Privacy and Identity


Privacy, a fundamental human right, is important to our daily life, to our well-being and to a democratic society. Privacy is very hard to define as it encompasses a great landscape. As a bridge between computers and people (aka users), a computer scientist needs to understand and tackle security and privacy problems.

When people interact with the world, it increasingly means that they actually interact with the digital world. This happens voluntarily or involuntarily by the use of the Internet, the internet of things, mobile communication, surveillance systems, etc. The complexity and interrelation among these systems and among the different "projections" of the same person in these systems, challenge the human boundaries: What does identity mean in the digital world? How should one manage their identity? When should one be anonymous and which identity should one use in a given situation?

This course aims to give an understanding of privacy and identity as concepts and of their maintenance in our digital world. The subject requires the study of recent research results and the active participation in an ongoing discussion.


  • Privacy and Human Rights
  • Privacy in the Digital World
  • European (DPD, GDPR) and American perspectives
  • Big data and its impact
  • Social networks and electronic commerce from a privacy perspective
  • Anonymity
  • The Snowden revelations
  • Privacy Enhancing Technologies
    • anonymous communication
    • anonymous credential
    • electronic money
    • further examples: secure computation, location privacy
  • Identity and Authentication
  • Attribute-based Identity Management

Teaching methods

  • 16 hours lecture
  • 68 hours individual study period

Extra information teaching methods

  • 16 hours lectures with discussions
  • 68 hours self-study, including
    • reading
    • homework assignments


  • Security
  • Furthermore, it is highly recommended that the student has successfully finished the courses Cryptography and Computer networking.


All material will be provided at lectures or available online.

Extra information

The class will be given in English.

Course ID
3 ec
second quarter


Included in