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Information Security and Privacy (INFO30006)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeINFO30006
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


Never in human history has so much of what we say and do been mediated by technology. Information systems have assumed central roles in our lives and in how societies function. The digital world is thriving with rapidly expanding opportunities for innovation, and individuals, businesses, governments and nations continue to focus on the benefits to be had through increased automation and interconnectivity between people and devices.

Whether for the functions they serve or the knowledge they represent, data and information play key roles in our lives. We conceive of ourselves and the world in terms of information, and systems, which require the communication of data or information between machines and people to work and bring technological and organisational value. Our profound dependency on information means that aberrations in how information is used can provide great benefits but also have serious consequences.

The opportunities promised by the modern digital world, such as artificial intelligence, also introduce great potential for exploitation. The exposure of data or information meant to be secret can lead to people gaining unintended knowledge and power and the manipulation, denial, or removal of data or information can impede, impair, or change the functionality of systems and ultimately have serious implications for individual citizens, businesses and nations. There is much discussion in the media of information security, privacy ad transparency, but what do these terms actually mean and why are they important?

In this subject, students initially take a step back from the current debate on information security, privacy and transparency issues to examine the fundamental understanding and evolution of these concepts over time. We discuss the socio-technical aspects of such issues and their implications for societies, including the organisations and citizens that shape them. Considering the socio-technical relationships, we take a broad look at what information security, privacy and transparency mean for each entity.

For Bachelor of Science students this is a required subject in the Informatics major and an elective subject in the Science Informatics major and the concurrent Diploma in Informatics. This subject is available as a breadth subject for other Bachelor degrees and is an elective in the Working with Information breadth track.


We focus on privacy and cryptography in the context of digital communications and examine the individual citizen’s fundamental “right to privacy” and related ethical implications of the Internet and resulting consequences in society, e.g. the manipulation of election outcomes. We develop student awareness of potential threats to privacy and pre-emptive actions. Organisations also experience an intensifying threat landscape within and outside their control, through an increase in e.g. data breaches, theft of company secrets, and emerging cyber threat. An attack can have devastating consequences for organisations, and their customers, alike. Organisations therefore increasingly prioritise proactive security strategies to detect and respond to potential attacks moving away from prevention-only strategies. Students will gain an understanding of why security risk management is key and how to assess and respond to the risk of threat agents exploiting vulnerabilities in organisational systems, technical and non-technical, to gain access to confidential business and customer data.

Finally, we discuss governmental transparency. Counter-terrorism and national security have become priority for nation states and governments have been collecting internet communications from internet companies, thereby violating the privacy of their own citizens, to increase protection. Government surveillance programs constrain people’s right to privacy and freedom of expression and grassroot organisations are now demanding a transparent public debate about what a government should be allowed to know about its citizens. Students will address the ethical implications and potential regulatory changes associated with the conflict between legitimate security concerns of governments and the protection of individual privacy and the free press.
This subject will make extensive use of current issues as reported by different media and experts to illustrate the relevance of understanding security and privacy issues today.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  • 1. Identify a range of security and privacy issues and threats that drive the need for security
  • 2. Understand the three security principles Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (C,I,A) and how they relate to security threats and technologies
  • 3. Identify a range of security paradigms and models and understand how they can be deployed in a security strategy to protect information and preserve privacy
  • 4. Understand cryptographic technologies and how they can be deployed to protect information and preserve privacy

Generic skills

  • An ability to synthesise information and communicate results effectively
  • An ability to work effectively as a member of a project team
  • In-depth critical and independent thinking and reflection skills
  • An ability to solve problems and communicate solutions both orally and in writing

Eligibility and requirements


Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
INFO20003 Database Systems
Semester 1
Semester 2



Non-allowed subjects

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
ISYS90070 Information Security Consulting
Winter Term

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



An Information Security and Privacy Group Report (30%), requiring approximately 35 hours of work per student. Due before week 10. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 to 4 are addressed in the group report.

  • 35 hours
Hurdle requirement: To pass the subject, students must obtain: at least 50% in the other component of assessment (the report and brief oral presentation).
Week 1030%

An Oral Presentation of 10 minutes (10%), requiring approximately 10 hours of work per student. Due in week 11 or before. ILOs 1 to 4 are addressed in the presentation.

  • 10 minutes
Hurdle requirement: To pass the subject, students must obtain: at least 50% in the other component of assessment ( the paper and brief presentation).
Week 1110%

One written 2 - hour closed book end of semester examination (60%). ILOs 1 to 4 are addressed in the end of semester examination.

  • 2 hours
Hurdle requirement: To pass the subject, students must obtain: at least 50% in the examination.
End of semester60%

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorSuelette Dreyfus
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours, comprising of one 2 hour lecture and one 1 hour workshop per week
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts


  • Subject notes

    Learning and Teaching Methods

    INFO30006 Information Security, Privacy and Transparency, 2018: https://handbook.unimelb.edu.au/subjects/info30006

    The subject will be delivered through a combination of lectures, workshops, and group presentations/discussions. As preparation for the class, students will study theory and practical cases through academic readings, journalistic analyses from reputable outlets, podcasts, and documentaries/TEDx talks as part of their group activities. We attempt to bring in noteworthy guest speakers to share their experiences from ‘the inside’ when possible.

    Indicative Key Learning Resources

    Students will have access to lecture slides and notes on the subject’s LMS site. We do not use a prescribed textbook but will provide some essential readings and other resources for class sessions and workshops.

    Careers/Industry Links

    Whether students choose to follow a career path related to information security and privacy, this subject seeks to create an inherent awareness of issues to aid students’ confidence in participating in the broad public debate to help shape our future society; our rights as citizens, our obligations as employees, and our xxx as societies. Our guest lecturers will share their experiences from different corners of the world to aid in providing a more holistic picture of one of the biggest concerns of the “global nation” today.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 13 September 2019