General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW3261
Course name: The Regulation of Technological Platforms: Theory and Practice
Programme offered under: LLB Programme
Semester: First
Designated research course: Not applicable
Specialization: Not applicable
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Course offered to non-law students: Yes
Credit point value: 6 credits

1.2 Course description

Technological Platforms are at the heart of contemporary concerns with the future of law and governance. They have transformed the structures of individual and collective action in contemporary societies in profound and challenging ways. The forms of power technological platforms instantiate fundamentally affect the social perception, if not the construction, of reality itself. Algorithms on which their design decisions are based catalyze biases and inequality. And yet, these same algorithms increasingly become medium and message he very fabric f our political processes.

But how to regulate technological platforms Or can we Modalities of limitation of public power that emerged in modern times are not naturally extensible to private actors. Competition law, in turn, has a more restricted scope than the plethora of challenges offered by platforms in different realms. More fundamentally, there is the challenge posed by the problem of expertise in a world of increasing complexification and asymmetry of knowledge. In other words, state regulators will increasingly depend on the technologies and expertise owned by the very actors they seek to regulate, a problem which is coupled by the embeddedness of design decisions in artificially intelligent systems that do not lend themselves to easy explainability.

How to move forward This is the question that, in different realms related to the regulation of technological platforms, we will be exploring in this course. The course will be divided into two parts, the first more theoretical, the second more applied. From an inquiry into the nature and political foundations of legal normativity and its reciprocal relationship with technology, the course will go on to introduce how these ideas bear specifically on the regulation of technological platforms, understanding the different types of platforms and forms of technology on which they are based, with particular reference to the challenges brought by Artificial Intelligence.

In the second part, the course will explore more specifically how platforms are regulated in the fields of hate speech and obscenity, defamation, privacy and data protection, copyright, and political communication. The course will close with a reflection on the limits of competition law in the regulation of platforms, and a discussion on possible ways forward to conceive of their roles and responsibilities. Basic ideas in each field will be introduced. The approach will be comparative, though particular reference will be made to the law of Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Marcelo Thompson marcelo.thompson@hku.hk CCT 308 By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Have a thorough grasp of major concepts and debates about the interplay between technology and the law, with a particular focus on technological platforms.

CLO 2 Think creatively about the normative challenges raised by technological platforms and make this knowledge productive for policy analysis and design.

CLO 3 Develop a critical and comparative appreciation of the ways in which different jurisdictions tackle the regulation of technological platforms in different respects.

CLO 4 Be familiar with a number of substantive topics that will be relevant for further research in this field.

2.2 LLB Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link: https://course.law.hku.hk/llb-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Mid-term essay 6 Nov 2023 35% 1, 2, 3, 4
Take home exam 15 Dec 2023 65% 1, 2, 3, 4
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/