CS590B/690B - Measuring Network Interference Spring 2018
Instructor: Phillipa Gill
Time: M/W 9:05-10:20
Location: CS Rm. 142
This course will cover topics related to the broad issue of detecting network interference. This will include topics such as traffic differentiation, surveillance, and blocking of content. Tentative list of topics:
- History of information controls
- Ethical/legal issues around Internet censorship
- Methods used for implementing Internet censorship around the globe
- Tools and techniques for detecting censorship and traffic differentiation
- Censorship of social media
- Circumvention/anonymization technologies
The goal of this class is to leave you with the skills and knowledge needed to explain how different technical online information controls work as well as and understanding of the current landscape of research in this area. The course requirements are designed around meeting these goals through a variety of hands on activities, readings and evaluation.
There is no required textbook for the course. Readings will be posted with the associated lectures.
The course will assume basic familiarity with networking protocols (e.g., TCP, HTTP). The material is appropriate for students that have previously taken the graduate networking course, or equivalent.
Your grade will be computed based on multiple components weight as follows for CS590B/690B. Totals add to 110% to allow for a potential of 10% bonus. You must pass both midterms to pass the course.
- Course Project: You will work in a group of 2-3 students to complete a semester long project related to Internet censorship. This term your project task will be to repeat an existing study on Internet censorship. You should review papers from previous instances of the FOCI workshop, Internet Measurement Conference, USENIX Security, and other related conferences (or the course readings). Pick one of these papers to repeat for your project. You may consider older papers that bear revisiting. For your project you should carefully read the paper and figure out how you will repeat the study. Did they use public data sets that are collected on an ongoing basis? Did they use an infrastructure like PlanetLab where RIPE Atlas is a larger scale new alternative? You will compare the results of your repetition of the study with the original, taking into account changing censorship behaviors, any improvements you made to the methodology etc.
- Midterm Exams: The course material is divided into two topic areas (1) measurement of censorship and online information controls and (2) circumvention and the censorship arms race. There will be two midterm exams in the course, each covering roughly 1/2 of the course material. The first midterm is Mar. 7, 2018 and the second midterm is [TBD].
- Assignments: There will be 5 assignments to acquaint you with relevant measurement tools and techniques for a total of 40% of your final grade.
- Paper Summaries: Each lecture has associated readings. You are required to write one (1) paper summary for each lecture (blog postings and Web links don't count). When there are multiple readings for a lecture, each student will be assigned one paper (if your student ID is odd, review the first paper, if your ID is even, please review the second paper). We will use the HotCRP review system (info coming soon!) to manage paper summaries and discussions. You will be asked to include a brief summary of the paper, it's strengths and weaknesses, ideas to improve it as well as detailed technical comments and then engage in technical discussion of the paper in the HotCRP system.
- Paper Discussions. Prof. Gill will present a brief summary of each of the assigned papers in class. If there are multiple papers assigned for a class one of them will be chosen for a more in depth class discussion/debate. If your student ID%10 < 5 (ie., 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 mod 10) you will argue FOR the paper being discussed. If your student ID%10 >= 5 you will argue AGAINST the paper being discussed. We will dedicate 10-15 minutes at the end of class to debate the merits of the paper. You should think of this like a mock program committee meeting. By the end we will try to reach a consensus about the fate of the paper (accept, reject, accept if room).
All information subject to change. **Readings in italics are optional**
**Notes will be posted after lecture**
University policies and information
Academic Honesty Statement:
Since the integrity of the academic enterprise of any institution of higher education requires honesty in scholarship and research, academic honesty is required of all students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in all programs of the University. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to: cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and facilitating dishonesty. Appropriate sanctions may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should take reasonable steps to address academic misconduct. Any person who has reason to believe that a student has committed academic dishonesty should bring such information to the attention of the appropriate course instructor as soon as possible. Instances of academic dishonesty not related to a specific course should be brought to the attention of the appropriate department Head or Chair. Since students are expected to be familiar with this policy and the commonly accepted standards of academic integrity, ignorance of such standards is not normally sufficient evidence of lack of intent.
Please read the UMass Academic Honesty Policy
Other Academic Regulations:
The Office of the Registrar
publishes Academic Regulations
yearly. You should be familiar with them. Particularly relevant are the policies on attendance, absences due to religious observance, and examinations.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in this course. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that we may make appropriate arrangements.