Transparency and Accountability Architectures for the World Wide Web

6.898 Fall 2007 Course

Wednesday 3.00pm - 4.00pm


This course will explore a new policy and technology approach to dealing with privacy violations and other forms of information abuse on the Web. The idea is to design systems that are oriented toward information accountability and appropriate use, rather than information security and access control. Some of the ideas are described in the paper, "Information Accountability", Dspace handle.

Students will get a background in the relevant Semantic Web and automated reasoning technology. They will then complete term projects that implement policies for information systems in areas like personal privacy, law-enforcement, enterprise data compliance, and copyright control.

The course is particularly aimed at MEng students looking for thesis topics, and there will be good possibilities of RAs in the spring for students wishing to continue research in this area.

Students enrolling in the course must also simultaneously enroll in 6.805, which covers the legal and policy background for this technical work.

Interested students should contact Hal Abelson


Office hours

By appointment only. Please email the instructor and suggest some times that work for you.


Date Topic Reading Assignment
5 Sep, 2007 Goal of the course, demo, admin, software on laptops, possible projects, simple homework in class software: (i) Install MIT/GNU Scheme, (ii) Download AIR, (iii) run edwin and load test.scm from the air directory, (iv) modify paths in test.scm, (v) run test.scm, (vi) Scenario 0 Weitzner, Abelson, Berners-Lee, Feigenbaum, Hendler, Sussman, Information Accountability, MIT CSAIL Technical Report (13 June 2007)
12 Sep, 2007 Semantic Web intro (slides), Homework 1 assigned Getting into RDF & Semantic Web using N3
19 Sep, 2007 Rule concepts (of production rule systems), System architecture of the reasoner - AMORDF, TMS, AIR (AMORD In RDF) language, Homework 2 assigned Notes
26 Sep, 2007 Scenario 0, Discussion of TMS (Truth Maintenance Systems) and AIR (AMORD In RDF) language using scenario 0, Installing and running AIR reasoner, Homework 3 assigned Please review last weeks notes
3 Oct, 2007 Use AIR reasoner AIR Specs
10 Oct, 2007 Goal direction in AIR, Scenario 9 walkthru, project discussion, Homework 4 assigned Scenario 9
17 Oct, 2007 Discussion of projects
24 Oct, 2007 Project proposals due
31 Oct - 5 Dec 2007 Working through projects
5 Dec, 2007 Demo project
12 Dec, 2007 Final project report + presentations

Reading List

maintained by Lalana Kagal
$Version$ $Date: 2007-12-05 15:11:30 -0500 (Wed, 05 Dec 2007) $