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Fundamental Rights & Digital Technologies


Course Description

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

Over the five weeks of the course, we will focus on several areas of interest: state surveillance; Ambient Computing and the Internet of Things; AdTech and algorithmic profiling; algorithmic discrimination; the challenges of regulating content and free expression in a digital world. This course will focus on both constitutional principles, fundamental and human rights, and the challenges facing digital technologies in today’s world.

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

  • Introduction to Fundamental Rights as applied to digital technologies

  • Frameworks for the protection of digital rights

  • Privacy, Data protection, and Surveillance in Digital Technologies

  • Algorithmic Profiling and Targeted Advertising

  • Artificial Intelligence and Fundamental Rights (non-discrimination, freedom of though, etc.)

  • How to “assess the impact” on fundamental rights for digital technologies

  • Human vulnerabilities and fundamental rights in digital technologies

  • The challenge of new fundamental rights
    We will focus mostly on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights and case law from the European Court of Human Rights and the Court Justice of the European Union.

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 and positivistic 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:

  • 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 critical eye as to its 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 MyTimetable


More information on this course is offered in Brightspace


Attendance is mandatory as specified in Article 5.1 of the Course and Examination Regulations of the Master of Laws Advanced Studies Programmes.

Assessment Method

  • Group essay and presentation 50%

  • Final exam 50%

Contact information

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

Should there be any future extenuating circumstances which may impinge our teaching and assessment, these could necessitate modification of the course descriptions after 1 September. This will only happen in the event of strict necessity and the interests of the students will be taken into account. Should there be a need for any change during the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis. Modifications after 1 September 2023 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board and Programme Director.