CS590B/690B - Measuring Network Interference Fall 2016

Instructor: Phillipa Gill
Time: Tu/Th 8:30-9:50
Location: CS Rm. 142
Forum: Piazza



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: 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 105% to allow for a potential of 5% bonus. You must pass both midterms to pass the course.

Component CS590B CS690B
Course Project - 25%
Midterm exams 15%+15% 10%+10%
Assignments 40% (10% each) 40% (10% each)
Paper Summaries 20% 10%
Paper Presentation 15% 10%

Tentative Schedule

All information subject to change. **Readings in italics are optional**
Date Presenter Notes Topics Readings
Part 1: Measuring Internet Censorship
Sept 8 *Note: no class Sept. 6 because of orientation* L01 Introduction, History of Censorship
Sept 13 L02 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Sept 15 L03 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Sept 20 L04 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Sept 22 L05 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Sept 27 L06 Challenges of Measuring Internet Censorship
Sept 29 No class: Phillipa Traveling.
Oct 4 L07 Net Neutrality / Traffic Differentiation
Oct 6 L08 Finishing up Net Neutrality + Measurement Frameworks/Platforms
Oct 11 Classes follow Monday schedule. No class!
Oct 13 L09 Case Study: Iran + Case Study: Pakistan



Oct 18 L10 Case Study: China
Oct 20 Project Idea Presentations
Oct 25 L11 Censorship of Online Social Networks
Oct 27 L12 Fingerprinting censorship products
Part 2: Circumvention and the Censorship Arms Race
Nov 1 L13 Approaches to anonymity
Nov 3 L14 Attacks on Tor: Relay-based attacks and mitigation
Nov 8 L15 Attacks on Tor: Timing-Attacks (+ Internet routing review)
Nov 10 L16 Feasibility + mitigation of timing attacks
Nov 15 Midterm 1
Nov 17

Phillipa Away. Watch the following:

CITP Conference on Internet Censorship, Interference and Control

Panel 1 Panel 2 Panel 3

Nov 29



Covert Channels + Attacks on Covert Channels
Dec 1    L18 Decoy Routing
Dec 6 L19 Attack on Decoy Routing
Dec 8 Final project presentations
Dec 13 Midterm 2

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.

Accommodation Statement: 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.