Data Privacy Lab  

Harvard University

Data Science to Save the World

Gov 2430

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Lab 1 | Course Wiki


A goal of this project is to develop an automated benevolent program that locates resumes on the Web having Social Security Numbers, and then, for each resume found, sends an automated email message alerting the subject that they are needlessly placing themselves at risk to identity theft. We would automate the system and have it operate 24/7 for the remainder of the semester and measure its overall performance and impact.

Activity. Towards an Operational System

Divide into groups of 1 or more people based on your interest in the following next step activities. It is fine, and perhaps even desirable, to have competing and alternative submissions for the same activities. If more than one group wants to do any activity, you are welcomed to do so.

The course wiki provides a space for sharing resources, including reports from last week. You should have received your username and password for the wiki by email. If not, please contact Professor Sweeney.

Technology Construction.

Construct part or all of a system and run one or more experiments to test the system (or part). Report on results.

Overall Experimental Design.

Design the overall experiment we will conduct as a group. What is the hypothesis? How do we know we succeeded? What are the steps for us to execute? Any survey questions?

Publicity and Messaging.

Construct the content of the email message(s) and frequently asked questions we will use during the experiment and talking points and press release assuming successful outcomes.

Ethics and Legal Issues.

Identify one or more ethical and legal challenges formulated as hypotheses and describe operational characteristics to address them.

Paper and Presentation (Due Next Week)

Submit a short paper (3-5 pages) from your group describing your effort. Make a 5 minute presentation of your results. Be sure to include the names of all group members on the paper.

In this course you will usually write scientific papers. The basic parts of the scientific paper you will write for this assignment will have four parts: an Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. These should be the headings in your writeup. The Abstract section should be a one paragraph summary stating what you intend to show with the experiment, how and the expected outcome. The Introduction describes why your experiment is important. You should not assume the person reading the paper knows anything about this assignment. Include references and use authoritative sources to make your points. You should not make any sweeping or unsubstantiated statements in your writing. End the Introduction with a description of the hypothesis you will test. The Methods section is where you describe the experiment you would do to test the hypothesis. Report your findings in the Results section. Use the Discussion section to explain issues related to your work. Include at least one statement about the limits of your approach.

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