3 assignments
2 out-of-class writing assignments, 25% per assignment
1 end of semester test/mix of short answer and essay questions, 35%

Class participation counts for 15% of your grade (this includes blog posts, being “on-call,” and general participation).

About writing assignments

Course assignments are designed to improve your analysis and writing skills.

All assignments should be in PDF format and emailed to Deirdre (dkm@ischool), Galen (galen@ischool), Isha (isha@ischool) and Ryan (ryanfbaker@ischool).

All assignments are due at noon on the date listed below. Late assignments will be penalized: each day an assignment is late will result in a deduction of half a grade. Recognizing that emergencies arise, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Assignment #1 (25%)

Due: Saturday, FEBRUARY 22 at noon

It’s beach season in California (if you can imagine it). After many months, Google has finally released Glass to the general public. Sales of the device have been remarkably brisk, and as a result beach goers have begun to complain to their public officials about the increasing presence of the device on beaches, decrying it as an intrusion on their privacy. In several instances, police have been called to break up brawls between angry parents and Glass wearers who were accused of “ogling” teenagers. One Glass wearer even received serious head trauma after an altercation with a father.

Responding to the situation, last week the California legislature passed a bill banning the use of all head-mounted cameras such as Google Glass within 500 feet of California’s public beaches. The ban expires in one year. Governor Brown has signed the bill.

In its committee report, the California Public Safety Committee summed up its intentions this way: “Our constituents feel that head-mounted cameras like Google Glass simply go too far. Our public beaches are a treasure of this great State of California. People go to relax, socialize and have fun with their families in a safe environment. They don’t go to be filmed—especially not in their beach attire. If the camera is on your head, no one knows when you’re really filming. This upsets people, and we fear they’ll avoid public beaches if they have to worry about their families’ privacy and safety.” Included in the report is an analysis showing that the light from the display on Google Glass cannot be seen reliably in bright sunlight by third-parties only a few feet away.

  1. From an ethical standpoint, what actions, if any, should Google take now that the bill has passed?
  2. A group of wealthy Google Glass enthusiasts has challenged the bill in court, arguing that the ban infringes on their free speech rights. You’re the judge. First, analyze whether the ban on the use of Glass infringes on speech, as alleged by the Glass enthusiasts. Then, provide a draft of your opinion determining whether the bill is constitutional.

Use course readings through February 11th to justify your answers in no more than five double-spaced pages (1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font). Email a PDF to dkm@, galen@, isha@ and ryanfbaker@ by Saturday, February 22nd at noon. Place your name nowhere but the bottom of the last page of your paper.

Sample Assignments

Assignment 1 (Fall 2011)

Assignment #2 (25%)

Due: SaTURDAY, APRIL 12 at noon

You are the founder and CEO of JustinSnap, a new app that is exploding in popularity among young teens. The app allows users to search the web for photos of anything, including celebrities, politicians and other public figures, and add fun captions, artwork and effects with just a few taps. They can also use photos from their own photo libraries or take new ones with their phone cameras.

In addition to sharing their posts to JustinSnap, users can also share their posts on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit with a simple tap or two, and each post includes a map showing the location coordinates of the user when the post was created. Public location sharing is enabled by default each time users post, but they may opt out by unchecking a small box at the bottom of the screen. In your Terms of Service, you state that these locations are stored by JustinSnap for all users even when not publicly shown, and may be used for advertising or other purposes. At registration, users are asked to provide their full names, email addresses and birthdates. To protect children under 13, you do not show their locations publicly on any post, but you do continue to collect the information.

The main screen of the JustinSnap app shows a list of the week’s most popular posts, which is automatically generated by tabulating views, likes and shares for each post, and users can tap to view the most recent posts as well. Your app also offers a feature which allows users to purchase t-shirts and stickers of the week’s most popular posts with a few taps, and divides proceeds among the user who authored the post, the t-shirt/sticker printer, the App Store and JustinSnap.

  1. Celebrity gossip site TMZ has sued you for secondary copyright infringement, claiming that dozens of photos of Justin Bieber and other celebrities have been used without permission by users on your app. They’ve sent you numerous DMCA takedown notices and are seeking an injunction against your app.
  2. You’ve learned that the Federal Trade Commission is investigating a privacy complaint about your app and you want to proactively identify the concerns they are likely to have and determine whether to alter the app to allay the concerns, or to fight them.

In separate sections, please analyze each claim or potential claim and propose a course of action.

Use course readings from February 13th through April 3rd to justify your answers in no more than seven double-spaced pages (1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font throughout). Place your name nowhere but the bottom of the last page of your paper. Email a PDF to dkm@, galen@, isha@ and ryanfbaker@ by Saturday, April 12th at noon.

Exam (35%)

Time: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
Location: SOUTH HALL ROOM 210

More details to come.