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[liberationtech] masters degree program for privacy engineers at CMU

Yosem Companys companys at
Mon Nov 5 13:10:49 PST 2012

From: "Lorrie Faith Cranor" <lorrie at>

Carnegie Mellon Integrates Policy and Technology In New Master’s Degree for
Privacy Engineers

First-of-its-kind Program Covers “Privacy by Design” Principles

PITTSBURGH—People tasked with safeguarding privacy in this age of Big Data
and easy Internet access need an unusual combination of technological
know-how and policy savvy — expertise that will be honed in a new master’s
degree program for privacy engineers offered by Carnegie Mellon
University’s School of Computer Science.

The Master of Science in Information Technology-Privacy (MSIT-Privacy) is a
12-month program that begins in the 2013 fall semester.

“Privacy breaches, whether through poor design or as the result of attacks,
have become a staple of the daily news,” said Norman Sadeh, professor of
computer science, who will co-direct the MSIT-Privacy program withLorrie
Faith Cranor, associate professor of computer science and engineering and
public policy.

“Leaders in social media, tech and Internet companies, financial service
firms and government agencies all tell us that they see an increasing need
for privacy engineers who can help them design and maintain systems that
protect people’s identities and personal information,” Sadeh added.

Until now, however, this critical expertise has been acquired only through
on-the-job experience, said Cranor, director of the CyLab Usable Privacy
and Security Lab. “Carnegie Mellon has a number of faculty with deep
expertise in privacy and offers a variety of privacy-related courses,” she
added. “This new program goes a step further by integrating privacy
engineering with product design, software development, cyber security and
human-computer interaction, as well as legal and business considerations.”

The program includes two semesters of courses taught by leading academic
privacy and security experts. In the Carnegie Mellon tradition of learning
by doing, the program also includes a summer-long capstone project in which
MSIT-Privacy students will serve as privacy consultants on projects for
commercial clients.

The program will emphasize the concept of “privacy by design,” in which
safeguards are incorporated into the design of systems and products from
the very beginning of the development process. Students will be trained to
identify points where privacy may be at risk, propose and evaluate
solutions to mitigate risks, understand the capabilities and limitations of
privacy-enhancing technologies, assess the usability of privacy-related
features and understand current privacy regulatory and self-regulatory
frameworks, among other skills.

“To embed privacy by design into all things involving information
technology, we will need to have privacy engineers, of which there are
currently very few,” said Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy
Commissioner in Ontario, Canada. “Professors Cranor and Sadeh have provided
an excellent remedy to this problem by developing their new MSIT-Privacy
program at Carnegie Mellon.”

Students who complete the master’s degree program will be prepared for the
International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Certified
Information Privacy Professional certification exam.

“As the field of privacy grows around the globe, we are seeing a clear need
for highly trained engineers who can translate the complexity of privacy
into technology,” said J. Trevor Hughes, president and CEO of the IAPP.
“There are too few of these professionals today, and we look forward to
welcoming Carnegie Mellon graduates into this burgeoning profession.”

The MSIT-Privacy program is primarily intended for students who already
have a technical degree, such as computer science, computer engineering or
software engineering, or have comparable work experience. Students should
apply for the program by Feb. 1, 2013. For more information, see the
program website at
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