Values and Norms in Cyberspace is about regulatory issues in relation to information and communication technologies (ICTs), and especially the internet. The internet has become a vital infrastructure in our modern society, which is exceptionally clear in the current Corona times. We use digital technologies at home, at work, and when in transit, to email, look up information, to Google, or check in which friends via social media. These technologies have enriched our lives and made them more fun and more efficient. But they also raise a host of regulatory and ethical questions. Is our privacy safe in a world of interconnected, always-on technologies? What is the balance between freedom of expression and harassment or bullying online? Is it still feasible to develop trust relations on the internet? How can we regulate the behaviors of individuals in a network that spans the globe and knows no boundaries?
This course investigates how values that are key to our modern society such as autonomy, privacy, trust and freedom can be safeguarded online. The course takes an holistic approach to regulation. This entails that not only legal norms, but also social and economical norms, technical design choices and ethics are part of the regulatory toolkit that will be explored.
Objective(s) of the course
Technological developments occur at dazzling speed, and this entails that regulators and policy makers need to be able to think creatively and flexibly about solutions for potential problems. This course will provide students with an understanding of the complexity of some of the fundamental regulatory issues in relation to the internet, and it will equip them for the multidisciplinary dialogue with policy makers and ICT specialists that is necessary to tackle these issues.
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:
Understanding the basic architecture and operation of the internet and the directions in which it will develop in the near future;
Understanding fundamental regulatory issues that have emerged in relation to the internet, and the relevance of design choices in the architecture of the network for both the creation and solution of these issues.
Understanding the interplay of social, ethical, legal, market, and technical norms in regulating behavior online.
Understanding the complexity of balancing different values in and across the internet, for example privacy and security, or freedom of expression and online harassment.
Understanding the complexity of the regulatory and policy landscape to tackle regulatory issues on the internet.
This knowledge should equip students with the ability to weigh and evaluate the development of specific ICT services or applications, to see where potential regulatory and ethical issues might arise in their use or deployment, and to give advice on designing technologies in a way that avoids or diminishes such issues.
The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.
Mode of instruction
Number of (4 hour) lectures: 5 (interactive)
Names of lecturers: Prof.dr. V.A.J. Frissen, with the possibility of guest lecturers
Required preparation by students: Reading the required materials on Brightspace and submitting a written assignment.
Interactive lectures for which attendance is mandatory and registration is required (in Usis the lectures are registered as working groups).
1 Assignment (20% of the final grade)
Final (online) exam (80% of the final grade)
The assignment is obligatory. The weighted final grade must be at least a 5.5. Only the final (online) exam can be retaken: the grade for the assignment remains valid for the retake.
- The assignment will be made available through Brightspace and should be submitted via the submission link on Brightspace, within a week after becoming available.
Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the video lectures/the interactive seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.
Obligatory course materials
- All required readings are available via Brightspace in week-by-week folders.
Course information guide:
- All course information can be found on Brightspace.
Recommended course materials
- Recommended readings are available via Brightspace in week-by-week folders, alongside the required readings. These can be used, e.g., when writing the assignment.
Students have to register for the lectures and working groups through uSis. With this registration you have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace. You may register up to 5 calendar days before the first teaching session begins.
Students have to register for exams and retakes through uSis. With this registration you also have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace You may register up to 10 calendar days before the exam or retake.
Coordinator: Prof.dr. V.A.J. Frissen
Work address: KOG
Institute: Meta Juridica
Department: eLaw, Center for Law and Digital Technologies