About Us

This website is the product of the students, faculty, and staff in UGS 2260, Privacy & Surveillance, at the University of Utah. This course is part of a new initiative at the University known as the Block U Program.  The goal of the program is to improve the educational experience of incoming freshman. The program provides a block of thematically organized courses that, when taken together, provide students with a cohort experience, access to faculty and staff to help them make a successful transition to college life, and the ability to complete their general education requirements in two years.

Privacy & Surveillance is one of the new themed blocks of courses for the 2014-2015 academic year. This course is paired with two others, Geography 1100-001, Exploring Google Earth, and Art 2060-003, Digital Photography. Together, the courses work to give students a greater appreciation of the privacy challenges that we face in the Digital Age. In particular, UGS 2260 works to help students:

  • Understand the legal, social and practical interface between surveillance and privacy.
  • Gain a substantive understanding of the various forms of surveillance found in our contemporary society and critically assess the concomitant effects of surveillance on individuals and institutions.
  • Develop the ability to analyze, articulate and critically discuss the complex moral, legal and policy issues arising from both government and private surveillance.
  • Obtain a technological literacy that allows one to identify, critically assess, and respond to various surveillance systems and technologies.
  • Develop the communication and organizational skills necessary to successfully complete and present a group project applying the principles and concepts learned in class.

To aid in meeting these objectives, students will work throughout the year to help build the content of this website. This will include posting weekly news updates about privacy and surveillance, writing longer analytical pieces, commenting on one another’s writing, and publishing the final results of their team projects. The goal is for students to be not just consumers of knowledge, but to use what they are learning in their Block U experience to create a public resource that can be of value to others.