About CIS 196 A

See Schedule of Courses for specific titles.


Open to Degree and CDE students; Cross listed with CDAE 195E; Total combined enrollment: 20

Section Description

Privacy and the protection of sensitive data (Data Security) have become increasingly prominent issues in recent years. Businesses large and small are hacked every day; sensitive consumer data is traded by identity thieves on the dark web and purchased by data aggregators in the open market; government surveillance efforts (both foreign and domestic) are vastly more effective; and consumer data is constantly collected through social media, cell phones, and even household appliances. In response to these challenges, a new field of law is developing and new careers are being born with titles like Privacy Consultant and Chief Privacy Officer. Lawyers now specialize in privacy law, and serious legal consequences adhere to the collection, transfer, use, and loss of sensitive information. As an Assistant Attorney General for the Vermont AG’s Public Protection Division, Privacy and Data Security are two of my law enforcement responsibilities. This class will: (1) discuss the historical and societal bases behind the value of privacy and address how that value has evolved over time, specifically with recent advancements in technology; (2) cover the state and federal laws that address Privacy regarding consumers, patients, students, employees, criminal investigations, and the government collection of data; (3) compare the sectoral privacy approach of the United States with the privacy regimes of other countries (such as the comprehensive approach of the European Union); (4) showcase some of the challenges in the privacy and study some major security breaches, FTC investigations, and privacy lawsuits and controversies from a legal perspective; (5) explain the role of the Chief Privacy Officer in an organization and describe some of the tools used to fulfill that role; and (6) provide students with tools to protect their own privacy and security online, and to make informed decisions as to how to navigate the world, online and off, with an eye toward privacy.

Section Expectation

By the end of the class, students will be able to explain the role privacy plays in society, both now and historically; identify and interpret the U.S. laws that protect their privacy; describe how the U.S. privacy regime differs from other, international regimes, and how U.S. companies comply with global laws; employ strategies to protect their own privacy and recognize online and offline privacy threats; describe and identify data security threats and protect their own information online; and engage in the ongoing privacy debate and prepare for future privacy concerns. Students from a broad variety of backgrounds will benefit from this class, including CDAE students and those studying computer science, political science, business, or anyone who is interested in this fascinating field.


Students will review assigned materials prior to each class. Class time will be spent talking about the issues posed in the reading materials or presenting new material. Because class participation is a major part of the grade, class attendance is highly encouraged. Students will research specific privacy policy topic and write a paper, which will be a significant part of the grade, and discussion of these topics will occupy the last third of the course. There may also be assignments throughout the course.

Course Dates



Lafayette Hall L411 (View Campus Map)


to on Monday and Wednesday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

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Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
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