspectives on Security and Privacy Architectures

Faculty: Daniel Weitzner (CSAIL), Jerry Sussman (EECS) with Mike Specter (Google)
Spring 2022 – Room 24-112 – Th2:00-4:00pm

Prerequisites: 6.805 or 6.033 or permission of instructors
Enrollment limited to 15 students
2-0-10: one 2 hour meeting per week


Explore technical approaches to addressing privacy and security requirements with the goal of critically assessing how these systems meet or fall short of social and public policy goals. Study foundational privacy and cybersecurity legal frameworks as well as relevant concepts in information economics to understand incentives driving technical design. Technical readings include leading papers in anonymity, public ledgers, privacy enhancing technologies, policy aware systems, cryptographic computing and differential privacy. Several invited speakers from industry, government and civil society organizations will offer guest lectures.

Learning Objectives

  • Become familiar with key protocol, algorithm and design approaches to security and privacy problems
  • Develop the ability to evaluate social and policy impact of existing and new privacy and security system design approaches
  • Critically assess privacy and security laws imposing technical requirements on large scale digital systems.


Graduate and upper-level undergraduates in computer science and related fields with an interest in privacy and security system design and implementation.


  • 2 short seminar papers during semester [30%]
  • Final paper (10-15 pages) [50%]
  • class participation [20%]

Weekly Readings and Syllabus