nl en

Fundamental Rights & Digital Technologies


Course Description

The course critically examines the interaction and conflicts between fundamental rights and digital technologies. Our relationship with digital technologies is always evolving, yet fundamental rights tend to remain static. Or do they? Courts and regulators must resolve, not only conflict between technology and fundamental rights, but conflicts sometimes between competing rights. Over the five weeks of the course, we will focus on several areas of interest and potential conflicts with fundamental rights. This course will focus on fundamental rights and the challenges facing digital technologies in the world today.

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

  • Introduction to Fundamental Rights as applied to digital technologies

  • Net Neutrality: from competitive markets to fundamental rights

  • Fundamental Rights in the age of Big Data: Ambient Computing and the Internet of Things:

  • Algorithmic Profiling and Targeted Advertising

  • Deindexing Law: free expression vs data protection

  • ‘Dark Patterns’ and manipulative interfaces

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

  • State Surveillance: from observation to retention to manipulation

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 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

  • How to make a proper legal argument, backed up with the proper authority

  • 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

  • To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities

  • Enhanced legal writing

Basic research skills:

  • To collect and select academic and literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques

  • To understand how to use legal authority and precedent properly

  • To analyze and assess literature with regard to quality and reliability

  • 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

  • To formulate a substantiated conclusion

Course Requirement

Master Degree


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


More information on this course is offered in Brightspace


Attendance of 80% of the scheduled course lectures is mandatory

Assessment Method

  • Essay #1 (40%) – Please note that students will also be required to submit a reflective diary/self-assessment report (worth 10%) of their overall mark for the assignment.

  • Essay #2 (40%) - Please note that students will also be required to submit a reflective diary and self-assessment report (worth 10%) of their overall mark for the assignment

Contact information

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

Disclaimer: This course has been updated to the best of our knowledge at the current time of publishing. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and the fluctuating changes in lock down regulations all information contained within this course description are subject to change up to 1 September 2020.
Due to the uncertainty of the Covid 19 virus after 1 September 2020, changes to the course description can only be made in the event of strict necessity and only in the circumstances where the interests of the students are not impinged. Should there be a need for any change during the duration of the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis and will not be to the prejudice of students. Modifications after 1 September 2020 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board