Public Interest Cybersecurity: The Citizen Clinic Practicum
For individuals and organizations involved in political advocacy, cybersecurity threats are an increasingly common reality of operating in the digital world. Civil society has always been under attack from ideological, political, and governmental opponents who seek to silence dissenting opinions, but the widespread adoption of connected technologies by the individuals and organizations that make up civil society creates a new class of vulnerabilities.
Citizen Clinic at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity provides students with real-world experience assisting politically vulnerable organizations and persons around the world to develop and implement sound cybersecurity practices. Clinic students will participate in both a classroom and clinic component. In the classroom, students will study the basic theories and practices of digital security, the intricacies of protecting largely under-resourced organizations, and the tools needed to manage risk in complex political, sociological, legal, and ethical contexts. In the clinic component, students will work in teams supervised by the Clinic staff to provide direct cybersecurity assistance to civil society organizations. Students’ clinic responsibilities will include learning about an organization’s mission and context, assessing its vulnerabilities, and ultimately recommending and implementing mitigations to the identified security risks. The emphasis will be on pragmatic, workable solutions that take into account the unique operational needs of each client organization.
Weekly lectures will provide students with the background information and tools they will need to engage with clients. Coursework will focus on client-facing, hands-on projects. Students will be expected to work an average of 12 hours per week, although the distribution of this workload may fluctuate based upon the availability and needs of the client. Enrollment will be by application and limited to graduate students and exceptional upper-level undergraduate students. While some background in cybersecurity will be useful for the course, it is not required. Given the interdisciplinary nature of this field, demonstrated ability in technology, law, policy, foreign language, or other applicable skills will also be desirable. All interested students will be placed on the waitlist and then contacted with instructions to apply for admission to the course. Students should be prepared to submit a résumé and a brief explanation of their interest in the Citizen Clinic, as well as a description of any applicable background experience.
Course may be repeated for credit with instructor consent.
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This course was previously offered as Info 290. Public Interest Cybersecurity: The Citizen Clinic Practicum. In 2019 & 2020, the course was offered for 4 units.