Regulating Big Tech


About this course

The course Regulating Big Tech deals with the regulation of big technology corporations, such as the famous internet companies Google and Facebook. This course takes big tech companies as a central point, and explores the difficulties with regulating these kinds of companies from different perspectives. These perspectives include, amongst others (note that this list is non-exhaustive and might be altered to better connect to current events):

  • Competition law (and abuse of a dominant position)
  • Privacy
  • Relationship between market and state and the power of data
  • Interplay with fundamental principles underlying democracy
  • Protection of fundamental rights
  • Intellectual Property

In the course Regulating Big Tech students focus on one of these perspectives per week in the form of ‘crash courses’ and ‘clinics’. The crash courses are interactive lectures aimed at giving students enough information about the topic to facilitate further learning in the clinics. During the clinics, students are given cases to solve and present in class. These cases pertain to the perspective of the week, have a strong connection to current events and/or broader perspectives. In general, students are expected to actively contribute to the course and look at the material and cases with a critical eye.
In learning about these topics, students will make use of legal texts (conventions, laws, case law) and academic articles, but also of popular articles, press releases and their own critical analysis of the subject.

Academic context
The course Regulating Big Tech is a course in the field of Public Economic Law, which means that it deals with questions of law, but has a connection to economics (concepts of efficiency and innovation) and governance (democratic deficit, distribution of welfare and global justice) as well. These connections are reflected in the ‘perspectives’ that are central to this course and which are used to look at the problem of big technology in a variety of ways. Because the course does not just deal with public law, but with questions of contract law and intellectual property as well, the course has a strong multidimensional character. Apart from that, the course has a clear international focus due to the subject matter and the playing field on which these corporations operate.

Societal relevance
Because the course Regulating Big Tech explicitly builds on current events, the societal relevance of this course is a given. Theory learned during the weekly crash courses are applied and contextualized immediately during the clinics, in which current events are leading. In doing so, students make use of academic texts to shape their thinking about societal issues.

The course Regulating Big Tech stimulates and develops the following particular set of skills.

General analytical skills
With its focus on analyzing and discussing current events in the clinics, students are stimulated to find, process and apply different sources quickly to a given case. Students trained to quickly sort through different materials, distill important information and present well rounded arguments.

Legal analytical skills
The course focuses on current events, but not without a clear connection to academic context. Students are stimulated to apply different legal concepts to practical situations, to analyse practice from a legal (and multidimensional) perspective and to think of solutions to difficult legal problems.

Argumentation and communication
This course demands active participation and a strong presence in the crash courses and clinics. This entails that students are trained to put forward their analyses and opinions in a structured way. However, before that, emphasis is put on the process of brainstorming, communicating with group members and forming opinions together.

Writing skills (legal research)
In this course, students are tested (partially) by writing an academic paper on one of the selected topics placed in a broader context. This requires students to use their acquired analytical skills, and trains them in the field of legal research. Attention is paid to information gathering, proper referencing, formulating a research question and a fitting research method.
Place of the course within the curriculum:

  • Optional legal course

Additional requirements:
Any additional requirements of the course are listed in the "Leidraad" of the course.

Learning outcomes

1. Knowledge, understanding, insight
After this course:

  • the student has an understanding of the functioning of regulation of big tech companies.

  • the student understands the core objectives and rules connected to the different perspectives central to the course and can apply them to a particular case (here: big tech). These perspectives include at least:

  • competition regulation

  • privacy regulation

  • democratic values underlying functioning of markets

  • fundamental rights

  • the student has an insight into the global issues that drive- and are connected to big tech companies.

2. Contextual positioning
After this course:

  • the student can identify the challenges of regulating big tech companies from a legal perspective.
  • the student understands the role of legal and societal values in the shaping and application of economic regulation.
  • the student is well versed in discussions about regulating big tech companies that go beyond the legal perspective and incorporate governance and economic aspects as well.
  • the student can put forward a clear view on regulating big tech companies.

3. General academic and legal skills
After this course:

  • the student can express her-/himself in (legal) English orally and written.
  • the student is capable of applying legal theory to practical situations and analysing these situations in this context.
  • the student has gained experience in formulating well-rounded arguments on the basis of newly acquired knowledge.
  • the student is capable of finding relevant legal and academic sources for immediate application.

Good to know

Do you study at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) or Wageningen University and Research (WUR)? You can enrol via

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

  • Completed all course modules listed below
  • Introduction to Law of Obligations (RGBUPRV001)
  • Introduction to Property Law (RGBUPRV002)
  • Foundations of Law (RGBUSBR001)
  • Intro Constitutional/Administrative Law (RGBUSBR002)
  • Introduction to Criminal Law (RGBUSTR001)

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.


  • Start date

    11 November 2024

    • Ends
      2 February 2025
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      3 Jun, 09:00 - 21 Jun 2024
    Enrolment starts in 4 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven