IST 452 Fall 2015 Syllabus

Students in IST 452 will explore legal, regulatory, public policy and ethical issues in connection with privacy and information security, both generally and in the context of new and emerging technologies. A basic focus of the course will be the manner in which legal and regulatory principles have evolved in order to deal effectively with new privacy and security issues that have arisen as the pace of technological advancement in the information technology field has increased.

One key recurring theme will be the seemingly inherent tension between protection of privacy, on the one hand, and robust counterterrorism and law enforcement measures, on the other. The course will examine issues of civil liberties in connection with recent legislation aimed at strengthening the measures available to governmental authorities to gain access to information for law enforcement and counterterrorism purposes.

The semester will be divided into four discrete, yet interrelated units. The course will begin with an examination of basic legal and Constitutional principles in order to provide the necessary framework for onward discussion of specific legal and regulatory issues. The class sessions of Unit One will consider the legal process generally, including sessions on civil and criminal law and procedure as well as on electronic evidence and electronic data discovery. Relevant provisions of the U.S. Constitution, in particular the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, will be discussed, along with judicial opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts that have interpreted Constitutional principles in applying them to privacy-related cases. Unit One will also consider the fundamental concept of privacy in today’s Information Age as well as international approaches to privacy, which in some ways differ markedly from the American approach.

Unit Two will focus on the powers, rights and obligations of governmental authorities with respect to the compilation and maintenance of records containing personally identifiable information and on government access to personal data. Class sessions will consider the Privacy Act, the Freedom of Information Act and other relevant legislation, including laws governing electronic surveillance. The privacy implications of the U.S. Government’s national security and counterterrorism policies will also be examined.

Unit Three will deal with issues of information security. The emerging problem of cybercrime will be addressed in connection with a discussion of white collar crime generally. Class sessions will also examine the related issue of cyberterrorism and the protection of critical information-based infrastructure. Unit Three will conclude with an overview of laws and polices relating to intellectual property, including class sessions dealing with trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and patents.

The private data industry will be the main topic of discussion in Unit Four. Issues will include financial privacy, employment and service provider contracting, private database protection and other issues relating to the commercial use of personal data.

Basic Course Information

Course Title: IST 452: Legal and Regulatory Environment of Privacy and Security
Class Section: 1
Class Meetings: MWF 11:15-12:05p in 110 IST Building
Credits: 3


Name: Marc Friedenberg (please just call me “Marc”)
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9–11a; Wednesdays 1:00–2:15p; or by appointment. I’m usually very flexible with timing or if you want to meet by phone, Skype, etc., as well.
Twitter@straymarcs. Follow this account to get notified when I post links that I think you might find interesting (with hashtag #ist432)
Web Site
Office Location: 101L IST Building (directions)
Office Phone: 814–863–0251

Learning Assistant

Name: Colin Mueller
Office Hours: Tuesday 9:45–10:45a in Reese’s Cafe, and by appointment.

Required Text

Privacy, Information, and Technology
Solove & Schwartz, Privacy, Information, and Technology (3d Ed.), Aspen Publishers, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-7355-71042-5.

We will be reading this book closely so I do strongly suggest that you get a copy. Note that an insert for our textbook is available from the publisher. Among other things, this insert includes an excerpt from United States v. Jones, a key Fourth Amendment case involving the use of GPS tracking devices by law enforcement.

A copy of the book is also available on reserve at Pattee Library.


Our course schedule is available here, and is also embedded below for your convenience. I may make changes to this schedule as we go through the semester, but will alert you to those changes in class.

Note that, unless otherwise specified, reading assignments are to be completed prior to the class session for which they are listed, and that homework assignments are due on the day of the class session for which they are listed.

Score Tracking Table

In-class Exercises50
Homework Assignments115
Unit 1 Quiz120
Unit 2 Quiz120
Unit 3 Quiz120
Team Paper & Abstract200
Team Paper Peer Evaluation25
Final Examination250

Letter Grade Table

Letter GradeMin. Points


Quizzes and Final Examination

There will be three quizzes, held at the conclusion of units One, Two and Three and based on material covered during each unit. Each will consist primarily of objective multiple-choice, true/false and short-answer questions, but may also include short answer and/or essay questions. You can use one double-sided 8.5 x 11″ sheet of your own handwritten notes during the quiz.

There will also be a final examination scheduled during finals week. The final examination will likewise consist of a combination of objective multiple-choice questions and short answer/essay questions. The final examination will cover material presented throughout the course, but will have a particular emphasis on Unit Four. You can use one double-sided 8.5 x 11″ sheet of your own handwritten notes during the final.

Results will be posted as soon as possible after each quiz and after the final examination. The dates for unit quizzes indicated on the class schedule are subject to change; any changes will be announced in class and posted to the course ANGEL website.

Team Research Project Paper

Each group will research a topic determined through a proposal and approval process administered by the teaching team concerning various key issues in privacy and information security. Possible topics will be provided for team consideration. Teams will be required to submit an abstract at least two weeks before their final papers. The abstract should include the key points of the topic and the reason for choosing it.

Attendance, Participation and Assignments

Attendance is expected for all classes, tests and group activities. Excused absences will be granted for good reason, but the teaching team must be notified of the absence and the reason in advance of the class day in question. Unexcused absences in excess of three (3) will result in a grade reduction of ten (10) points per missed class session from your course point total (equal to one percent of your course grade). Additionally, students will not be awarded points for any in-class activities that occur on class days during which the student’s absence is unexcused (including the initial two unexcused absences).

Topics discussed during all class sessions will be tested on the quizzes/final examination. The slides on which instructor presentations are based—and which will be available on ANGEL after each class session—will contain most, but not all of the material for which students will be responsible. Similarly, students are responsible for material contained in the assigned readings.

Participation in the classroom (including participation in in-class exercises) is likewise expected, as is the timely completion and submission of out-of-class assignments.

Make-up/Late Assignments

No make-up exams, quizzes or other assignments will be given without prior approval by the instructor and valid written documentation supporting the request. The same rule applies to homework assignments and in-class activities.

Make-ups for tests and/or assignments for students who do not comply with these rules may, at the discretion of the instructor, be allowed on a reduced-point basis.

Assignments turned in late will, at the discretion of the instructor, be graded on a reduced-point basis.

Case Briefing Assignments

Student teams will be responsible for preparing so-called “case briefs” on assigned court cases dealing with the subject matter of the course. Six written case briefs will be assigned as homework over the course of the semester. In addition, each team will be assigned to make one oral presentation of a case brief.

Grades for Teams

All team members are expected to contribute equitably to the work of their respective teams. Accordingly, all team members will normally receive the same grade for each assignment. If, however, there is evidence that one or more team members contributed either minimally or not at all, the instructor reserves the right to reduce their grades.

Course Policies & Odds and Ends

  • Please plan to arrive a few minutes early and to remain until class is dismissed to help avoid disrupting class discussions or your classmates’ concentration.
  • During class, please don’t use computers or mobile devices for things that aren’t related to class.
  • Student grades are posted in the ANGEL Gradebook, and students are responsible for monitoring their grades there.
  • In accordance with the University policy AD 11 on Confidentiality of Student Records, grades or other student records will NEVER be provided by telephone or to third parties.
  • Written documentation of any problems related to the assignment of scores must be brought to the attention of the teaching team within one week of the date the scores were first reported to students.
  • I’d like to spend at least five minutes in office hours with every student in the first few weeks of the semester, just so I can get to know you and what you’re looking to get out of the class. Please stop by when you are able.
  • The first item in the Lessons tab on ANGEL is a discussion forum entitled “General Discussion.” If you have a question or comment that you think might be relevant to the entire class, you can post it there. You may post anonymously in this discussion forum if you wish.
  • I will do everything in my power to help you do well in this course and to master the material. Do not hesitate to call, e-mail, or visit me at any time for help. I’m also always happy to have a detailed discussion about how I think you’re doing in the class, or why you got a certain grade on an assignment. I’m a firm believer that you learn the most from your mistakes, so I encourage you to closely review and think about the feedback I give you.
  • IST 452 participates in the Newspaper-in-Education program, implemented locally as Penn State’s Newspaper Readership program. Students are encouraged to find stories, editorials and advertisements related to course subject matter, read these items and be prepared to discuss them within your teams and during class. Use one or more quality national newspapers of your choice (i.e., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today) and various regional/local newspapers.

Study Guide for Law

IST 452 is not a law school course, but it is largely a course about law. Legal reasoning and analysis skills are fundamental aspects of the study of law and law-related material, and students will be encouraged to develop these skills. One particularly useful skill is the ability to summarize, or “brief” court cases, and attention will be given to this during the course.

Law is complex and requires interpretation; understanding of the underlying legal principles and relevant statutory and case law must be acquired continuously through steady, consistent and progressive exposure over the whole semester. The study of law necessarily involves considerable, close study of relevant texts including excerpts from constitutions, statutes, regulations, cases and explanatory texts. Reading and discussion about law has traditionally been, and continues to be, the primary pedagogical method to learn law. Students are expected to read and reason through all the readings carefully before the class for which they were assigned. Court cases are primarily included in the course materials to provide real-life examples of the legal concepts. Legal cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts continue to be the primary vehicles by which constitutional and statutory provisions are interpreted and adapted to changing circumstances and evolving technologies.

The PowerPoint slides available on ANGEL are highly abbreviated and are used primarily to focus attention on the subject. Detailed note taking is essential to fill in the many important details and note how the law applies in the examples given in the text and in class.

University Policies

Please review these university policies of interest, which are incorporated here by reference.

Last Modified Oct 19, 2015 @ 8:35 am