16:198:500:04 Light Seminar: Accountability in Online Life

16:198:500:04 Light Seminar: Accountability in Online Life

Prof. Rebecca Wright
Rutgers University
Fall 2011

Time: Most meetings are Tuesdays, 5:00-6:15pm.
Location: CoRE Building, Room 305 (CoRE B)

Seminar Description

The World Wide Web and other networked information systems provide enormous benefits by enabling access to unprecedented amounts of information. However, for many years, users have been frustrated by the fact that these systems also create significant problems. Sensitive data are disclosed, confidential corporate data are stolen, copyrights are infringed, and databases owned by one government organization are accessed by members of another in violation of government policy. The frequency of such incidents continues to increase, and an incident must now be truly outrageous to be considered newsworthy.

The standard technical approach to privacy and security in online life is preventive: before someone can access confidential data or take any other action that implicated privacy or security, she should be required to prove that she is authorized to do so. As the scale and complexity of online activity has grown, it has become apparent that the preventive approach is inadequate; an alternate approach includes accountability mechanisms to complement preventive measures.

In this light seminar / reading group, we will discuss papers that provide definitions and frameworks for accountability, as well as looking at a number of proposed and/or implemented systems from the perspective of accountability. After the initial meeting, students will take turns presenting papers. All students should read the papers to be presented before each meeting.


Date Paper(s) or Topic Presenter
September 13 Overview and organization,
Accountability and Deterrence in Online Life
Rebecca Wright
September 20 Towards a Formal Model of Accountability Joe Wegehaupt
October 25 Making Currency Inexpensive with iOwe Faisal Khan
November 1 Balancing Accountability and Privacy Using E-cash Faisal Khan
November 8 Dissent: accountable anonymous group messaging Sai Lu
November 15 Dissent: accountable anonymous group messaging, cont'd. Sai Lu
Monday December 12 3-5pm Accountable Virtual Machines Joe Wegehaupt


The following is a list of papers appropriate to present in the seminar. Presenters, when applicable, are shown in square brackets. Students: if there are papers not on this list that you think should be added, let me know. Also let me know if you think something belongs in a different category than I've listed it in.

Papers on modeling accountability from the Computer Science community

Papers on accountability from other communities
Presentations of these papers should address to what extent these papers could apply to on-line life, whether models we've looked at could model aspects of what these papers talk about, etc. Papers on systems that provide (or might provide) some notion of accountability.
Presentations of these papers should include analysis of: what kind of accountability is provided? is not provided? what can be proven? what kinds of modifications might enable more, or different kinds of, accountability? etc.

Last updated 11/21/2011 by
rebecca.wright (at) rutgers.edu
Copyright © 2011 Rebecca N. Wright