Computers, Privacy & the Constitution

Computers, Privacy, & the Constitution

Professor Eben Moglen

Columbia Law School, Spring 2016

All revisions should now be compelete.

My office hours are Wednesdays, 3:45-5:30pm, in JG642, and by arrangement at other times. Please email for an appointment, or consult my assistant, SaiMadivala, at 212-461-1905.

Technology project 1: Create a GPG key and upload it to the keyservers

Details and instructions

Technology project 2: Better browsing control

Details and instructions

Technology project 3: Installing Tails

Details and instructions

Technology project 4: Pseudonymous Email Using Tails

Details and instructions

Technology project 5: Pseudonymous IM Using Tails

Details and instructions

On The Radar

Alex Hern, Revealed: How copyright law is being misused to remove material from the internet, The Guardian, May 23, 2016

James Stewart, Facebook Has 50 Minutes of Your Time Each Day. It Wants More., New York Times, May 5, 2016

Danny Yadron, Supreme court grants FBI massive expansion of powers to hack computers, The Guardian, April 29, 2016

Sarah Jeong, How Technology Helps Creditors Control Debtors, The Atlantic, April 15, 2016

Ellen Nakashima, How a federal spy case turned into a child pornography prosecution, Washington Post, April 5, 2016

Charlie Savage, Obama Administration Set to Expand Sharing of Data That NSA Intercepts, New York Times, February 25, 2016

Katie Benner, Apple Chief Calls Court Order to Unlock iPhone ‘Unprecedented Step’, New York Times, February 17, 2016

Iain Thomson, Brit spies can legally hack PCs and phones, say Brit spies' overseers, The Register. February 12, 2016

Adrienne LaFrance, Facebook and the New Colonialism, The Atlantic, February 11, 2016

Kim Zetter, NSA Hacker Chief Explains How to Keep Him Out of Your System, Wired, January 28, 2016

Kieren McCarthy, Senate marks Data Privacy Day with passage of critical bill for Safe Harbor, January 28, 2016

Harry Davies and Danny Yadron, How Facebook tracks and profits from voters in a $10bn US election, The Guardian, January 28, 2016

Kieren McCarthy, For fsck's SAKKE: GCHQ-built phone voice encryption has massive backdoor – researcher, The Register, January 19, 2016

Matthew Weaver, Turkey rounds up academics who signed petition denouncing attacks on Kurds, The Guardian, January 15, 2016.

Glyn Moody, Dutch government: Encryption good, backdoors bad: Will also provide a grant of $537,000 to support the OpenSSL project, Ars Technica, January 6, 2016.

Sam Schechner and William Horobin, France Expands Government’s Security Powers in Wake of Paris Attacks: Lower house extends state of emergency, Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2015.

Alan Travis, Mass snooping and more – the measures in Theresa May's bill, The Guardian, November 4, 2015.

European Court of Human Rights, Grand Chamber, Zakharov v. Russia, No. 47143/06, December 4 2015

Andrei Soldatov and Irinia Borogan, Inside the Red Web: Russia's back door onto the internet–extract, The Guardian, September 8, 2015

Carl Shreck, Russian Law On Rejecting Human Rights Courts Violates Constitution, Experts Say, Radio Free Europe, January 19, 2016 and World Wide Web Foundation, India's Surveillance State, September 2014.

Danny Yadron, Moxie Marlinspike: The Coder Who Encrypted Your Texts, Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2015

Jay Stanley, Shotspotter CEO Answers Questions on Gunshot Detectors in Cities, ACLU Blog, May 5, 2015

Fokke Obbema, Marije Vlaskamp & Michael Persson, China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour, Volkskrant, April 25, 2015

Dan Goodin, Lawyer representing whistle blowers finds malware on drive supplied by cops, Ars Technica, April 14, 2015

Simon Sharwood, Watch out: Samsung's TV is watching YOU as you watch it, The Register, February 9, 2015

Micah Lee, Secret ‘BADASS’ Intelligence Program Spied on Smartphones, The Intercept, January 26, 2015

Tim Cushing, New York's Top Prosecutor Says We Need New Laws To Fight iPhone/Android Encryption, Techdirt, January 13, 2015

Julian Assange, Who Should Own the Internet?, New York Times, December 4, 2014

People Love Spying On One Another: A Q & A With Facebook Critic Eben Moglen, Washington Post, November 19, 2014

Eben Moglen, The GCHQ boss’s assault on privacy is promoting illegality on the net, The Guardian, November 13, 2014


The seminar will address topics on the following themes. We will be building on and updating the linked reference materials in the upcoming weeks so keep an eye on the work in this section.

A Word on Technology Old and New About the Word

This seminar is an attempt to learn about, understand and predict the development of law in a rapidly changing area. We must assemble the field of knowledge relevant to our questions even as we begin trying to answer them. Wiki technology is an ideal match for the work we have in hand. Below you will find an introduction to this particular wiki, or TWiki, where you can learn as much or as little about how this technology works as you want.

For now, the most important thing is just that any page of the wiki has an edit button, and your work in the course consists of writings that we will collaboratively produce here. You can make new pages, edit existing pages, attach files to any page, add links, leave comments in the comment boxes--whatever in your opinion adds to a richer dialog. During the semester I will assign writing exercises, which will also be posted here. All of everyone's work contributes to a larger and more informative whole, which is what our conversation is informed by, and helps us to understand.

Please begin by registering. I look forward to seeing you at our first meeting on the 17th.

Introduction to the CompPrivConst Web

The CompPrivConst site is a collaborative class space built on Twiki [], a free software wiki system. If this is your first time using a wiki for a long term project, or first time using a wiki at all, you might want to take a minute and look around this site. If you see something on the page that you don't know how to create in a wiki, take a look at the text that produced it using the "Edit" button at the top of each page, and feel free to try anything out in the Sandbox.

All of the Twiki documentation is also right at hand. Follow the TWiki link in the sidebar. There are a number of good tutorials and helpful FAQs there explaining the basics of what a wiki does, how to use Twiki, and how to format text.

From TWiki's point of view, this course, Computers, Privacy, & the Constitution, is one "web." There are other webs here: the sandbox for trying wiki experiments, for example, and my other courses, etc. You're welcome to look around in those webs too, of course. Below are some useful tools for dealing with this particular web of ours. You can see the list of recent changes, and you can arrange to be notified of changes, either by email or by RSS feed. I would strongly recommend that you sign up for one or another form of notification; if not, it is your responsibility to keep abreast of the changes yourself.


CompPrivConst Web Utilities


Webs Webs

r235 - 25 Jul 2016 - 19:07:42 - EbenMoglen
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All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
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