Internet Politics and Power - 2016

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 3
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP3
  • Availability for 2017: SP3
  • Assessment: Assessment - Policy primer and commentary (40%) , Essay 1 (20%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

One enduring myth of the internet is that what we do there cannot be controlled. While this is not true, the internet does present new challenges and possibilities for regulation, producing new forms of freedom and constraint. In this unit you focus on the politics of internet power, via topics on censorship, privacy, security and harassment. You will explore how the internet is 'governed', considering technical, legal and economic reasons for regulatory decisions. Ultimately, you will come to understand how networked communications both create and challenge long-running political contests of freedom and control.

Further Information: List of topics is indicative and subject to minor change prior to the start of each Study Period.

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At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate understanding of the way the internet is experienced as a network of both freedom and control with reference both to social and technical aspects of the internet
  2. analyse specific internet events and occurrences to gain broader insights into the operation of power and politics in internet governance in a global society
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between sources of authority (public, commercial, political, expert, users) in internet governance and the outcomes of decision-making about the internet
  4. present arguments concerning the socio-technological character of internet politics
  5. make conceptual contributions to the development of policy and regulation for effective internet governance.
  • Assessment — Policy primer and commentary (40%)
  • Essay 1 (20%)
  • Essay 2 (40%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • NET23 — The Internet: Policy, Regulation and Governance

Mandatory prerequisites

You must have successfully completed the following unit(s) before starting this unit:

If you have completed equivalent study at another university, please contact a Student Advisor for advice.

NET24 is the same as NET204 and NET25 is the same as NET205.

  • Broadband access — Regular and reliable internet access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction: 'Who wants control?'
2Political censorship vs. freedom of speech
3Moral censorship vs. freedom of speech
4Privacy and 'terms of use'
5A right to privacy?
6Harassment on the net
7Introduction to regulation
8The architecture of connection
9Digital property and the network
10Governing the net
11Politics and power summary

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Audio/Video conferencing
  • Chat rooms
  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Web links

Print based materials

  • Welcome Letter

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Online Assessment
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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