Regulating Internet Giants - Google, Amazon and Facebook

Course content

How is the Internet different (or not) from prior telecommunication technologies?

What are similarities and differences in the business models of major Internet corporations?

Which ‘law’ applies to them?

What is the role of governments and major internet corporations in Internet infrastructure governance? To what extent are their interests aligned? Who holds power?

 

Global digital corporations (e.g. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter) have played leading roles in shaping the transnational digital order, enabled by light regulation and robust liability protection in the US. Their platforms make rules, and their lobbying has influenced both national regulators and international treaty negotiators especially in the ‘electronic commerce’ and ‘digital trade’ chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the new NAFTA between the US, Mexico, and Canada (USMCA). But these US companies are encountering increasing regulatory pushback, especially in the EU with its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and a different approach prevails in China, the home of several world-leading internet companies (e.g. Alibaba, Huawei, Tencent).

 

This course offers an overview of the Internet’s technological foundations, infrastructure, and governance, focusing on global Internet corporations’ role in each of these. We then canvas core legal concepts and ideas about cyber-law, cyber-conflicts, and the regulation of Internet corporations and their platforms in global contexts. As part of the course, we tackle the most recent scholarship and developments in the area, including current controversies, novel technologies, and regulatory challenges.

 

The course deals with a rapidly changing and very complex technological and economic environment. The objective for the course is to equip students with the basic knowledge, core concepts, and versatile tools necessary to think critically and creatively about the legal and extra-legal regulation of global internet corporations going forward.

Learning outcome
  • Become familiar with a set of questions that the internet giants raise (such as interference with elections, privacy interference, etc).  The course will also address how Eu and national states can approach the issue.
  • Be aware of the latest developments in Denmark and in other countries
  • Identify the central issues and challenges facing governments and international institutions, such as problems of self-regulation, content regulation, security issues.
  • Critically read and analyze both theoretical and empirical literature on the issue.
  • Apply the knowledge built during the course to real life examples.

The students are expected to read the mandatory readings and participate actively in class. The course will adopt the Socratic method and students will be called upon to contribute on cases they have read for class. To improve the learning process, the course uses both traditional lecturing methods and other more interactive and research-based techniques aimed at activating the students in class (including the viewing of a film). The goal is to educate students into thinking ciritcally and independently, to engage with legal texts from several jurisdictions and to think critically about global corporations. The class room should be a learning environment in which the students can restructure the knowledge previously acquired through the readings into a richer and more critical knowledge. In particular, during the course, the following instructional strategy will be used:

- Case law analysis with oral presentations and written reaction papers or essays, where students reflect on readings
- Film reflecting on how internet was born

In addition, to encourage the reflection on the ideas presented in class, students will be asked to investigate the topic as it relates to their own jurisdiction refer to relevant academic and legal (Case-law) literature.

The materials will be provided online: they include research articles, books and judicial decisions, as well as relevant case notes or comments analysing these decisions. In addition, a film will be played to help students think about how internet came about.

 

Some knowledge of human rights law, international law.

English proficiency, critical thinking, ability and willigness to participate in class.

Written
Oral
Individual
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • English
  • 206,25