As a final exam, you will submit an essay on a topic of your choice related to one of the chapters in the book Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis. This book is available online as a pdf for free at http://www.bitsbook.com/excerpts/ and the related website with additional material is at http://www.bitsbook.com/. In particular, you may find their blog interesting and relevant to your work.
To help you navigate the book, the following table summarizes which lecture topics loosely correspond to which chapters. You are of course free to select any chapter (or related sections from multiple chapters), regardless what was covered in class.
|CS 190 Topic||Blown to Bits|
|The Internet|| Appendix:
The Internet as System and Spirit
|Social Networking|| Chapter 2: Naked in the Sunlight:
Privacy Lost, Privacy Abandoned
|Security|| Chapter 5: Secret Bits:
How Codes Became Unbreakable
|Ethics|| Chapter 7: You Can’t Say That on the Internet:
Guarding the Frontiers of Digital Expression
|Intellectual Property|| Chapter 6: Balance Toppled:
Who Owns the Bits?
|History & Computation|| Chapter 1: Digital Explosion:
Why Is It Happening, and What Is at Stake?
|Digital Documents|| Chapter 3: Ghosts in the Machine:
Secrets and Surprises of Electronic Documents
|Search Engines|| Chapter 4: Needles in the Haystack:
Google and Other Brokers in the Bits Bazaar
|Censorship/Regulation|| Chapter 8: Bits in the Air:
Old Metaphors, New Technologies, and Free Speech
Specific instructions and guidelines:
Please submit your essay to the TA via email (email@example.com), preferably as a PDF attachment (see below). You will receive a reply confirming the receipt of your document. The deadline is Friday March 12th at 5:00 PM. Late work will not be accepted; enjoy your Spring Break!
Note that one should be cautious about sending .doc (or .docx) files: besides not being fully portable, .doc files often contain hidden information that one may not want the recipient to know (see here, here, and Blown to Bits chapter 3).
There are many ways to create (or, print) a PDF file:
Feel free to contact the TA if you have any questions regarding this process.