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Human Factors in Electronic Security and Privacy

Prof. Leilah Lyons
Office: 1132 SEO
Email: llyons[at]uic[dot]edu
Phone: (312) 355-1310
Office Hours: By appt.
Prof. Steve Jones
Office: 1150B BSB
Email: sjones (at) uic (dot) edu
Phone: (312) 996-3187
Office hours: By appt.

Course Description
This course will cover topics in Communication, Computer Science and New Media to understand what motivates use of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC), whether and how those motivations may trump risk
assessments, and whether and how people who engage in CMC perceive the security and privacy risks that software interfaces must be engineered around. It will emphasize techniques drawn from Human-Computer Interaction in order to engineer and study the efficacy of such interfaces. Students in this course will gain a grounding in the ever-evolving psychological and social realities affecting how humans respond to security and privacy issues and skills for designing, building, and assessing both single-user and community software interfaces. While the ideal form of security might be the one which users need never think about, the realities of the evolving challenges in security and privacy necessitates involving users as both informed operators and consumers of security and privacy technologies. How do users understand the prevalence, nature and extent of these risks, as well as the array of choices they have in dealing with the risks? This course will engage students in understanding and learning about how, in order to function in a connected world, users make decisions about how much risk they are willing to assume with any given action.

Suggested Textbook and Topics
Rogers, Y., Sharp, H., & Preece, J. (2011). Interaction design: Beyond human-computer interaction (3rd
edition). Chichester, UK: Wiley
In addition, many papers and book chapters will be assigned for readings every week regarding the following topics outlined below.

A week by week list of topics is outlined below. Students will be assigned at least two weeks during which they will be responsible for presenting a book, chapter, journal article, or some other reading material to the class. Their responsibility will be to summarize it, describe why it’s important (with particular focus on its theoretical contributions), contextualize it within the group of readings already assigned, and ask questions about it.
  1. Privacy and human factors: Definitions, contexts
  2. Dimensions of CMC: From interpersonal to mass communication
  3. Technology use, non-use and choice
  4. Trust and trustworthiness
  5. Surveillance, persistence, history and memory
  6. Accessibility, storage and retrieval
  7. Management of security and privacy
  8. User protection, rights and responsibilities
  9. Privacy, security, social relations and community
  10. Anonymity and identifiability
  11. Self-presentation and identity
  12. Reputation and prediction, Deception and obfuscation
Grading will be based on group project presentations, group project writeup, and class participation derived from presentations, discussion and close readings of the texts.