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Ethics and Policy Issues in Computing Spring 2008 Introduction - January 15, 17 A 25 year old woman had this picture and title on her MySpace page She was subsequently denied her nursing degree Anyone know the Drunken Pirate? What is this Course About? a.k.a. What we hope you’ll go away with

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Ethics and policy issues in computing spring 2008 l.jpg

Ethics and Policy Issues in ComputingSpring 2008

Introduction - January 15, 17

Anyone know the drunken pirate l.jpg

A 25 year old woman had this picture and title on her MySpace page

She was subsequently denied her nursing degree

Anyone know the Drunken Pirate?

What is this course about l.jpg
What is this Course About? MySpace page

  • a.k.a. What we hope you’ll go away with

    • Computers aren’t perfect

    • They can create new problems

    • They highlight and exacerbate old problems

    • They could lead to new solutions to societal issues

    • There are Legal, Policy, and Moral issues

    • Often are linked to Non-computing issues and precedents

    • Global in scope

      • Limits what we can do legally

    • Linkages between topics and underlying issues,

      • E.g., economics and net neutrality; open vs. closed systems and the iPod

    • Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary

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Challenges can be very serious MySpace page

  • 13 year old girl committed suicide after the supposed 16 year old boy she met on MySpace turned out wasn’t

  • It was actually the mother of another girl, whose child had been slighted

  • Was this fraud?

  • Was she culpable?

  • Reaction: Laws proposed mandating honesty in online information

  • Subtle Q: Should the punishment have been different if the girl hadn’t died?

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What you can do MySpace page

  • Think ahead (technology is evolving)

  • Think differently (no, this is not an ad for Apple);

    • SOLUTIONS - design

    • At least don’t come up with really stupid solutions

      • Won’t work

      • Won’t scale

      • Hard to implement

      • Unfair

      • Create new (and often worse) problems

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Research MySpace page

  • No Exams

  • “Re-search”

    • Plagiarism vs. bad citations

    • Good citations help you

    • Good sources are important

  • Final Paper - Something that interests you

  • How to do research

  • Push you to be explicit, transparent, consistent, and articulate.

  • Tools, methodologies, frameworks

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Neat stuff! MySpace page

  • Computing technology can be really cool!

    (DEMO – XO/OLPC)

    (Might also call this Information and Communications Technology, or ICT)

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Logistics MySpace page

  • Waitlist

  • Discussions

  • Participation

  • Quizzes

  • HW

  • Debates

    • Not just adversarial

  • Project

  • Links to materials; IP addresses

  • Readings on Quinn (apologies if don’t know it COLD)

  • 4th iteration; broad topics, I am an “expert” in only some of these

  • Blackboard (?)

    • Vote

  • Webpage

  • Mailings

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Course topics MySpace page

  • Syllabus (slight changes possible)

    • Website will be the best location

    • Find it through my own COS homepage

    • (May use blackboard (??))

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Syllabus MySpace page

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Plagiarism MySpace page

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Cheating will not be tolerated MySpace page

  • You must do your own homework

  • It is acceptable to discuss the reading assignments and general approaches to solving homework problems with your classmates

  • It is not acceptable to discuss detailed homework answers or to copy homework answers from other students

  • Hopefully you already knew this….

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Research and Communication Skills MySpace page

CMU Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism

CMU Policy*:

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, failure to indicate the source with quotation marks or footnotes where appropriate if any of the following are reproduced in the work submitted by a student:

  • A phrase, written or musical.

  • A graphic element.

  • A proof.

  • Specific language.

  • An idea derived from the work, published or unpublished, of another person.


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Research and Communication Skills MySpace page

This is serious

  • Consequences of plagiarism in this class range from zero credit for entire assignment to failing the course to recommendation of university disciplinary action

  • Publishers and professional societies have plagiarism policies too

  • The Internet makes it easy to plagiarize

    • Students are frequently cutting and pasting off the Internet without proper quotation and/or citations

    • Students are buying papers off the Internet

  • The Internet also makes it easy to catch plagiarizing

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Research and Communication Skills MySpace page

Avoiding plagiarism

  • If you use someone’s specific words, put them in quotes and cite the source

  • If you use someone’s ideas expressed in your own words, cite the source

  • If you paraphrase, summarize in your own words, but still cite source

    • Don’t use same sentence structure with a few word substitutions

    • If you use some of the source’s words, put them in quotes

  • When in doubt, put it in quotes and cite the source!

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Research and Communication Skills MySpace page

Misuse of sources

  • Quinn (Appendix A) distinguishes between deliberate and non-deliberate attempts “to conceal the source of the words or ideas”

    • Deliberate = plagiarism

    • Non-deliberate = misuse of sources

  • If you are accused of plagiarism, it may be difficult to convince people that what you did wasn’t deliberate

    • In this class we are warning you about plagiarism and misuse of sources and will therefore assume that if we see something that looks like plagiarism, it is deliberate

  • So… be careful not to misuse sources

    • It is not sufficient to simply cite a source when you copy material verbatim - you must put the words in quotes!

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Research and Communication Skills MySpace page

Good resource on avoiding plagiarism


  • Includes nice examples of good and bad paraphrasing

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Take the Test MySpace page


  • This is your first Quiz

    • Few minutes long

    • Only one you can redo (if required)

  • Finish before Jan 22

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Introductions MySpace page

  • My Own background

    • ICTD – ICT and Development

    • Digital Divide

    • Infrastructure

    • EPP/EE (geek but can’t code)

    • Biases

      • You’ll see them here and there but these should be separate from scholarly (neutral) analysis

        • Solution is often transparency (assumptions, funding sources, etc.)

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Discussion / Q&A MySpace page

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What is ICT? MySpace page

  • “Information and Communications Technology”

    • Largely a non-US term

    • IT and Telecom = US parlance

  • Can be as broad or as narrow as one defines

    • What are the departments within SCS?

  • How important is ICT?

    • GDP – non-trivial but modest share

      • Measurements are difficult

    • Major component of economic growth (productivity)

      • Measurements are even more difficult

    • Is information a source of competitive advantage?

      • “Knowledge Economy”

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Components of ICT: 4Cs MySpace page

  • Computers

    • All devices part of a computing system

    • More than PCs

  • Connectivity

    • More than just the Internet

  • Content

    • Inputs and/or outputs;

    • Software and embedded software

  • (human) Capacity

    • Ability to use ICTs

    • Includes literacy, e-Literacy, etc.

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Which is a Computer? MySpace page

Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine

Aprilaire Thermostat

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What is a Computer? MySpace page

  • Many definitions…

  • E.g.,

    Any device that applies a set of rules to systematically and consistently perform calculations or operations (“algorithms”) on any chosen set of data or information to produce an output or lead to a defined state

  • Many devices are computers, e.g., calculators, cell phones, etc.

    • Is a remote car opener a computer?

  • Computers per se are not very intelligent

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Computers are EVERYWHERE MySpace page

  • Don’t need to be digital…

  • Don’t need external software…

  • Can be part of a larger device that is ostensibly not about the computing

    • Cars – more value to the computing components than the steel

  • Are humans computers?

    • We have aspects of computers in us

      • Adding up number of students in this class

      • Cellular automata and genetic material?

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Why do we Care About the Definition? MySpace page

  • We might end up with a controversy like the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act

    • Attempted to standardize Computer Information transactions like the Uniform Consumer Code for goods (Article 2)

      • UCC has high consumer protections

      • So, if a washing machine breaks down could a UCITA-like law apply?

        • Isn’t a washing machine with a microprocessor like a computer?

    • Other controversies had to do with shrink-wrap licensing, public comment limitations, etc.

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Brainstorm MySpace page

What are you interested in?

What would you like to learn more about?

What topics might be relevant to your thesis?

What topics might be relevant to your future career?

Select a small number of candidate topics


How much information seems to be available?

Is this topic over done?

What open questions or points of conflict are there?

Do you still find this topic interesting?

Do you have the skills necessary to pursue this topic?


Select a topic

Define a focused research question

Read some more

Conduct a “literature review”

Adjust your topic as needed

Research and Communication Skills

Selecting a research topic

Feel free to discuss with professors or course assistant

Paper topic due March 4

Outline and bibliography due April 1

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Current Issue: MySpace pageAnalysis of Security Vulnerabilities in the Movie Production and Distribution Process

Lorrie Cranor

Joint work with Simon Byers, Dave Korman, Patrick McDaniel, Eric Cronin

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Unauthorized copying of movies MySpace page

  • Estimated annual global revenue losses due to unauthorized copying of movies (2005)

    • For US majors

      • Via physical media: $3.8 billion

      • Via Internet: $2.3 billion

    • Global supply chain losses (incl. theaters, rental, etc.) estimated at $18.2 billion!

  • Arguably, these estimates are high

    • Why?

  • Even so, a lot of money at stake and problem is growing

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Focus of MPAA’s public discussion MySpace page

  • Shutting down mass production and distribution of pirated movies

    • Relatively easy, non-controversial

  • Schemes to prevent consumer copying

    • Broadcast flag

    • Digital rights management

    • Trusted computing

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Concerns about DRM proposals MySpace page

  • May restrict reasonable uses, including uses falling under “fair use”

  • May chill innovation

  • Some industry proposals would restrict functionality of general purpose computers

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Broadcast flag MySpace page

  • November 2003 FCC ruling would have made it illegal as of July 2005 to manufacture or sell devices that receive over-the-air digital TV broadcasts unless they contain certain copy protection technologies

  • Many consumer and industry groups raised concerns

  • Court of Appeals ruled that FCC did not have the right to regulate this

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New security measures MySpace page

  • In spring and summer of 2003, movie industry began acknowledging publicly need for stronger security measures

    • Industry insiders publicly critical of security practices

    • Security measures at pre-release screenings

      • Security guards with night vision goggles

      • Metal detectors

      • No cell phones

    • No pre-release screenings for some movies

    • Compressed release time frames for some movies

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That didn’t prevent MySpace pageThe Hulk from showing up on the Internet two weeks before its theater release date

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Maybe helped find source of leak MySpace page

  • Copy on Internet had obliterated water mark

    • Not clear whether this was actually used to find source of leak

  • Arrest was made within 3 weeks of leak

    • Kerry Gonzalez pleaded guilty to a single count of felony copyright infringement

    • Fined $5K + $2K damages and 6 months house arrest

    • Obtained pre-release video tape of “work print” from friend, who got it from employee of print advertising firm

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Where do copies come from? MySpace page

  • Press reported some anecdotes, but no publicly available data

  • This data could be useful for improving security and for more informed policy debates

  • Research approach:

    • Understand movie production and distribution process

      • Interviews with insiders and experts

    • Gather data about unauthorized copies of movies on the Internet

      • Empirical study

    • Analyze security vulnerabilities in movie production and distribution process

Many opportunities for leaks l.jpg
Many opportunities for “leaks” MySpace page

  • Leak = first unauthorized copy or use

  • Insider (thousands of potential attackers):

    • Editing room

    • Marketing

    • Projectionist

    • DVD factory

    • Retail employee

    • Oscar screeners

  • Outsider (millions of potential attackers):

    • Camera in cinema

    • Consumer copying videos, DVDs, broadcast

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Many opportunities for “leaks” MySpace page

  • Leak = first unauthorized copy

  • Insider (thousands of potential attackers):

    • Editing room

    • Marketing

    • Projectionist

    • DVD factory

    • Retail employee

    • Oscar screeners

  • Outsider (millions of potential attackers):

    • Camera in cinema

    • Consumer copying videos, DVDs, broadcast

Usually not good quality

Usually not fresh

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Empirical study MySpace page

  • Identify every movie in box office top 50 from January 2002 to June 2003

  • Find fingerprints (checksums) and posting dates from Content Verification Site

  • Download 5% of each movie clip

  • Watch them, identify quality and source

    • TTA, VHS, DVD

    • Insider vs. outsider

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Identify box office top 50 MySpace page

We used perl scripts to crawl Rottentomatoes and gather top 50 data for 18 month period

409 movies

312 first released in US

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Find fingerprints and post dates MySpace page

We used perl scripts to search ShareReactor for films

Some fine tuning was necessary to get data on the correct films

Found 183/312 movies, some with multiple samples

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Fetch small bit of each movie MySpace page

  • MLDonkey

    • Open source peer-to-peer client

    • Content divided into blocks, client downloads multiple blocks simultaneously from different sources, can stop and resume downloads

  • Used perl script to download 8% of one file for each movie (some movies stored in multiple files) - usually resulted in a complete block from beginning and end of movie

  • 285 viewable samples of 183 movies

    • 18 gigabytes of data

    • 200 MHz computer and cable modem

    • Took one week to download

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Classification MySpace page

  • Insider if:

    • Appeared prior to cinema release

    • Editing room artifacts

    • Industry related text or overt watermarks

    • Good through-air video capture but apparently direct captured audio and appeared prior to DVD/VHS release date

    • DVD quality and appeared prior to DVD release date

  • Otherwise outsider or unknown

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Outsider MySpace page

  • Through the air video

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Findings MySpace page

  • 183 of 312 movies found on Internet (59%)

  • 285 different rips

  • 77% were insiders

  • 78% DVD quality

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2.2% movies appear before theater MySpace page

5% movies appear after DVD

When do movies appear online?

Theater release

DVD release

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Our paper MySpace page

  • Published in DRM03 workshop

  • Presented at TPRC

  • Covered in NYTimes, CNN, Wired, Hollywood Reporter, and elsewhere

  • Quoted in Congressional and FCC hearings

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Implications MySpace page

  • High rate of insider leaks and timing suggests that consumer copying is a relatively minor problem (at time of study)

  • Opponents of broadcast flag and other MPAA proposals have cited our study to argue that the movie industry should clean up its own act before imposing restrictions on consumers

  • MPAA called our study “flawed”

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But two weeks later MySpace page

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Coming back to p2p… MySpace page

  • Assuming the insider problem can be solved, unauthorized copying of consumer DVDs likely to increase

  • Unauthorized copies of movies, music, software, etc. are continuing to propagate over p2p networks

  • Anonymous p2p networks may make it very difficult to identify source

  • What should be done?

    • Make p2p illegal

    • Make online anonymity illegal

    • Mandate DRM