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matthewdgreen edited this page Mar 1, 2021 · 5 revisions

EN.601.741: Advanced Topics in Secure and Censorship-Resistant Communications

Johns Hopkins University - Spring 2021 - 12-1:15pm EST M/W

Course overview

The ability to communicate is a basic human right. Modern networking technology has created enormous new opportunities for people to communicate and organize politically, while also creating new technological challenges and threats. These include:

  • Widespread Internet blocking and filtering, in nations ranging from China to Belarus to the U.K.
  • Deployment of end-to-end encrypted communications infrastructure, and a corresponding backlash from law enforcement
  • The spread of disinformation on social media
  • Distribution of abusive content, such as CSAM material

The purpose of this advanced research seminar is to explore the ways that cryptography can contribute to solving these problems. Our reading list will be drawn from both the technical literature and the policy/law/sociology literature. Our goal is to understand both the technical and policy challenges that surround these areas, and to develop research solutions that aim to address both.


A full list of weekly papers and topics can be found here.

Project due dates

  • 2/15: Figure out what you’re interested in and propose it
  • 3/15: Project midterm report
  • 4/8 Project update
  • 4/29 Project due


This is a research-focused class and the goal is to make a meaningful contribution to the area you choose. The majority of the grade is based on your project output in this class. The remainder will be based on presentations and discussion of in-class topics.

  • Presentations and discussion: 40%
  • Project: 60%