Hot Topics in Privacy Enhancing Technologies—Spring 2023

Instructor Ian Goldberg
Seminar times MW 2:00–3:50 pm
Office Hours Th 11:00 am–noon, or by appointment

Suggested Reading List

Students only:

Discussion Forum

Paper selection preferences

Paper reviews


This is a seminar course that examines current research into technologies that help users maintain their privacy, both online and in the real world.


This online synchronous seminar will take place within the BigBlueButton (BBB) web conferencing server [a link to the online seminar room can be found on LEARN]. The seminar will primarily consist of reading, reviewing, and presenting research papers. There will be two papers assigned to each class period, selected from the following topics:

All students are to have read both of the papers before the class, and to have submitted a review for one of them (of the student's choice) by 1:00 pm on the day of the lecture. Each paper will be presented to the class by one student, in a 25-minute conference-style presentation. The student presenting the paper will then lead the class in a discussion of the paper, taking 55 minutes for the presentation and discussion in total for each paper. Students should follow the presentation checklist when creating their presentations.

Students may choose to present live in the BBB room, or they may pre-record their presentations to be played back in the BBB room during their allotted time. Seminar presentations will be recorded and made available via LEARN for the following 14 days.

Note that all times for this course are specified in Eastern Time (the timezone of Waterloo and Toronto).


Students will work in pairs on an original research project on some topic related to privacy enhancing technologies. Each pair will submit a proposal to the instructor no later than June 8 at 1:00 pm. Near the end of term, they will present their work to the class in a 30-minute (including five minutes for questions) conference-style presentation. In addition, by August 1, they will produce a workshop-quality paper, 10–15 pages in length, describing their project.


Grades for this seminar will be calculated as follows:

20%Paper presentations
15%Reviews of papers
15%Class participation

Grades will be available after the end of term through LEARN.

Academic Integrity

Note that students are not generally permitted to submit the same work for credit in multiple classes. For example, if a student has reviewed or presented one of the papers in another seminar class, he or she should avoid reviewing or presenting it again for this class.

The general university policy:

Note for students with disabilities

AccessAbility Services, located in Needles Hall, Room 1401, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with AccessAbility Services at the beginning of each academic term.

Mental Health Support

All of us need a support system. We encourage you to seek out mental health supports when they are needed.

On-campus Resources:


Off-campus Resources:


It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, and that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class. We recognize the immense value of the diversity in identities, perspectives, and contributions that students bring, and the benefit it has on our educational environment. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In particular:

Territorial Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes ten kilometres on each side of the Grand River.