Course Syllabus

Future of Cybersecurity Reading Group (FCRG)

Info 290 Section 005 (Course no. 41399) 2 credits
Now with more credits!!1!
Tuesdays, 1:10–2:30pm
Spring 2018
South Hall Room 210

Law students: please note that Berkeley Law starts classes on Monday, January 8, but campus starts Tuesday, January 16th. Our first class will be on Tuesday, January 16th. We will make up the missed class. Please note that this course starts on "Berkeley time"--at 1:10pm.

Instructor: Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Adjunct Professor of Information and Law

In this two-credit reading group, sponsored by the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity, you will discuss cybersecurity policy problems among a group of graduate, professional, and undergraduate students. For spring 2018, we will continue the tradition of analyzing a historically-focused work (Lapsley) and a work focused on contemporary and future problems (Perkovich/Levite).


This is a two-credit, pass/fail course.

Students are expected to participate in weekly discussions, lead paper discussions (50%) twice, and write two response pieces (3-4 pages) to be circulated in advance of class (50%). (Response writers will also serve as discussion leaders.) We will circulate a sign up sheet for discussion leadership/response writing duties; you will circulate your response piece in advance of class on the discussion board. Please submit it no later than Monday at Noon. 

Please use this template for your reading responses.

For your response pieces, it is important to not simply recount the reading. Assume that everyone has read carefully. Your response piece should follow at least one of the following strategies:

  • You could analyze a major theme or problem in the readings and tie it to challenges in cybersecurity generally, or to larger theoretical frameworks used in cybersecurity.
  • You could show the linkages among multiple themes/readings in the course.
  • You could analyze the arguments raised in the reading by assessing strengths, the merits of counterarguments, and of course by identifying the implicit/explicit assumptions that underly the argument. 
  • With the Lapsley book, consider analyzing the phone phreaks' activities through the lens of computer intrusion. What experiments with the phone system constitute a form of network trespass? When should such experiments be dealt with privately (e.g. account revocation or fees) versus criminally? 

The best response pieces integrate themes of the course, raise high-level discussion questions, and/or present original arguments and the limitations of those arguments. Pay attention to the footnotes--you might find context and color from extrinsic sources.

APM-015 Part II statement

This course will deal with material concerning current events and exploration of government actions and their possible consequences. Class discussion will feature such material.

BCLT Certificate

Law students: Hoofnagle's courses count toward's BCLT's certificate program.

Course Materials

Please purchase:

  • Phil Lapsley, Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws who Hacked Ma Bell (Grove Press 2013), 978-0802120618
    • This book is also available in paperback under ISBN: 978-0802122285
  • George Perkovich & Ariel Levite, Understanding Cyber Conflict: 14 Analogies (Georgetown Univ. Press 2017), paperback ISBN: 978-1626164987

In addition to these books, we will read academic articles and policy papers. Some readings will be behind paywalls. In order to get the readings at no cost, you will have to use the Berkeley Library VPN or the Library Proxy. These tools enable you to obtain all UCB-subscribed journals and books from your home computer. If you have problems, see your helpdesk. 

Tech Cred

If you are feeling at sea with cybersecurity or hacking techniques, you might explore the relevant courses on UCB has a site license, so you can watch as many as you'd like :) For instance:

The quality of these videos vary, but some are excellent.

To log in, you need to use this link and your calnet: 

Course Schedule

Date Reading Discussion Lead & Response

When you are the discussion leader, your reading response is due Monday at Noon. Please post it to bCourse's Discussion Area. 

Tue Jan 16

All students: be prepared to discuss Perkovich & Levite, pp xi–30. Please read the reading response by AR as well.

Please vote for your discussion days here.

Introduce yourself on the discussion board. Also, please make an effort to learn everyone's name--discussion leadership goes much better that way :) 

AR & Chris Hoofnagle
Tue Jan 23 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 2; Lapsley foreward & Chapters 1 & 2  KC
Tue Jan 30 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 3; Lapsley Chapters 3–5  Chris Hoofnagle
Tue Feb 6

Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 4; Lapsley Chapters 6–7

LL will moderate; Hoofnagle absent.

Tue Feb 13 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 5; Lapsley 8–9  VT & HC
Tue Feb 20 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 6; Lapsley 10–11  CZ & VT
Tue Feb 27 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 7; Lapsley 12–13; optional: Ron Rosenbaum, The Secrets of the Little Blue Box (reprinted in Slate).  QC & HC
Tue Mar 6 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 8; Lapsley 14–15  DMdL & NB
Tue Mar 13 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 9; Lapsley 16–17  NM & LO
Tue Mar 20 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 10; Lapsley 18–19  TK & NM
Thu Mar 23

BCLT Privacy Law Forum -- Silicon Valley (optional event)

Tue Apr 3

Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 11; Lapsley 20–21

Phil Lapsley to visit class for 45 minutes.

 DMdL & LO
Tue Apr 10

Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 12; Lapsley Epilogue

Course evaluations:

 QC & CZ
Tue Apr 17 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 13 *Last class for law students. Law students, please also read the concluding chapter. AR & LD
Tue Apr 24 Perkovich & Levite, Chapter 14 + Conclusions  KC & LD

Course Summary:

Date Details Due