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Privacy, Reputation, and Identity in a Digital Age Teach-Out


Reputation has long been prized. In its traditional form, people who know something about you use this knowledge to form opinions. Their collective sense of who you are—your reputation—affects how people treat you: it shapes all of your social interactions.

In today's world, additional knowledge about you resides in "big data" collected by individuals, organizations, companies, and governments. Increasingly, data about you are being processed by algorithms to draw conclusions: to form something like opinions.

This combination of data and algorithms creates a new digital reputation which increasingly shapes your life, from recommending purchases and suggesting friends to prompting actions based solely on your digital footprint.

Who gathers, owns, and controls this data? Where do they get it, and how? How do they use it? Is it shared with people, processed by algorithms, used to construct your choices? What should we think about all of this?

In this Teach-Out we will consider questions of privacy, reputation, and identity using a case study approach. Learners will hear from experts and engage in conversation using real-world scenarios across multiple topic areas.





2 weeks



U-M Credit Eligible



  • Sol Bermann

    University Privacy Officer; Interim Chief Information Security Officer

  • Tim McKay

    Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Education