CS590B/690B - Measuring Network Interference Spring 2018

Instructor: Phillipa Gill
Time: M/W 9:05-10:20
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 110% to allow for a potential of 10% bonus. You must pass both midterms to pass the course.

Component CS590B CS690B
Course Project 25% 25%
Midterm exams 10%+10% 10%+10%
Assignments 40% 40%
Paper Summaries 10% 10%
Paper Presentation 15% 15%

Tentative Schedule

All information subject to change. **Readings in italics are optional** **Notes will be posted after lecture**
Date Presenter Notes Topics Readings
Part 1: Measuring Internet Censorship
Jan 22 L01 Introduction, History of Censorship
Jan 24 L02 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Jan 29 L03 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Jan 31 L04 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Feb 5 L05 Censorship Methods and Measurement Techniques
Feb 7   Snow Day Class Cancelled  
Feb 12 L06
Spooky Scan Brief Slides
Challenges of Measuring Internet Censorship
Feb 14 L07 Measurement Frameworks/Platforms
Feb 19   Presidents Day Holiday No Class  
Feb 21 Phillipa Traveling
Feb 26 L08 Net Neutrality / Traffic Differentiation
Feb 28   Class cancelled



Mar 5   Case Study: China + Iran China Iran:
Mar 7 Midterm 1  
Mar 12   Spring Break  
Mar 14   Spring Break  
Mar 19 L11 Censorship of Online Social Networks
Mar 21 L12 Fingerprinting censorship products
Part 2: Circumvention and the Censorship Arms Race
Mar 26   Guest Lecture by Ruxandra Paul of Amherst College  

Mar 28

L13 Approaches to anonymity
Apr 2 L14 Attacks on Tor: Relay-based attacks and mitigation
Apr 4 L15 Attacks on Tor: Timing-Attacks (+ Internet routing review)
Apr 9 L16 Feasibility + mitigation of timing attacks
Apr 11



Covert Channels + Attacks on Covert Channels
Apr 16 Patriots Day -- No Class
Apr 17 L18 Decoy routing

* Note this is a Tuesday

Apr 18 Phillipa Traveling -- No Class
Apr 23 L19 Attack on Decoy Routing
Apr 25   Final project presentations  
Apr 30 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.