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Fundamental Rights & Digital Technologies


Course Description

The course critically examines the interaction and conflicts between fundamental rights and digital technologies. While tech, and our relationship with it, is always evolving, fundamental rights tend to remain static. Courts and regulators must resolve, not only the conflict between technology and fundamental rights, but sometimes the conflict between competing rights.

Over the five weeks of the course, we will focus on several areas: fake news and platform regulation; the net neutrality debate; the right to be forgotten balancing test; AdTech and behavioural profiling, and the challenges of regulating free expression in a digital world. This course will focus on both constitutional principles, in particular fundamental rights, and the challenges facing digital technologies in today’s world.

The following topics are likely to be covered (but subject to change):

  • Free Expression versus Privacy: competing rights in the digital world?

  • Net neutrality: from market competition to fundamental rights

  • Boundaries of free speech (Harmful, Terrorism, Hate & Inciting Violence)

  • AdTech and Behavioural Advertising

  • Fake news, other forms of deceptive content, and platform regulation

We will focus on the European Convention of Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and case law from the European Court of Human Rights and the Court Justice of the European Union, but will also draw on other rights regimes from around the world.

Course Objectives

The course is designed to teach students how to research, understand, and deploy authority from a variety of legal regimes. Each topic is unique and chosen to enhance students’ learning experience by building on the multi-jurisdictional and any inter-disciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and develop their skills in the art of academic research. The class is characterized by a legal approach.

Academic skills developed include:

  • To explain clear and substantiated research results

  • To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course

  • To actively participate in a discussion following the presentation

  • To be socio-communicative in collaborative situations

  • To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position

  • To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills:

  1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques
  2. To understand how to use legal authority properly.
  3. To analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability
  4. To formulate on this basis a sound research question
  5. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
  6. To formulate a substantiated conclusion

Course Requirement

Master Degree


The timetable of this course will be available for students in Blackboard


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard

Assessment Method

  • Group paper/presentation (40%)

  • Group policy report with peer assessment component (40%)

Both components will have individual assessments based on:

  • Research skills (10%)

  • Presentation (10%)

Contact information

Programme Coordinator
Ms Patricia Garcia Fernandez
Telephone number: 0031- 71 527 4228

Currently these pages are being updated to reflect the courses for 2019 - 2020. Until these pages are fixed as per 1 September 2019 no rights can be claimed from the information which is currently contained within