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WHAT IS THE INTERNET DOING TO ME?

Why should I take this Trinity Elective?

You use the Internet all the time. Your actions and data are used by service providers for your benefit, but also for their benefit, and often in ways that are extremely opaque to you as a user. Understanding more about how that works and what you can control will enable you to make better decisions as to what you do or do not want from your interactions with the Internet.

What will I learn?

  • Some of the basics as to how it all works.
  • To make informed decisions about how you want to interact with the Internet and Internet services and the consequences of your decisions.
  • How the structures and organisations involved in the Internet affect the services you use and their evolution.
  • How to investigate technologies you can use to improve your level of control over how you interact with and on the Internet.
  • How to communicate and collaborate effectively in ways that match your choices.

What will I do?

  • Attend a series of lectures to understand the basics of how the Internet and current Internet services work (no prior technical knowledge required).
  • Engage in debate with other students, TCD and external experts on selected topics relevant to the module.
  • Prepare for, and take part in, a series of “hackathon” style 2-hour workshops with TCD and international experts on selected topics.
  • Carry out an in-depth small-group exploration of some services that you use and produce an anonymised report on that.
  • Exercise your rights under the GDPR to find out what some service provider knows about you, and produce an anonymised report on that.

How will this be delivered?

The first half of the module is lecture-based, covering the technical (and some legal and ethical) background that you need to understand current Internet technologies and services. The second half of the module will mainly consist of 2-hour in-depth sessions where we will explore how different technologies and services of interest affect you, with help from TCD and international experts in those technologies. Those vary from high-level topics such as considering the human rights aspects of the global Internet, or debating aspects of a topical court case, down to hands-on playing with the plumbing involved in an abusable test network. Outside class, you will carry out an individual and and a team exercise exploring services you use daily.

How will this be assessed?

  • MCQ and on-line interactive assessment: basic understanding of relevant Internet technologies (20%)
  • A set of short on-line assessments to prepare for each of the in-depth sessions. (10%)
  • A group project to explore and report on the security and privacy impacts of some technology or service that you use. (40%)
  • An individual project based on a GDPR information access request you will make related to a service that you use. (30%)

Who can take this Trinity Elective?

  • Any student eligible to take a Trinity Elective can select this Trinity Elective.

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