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Sophomore Research Library: Identity and Security in a Technological World: Syllabus



Sophomore Research Seminar “Technology, Identity, Security”

Fall 2012


Tuesdays Butterfield 106+

Thursdays Wold 010+

Library sessions (Sept 20 and 27) meet in the Library lab


Professors: Shane Cotter and Anastasia Pease

Research Librarians: Elizabeth Hoppe and Courtney Seymour


Office Hours & Contact Information

Prof. Cotter: TTH 11-12:30
Steinmetz 217

Prof. Pease: MWF 10-11
Humanities 113A

You are also welcome to stop by our offices at any time or send an email to arrange a meeting time.


Required readings (please see the syllabus below):

Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance by Kelly A. Gates

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Full text online FREE at:

Excerpts from Biometrics: Personal Identification in Networked Society by Anil Jain, et al. Available through the library at:

 Excerpts from America Identified by Lisa Nelson (on Library Reserve)

 Excerpts from The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth, et al. (on Library Reserve)

 Other texts (short stories and online articles) are listed on the syllabus below.


Grading and evaluation:

Quizzes – 30 points (6 quizzes at 5 points each)
Annotated bibliography – 5 points
Detailed outline of research paper – 5 points
Research Paper – 30 points
PowerPoint & Presentation – 10 points
Poster & Presentation – 10 points
Attendance and participation, including Library sessions – 10 points

 NB: Poster Presentations will take place on Tuesday, Nov 6, at COMMON LUNCH

Grades are assigned based on your cumulative score in accordance with the following table:


Cumulative Score


≥ 92.50


















< 60.00




Rules of constructive participation:

  1. You come to class and unpack at least 3 minutes before class starts.
  2. Your cell-phone and other electronics are off.
  3. Having read the assigned material, you are well prepared for discussion.
  4. When expressing opinions, you are polite and self-composed.
  5. If you have to miss class, you are still responsible for all the material covered, including notes and homework. If you miss on a day of a quiz, you will not be allowed to make it up without a legitimate, documented excuse (family or medical emergency, illness, or religious obligation).
  6. ATTN. Athletes: E-mail your coach’s name and contact numbers as soon as you can and let us know about missing classes for away events.
  7. Dishonesty, whining, and general flakiness will not be tolerated.  You are here to learn to deal with problems and challenges pro-actively and constructively.


For students with special needs:

If you have a physical or mental disability and require any kind of special accommodations, talk to us the first week of class.  Your disability must be documented by the Dean of Students’ Office.  Contact Shelly Shinebarger at ext. 6116


Honor Code statement:

Union College recognizes the need to create an environment of mutual trust as part of its educational mission. Responsible participation in an academic community requires respect for and acknowledgement of the thoughts and work of others, whether expressed in the present or in some distant time and place.

Matriculation at the College is taken to signify implicit agreement with the Academic Honor Code, available at  It is each student's responsibility to ensure that submitted work is his or her own and does not involve any form of academic misconduct. Students are expected to ask their course instructors for clarification regarding, but not limited to, collaboration, citations, and plagiarism.  Ignorance is not an excuse for breaching academic integrity.

 Students are also required to affix the full Honor Code Affirmation, or the following shortened version, on each item of coursework submitted for grading:  “I affirm that I have carried out my academic endeavors with full academic honesty.” [Signed, Jane Doe]


Tentative Syllabus


There may be some small changes to the syllabus as we go through the term. You will be made aware of these changes in class, and we will maintain an online copy of the syllabus where any changes will be noted.


Week 1 September 6

TH:  In class: Introduction to the class.


Week 2 September 11, 13

For TUE Read pgs. 1-29 and 34-38 from Chapter 1 of Biometrics: Personal Identification in Networked Society

Read D. Himberger et al.,“Civil Liberties and Security: 10 Years after 9/11”

In-class:QUIZ 1 fundamentals of biometric systems


For TH Read Chapter 4, “Hand Geometry Based Verification”, pgs. 87-102, of Biometrics: Personal Identification in Networked Society    

Read pgs. 65-70 on “Face Recognition” from Chapter 3 Biometrics: Personal Identification in Networked Society;

In-class: hand geometry and face recognition


Week 3 September 18, 20

 For TUE Read Introduction, Chapters 1, 2, 3 in Our Biometric Future

In class: QUIZ 2 social implications of face recognition technology

 For TH Read Chapters 3 and 4 from Craft of Research

In class: library hour I MEET IN THE LIBRARY LAB  (2nd floor)


Week 4 September 25, 27

For TUE Read Chapter 4 in Our Biometric Future;

            Read “Minority Report” by P.K. Dick (on Library Reserve)

            Read “DARPA Wants to Predict Terrorism”     

            Read “Pre-Crime Screening”   


In class: QUIZ 3  Security, Security Theater


For TH Research paper topics due in class

In class: library hour II MEET IN THE LIBRARY LAB  (2nd floor)


Week 5 October 2, 4


For TUE: Read Chapter 5 and Conclusion in Our Biometric Future
Last day to change paper topic

In class:  QUIZ 4 facial expression recognition


For TH: Research paper detailed outline and annotated bibliography due in class.
Attendance is mandatory!!

In-class: film


Week 6 October 9, 11


For TUE:  Read Reynolds, Douglas A. , "An overview of automatic speaker recognition technology," IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP), 2002, vol.4, no., available at  
Also available here:

Read Speaker Recognition Technology Overview:

Attendance is mandatory!!
In-class: IBM guest lecture


For TH: QUIZ 5  Read pages 1-66 in Little Brother
and “Leave Your Cell-Phone at Home”,

 In class: Grammar and structure review session; 


Week 7 October 16, 18

For TUE:
Read excerpt from Handbook of Fingerprint Recognition (on library reserve)

In-class: QUIZ 6 fingerprint recognition


For TH: Read pages 67 – 132 in Little Brother

Attendance is mandatory!!
In class: Quinn Norton Guest Lecture


 Week 8 October 23, 25

 For TUE: First complete version of research paper due in class

         Read pages 132 -- 158 from America Identified (on library reserve)

            Read Biometrics Testing and Statistics:

In-class: surveys, simple statistics, statistics in biometric systems


For TH: Read Maritza Johnson, Serge Egelman, and Steven M. Bellovin. “Facebook and privacy: It's complicated.”
In Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS), July 2012.
Available at:

Read Electronic Privacy Information Center: Facebook

Read Facebook Privacy Page:

In-class: Online Identity and Privacy; PowerPoint bootcamp; Poster Overview; and presentation schedule lottery


Week 9 October 30, November 1

TUE Individual appointments with professors I

Work on paper, PowerPoint, and Poster for next week


TH Individual appointments with professors II

Work on paper, PowerPoint, and Poster for next week


Week 10 November 6, 8



In-class: PowerPoint Presentations I



In-class: PowerPoint Presentations II


Last day of classes: TUE, November 13

Final version of research paper – in hard copy – due in class