Instructor Information

Jeffrey Ritter

Work Phone: 202-285-7385

In addition to courses taught at Johns Hopkins, Mr. Ritter is an External Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford. His current research focuses on adapting the mathematics of quantum mechanics to measure the trust and economic values of digital information in motion. More information can be found at 

Course Information

Course Description

Personal information has become a new class of digital property with immense value in commerce and of intense importance to national security and intelligence. Engineering any information system now requires a professional to protect privacy, preserve the information's functional value, and navigate complex domestic and international legal and engineering rules Students will use new visual modeling and analysis tools for designing and executing privacy solutions in both the commercial and governmental sectors. Students will build a final specification for a privacy solution involving regulated personal information.

Course Goal

Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

·Explain the engineering and management skills required to implement privacy controls and the building blocks used in designing and executing responsive solutions.

·Identify and explain the diverse technology, business, and legal rules governing personal information and the challenges of engineering and managing systems in compliance with those rules.

·Develop and express the integrated requirements for privacy solutions using visual tools that enable improved compliance and execution.

·Provide improved leadership within the teams that develop, execute and manage privacy assets.

Course Objectives

  • Course Objectives

    This course has a challenging set of objectives. Privacy is dynamic, complex, and a bit volatile, so we will be working as a learning community—side by side. By the end of the course, students will be able to:

    ·Explain the key functional skills required for engineering and managing privacy solutions and the building blocks to be used to do so.

    • Identify and explain the diverse technology, business and legal rules, domestic and international, that govern how privacy solutions must be engineered.
    • Understand and use an integrated engineering design process for building and governing privacy solutions to meet legal, technology, and business requirements.
    • Acquire and use new tools to create visual data flow models expressing use cases and requirements for privacy solutions.

When This Course is Typically Offered

This course is offered online, beginning Fall, 2018.


  • Opening Pandora's Box-- Discovering the Complexity
  • What is privacy?
  • What is privacy-part II?
  • How do we visualizing privacy information flows and the rules that govern them?
  • What are the sources of the rules for engineering and managing privacy?
  • How do you manage and govern personal information to succeed?
  • How can personal information be classified?
  • What is an integrated process model for engineering and managing privacy?
  • How can the requirements for a privacy solution be expressed?
  • How does effective privacy engineering affect the economic and functional value of specific data?
  • How are privacy use cases constructed (part I)?
  • How are privacy use cases constructed (part II)?
  • What are the work products of effective privacy engineering?
  • How do we adapt our engineering and management to innovations?

Student Assessment Criteria

General Discussion and Participation 15%
Current Event Reporting 10%
Individual Assignments 35%
Group Projects 10%
Final Project 30%

Your ability to achieve the learning objectives involves active engagement with each assignment throughout the course. Every submitted assignment will be graded promptly, and you will have the opportunity to apply the feedback you receive to improving any assignment that is already been submitted.

The final paper is an iterative build on many earlier projects and assignments. As a result, successful students will find that the consistent efforts to achieve the learning objectives for each module will enable them to successfully navigate the requirements for the final paper.
As an online course, each module includes multiple assignments. The students will need to plan their time accordingly, and not wait until the last night to complete the work required for each week.

Computer and Technical Requirements

No particular technology knowledge is required for this course. However, students are required to license (at an academic rate of $79) Mindjet software, a leading commercial tool for the visual presentation and sharing of complex information. This tool will be used throughout the class, and students will become familiar with it as a tool for modeling privacy solutions and integrating their expanded responsibility for aligning to external business and legal rules and requirements. Detailed information on how to acquire the software is included in the course syllabus

Participation Expectations

This online course gives you the opportunity to develop and use communication tools and skills that are inherent in today's digital, distributed workplace. In addition to reading assignments, students will actively engage in discussion forums based on reading, working groups to develop consensus solutions around particular engineering and design issues, develop visual presentations that show engineering design and compliance in action, and synthesize their work throughout the semester into a coherent final paper that demonstrates their mastery of the learning objectives and overall goals for the course.

This course is unusual in its heavy reliance on visual information maps, both as a tool for teaching and as a form of work product to be produced. In effect, you are learning from the very blueprint tools that you will used to design engineering privacy solutions. Students who embrace the opportunity to use these tools will gain competitive advantage in the marketplace because, quite truly, any picture does speak for more than 1000 words!


Textbook information for this course is available online through the MBS Direct Virtual Bookstore.

Course Notes

There are no notes for this course.

Final Words from the Instructor

In May 2018, the new European Union General Data Protection Directive (“GDPR”) became effective. The GDPR formally requires that privacy controls be designed into systems that handle personal information; the failure to execute privacy controls now can result in significant sanctions.As a result, any engineer or technology manager’s job description is transforming rapidly, whether responsible for domestic or global information systems.

Every effort is made to design this course to enable students to gain professional skills and capabilities that will also work for engineering and managing other classes of data that may, in the future, face similarly intensive regulatory controls.

Final Words from the Instructor

This course challenges each student to embrace and leverage their engineering and/or management ambitions and apply them to one of the most dynamic, volatile, and risk - intensive fields of computing. There simply is nothing more publicly urgent than the need to build effective privacy.

Students taking this course will have the opportunity to view the engineering challenges from both the private sector and government perspectives, and understand how their success at effective privacy management can be leveraged into other complex fields of computing that are increasingly subject to legal oversight and compliance.

If you would like to learn more, be sure to visit this video I produced to explain the course.  

(Last Modified: 07/03/2018 03:02:32 PM)