3 credit/unit hours – Three hours of lecture weekly; one term

This course presents the student with issues of law and ethics in cyberspace. Topics covered include government regulation of online behavior, constitutional considerations concerning free speech and content controls, intellectual property, hacking, and the ethics of internet behavior. This course will explore the laws governing security breaches and responses to such breaches, and current United States case law and statutes governing the Internet.

Updated: April 25, 2023

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course the learner will be able to:

  • Discuss the structure of the legal system and how it enforces laws governing the Internet;
  • Evaluate the ethical responsibilities of Internet users, service providers, and content providers;
  • Examine the constitutional considerations concerning free speech and content controls in cyberspace;
  • Investigate a security breach and the legally required responses to a breach; and
  • Apply current case law and statutes governing the Internet to fact-based situations

Main Topics

1.0 Introduction to ethical theory and its application to the Internet

2.0 Overview of Government Regulation of the Internet

3.0 Government Regulation of the Internet: Select Federal Statutes

4.0 First Amendment: Free Speech and Content Controls: Child Pornography

5.0 Content Controls: Hate Speech

6.0 Intellectual Property: Overview of Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law

7.0 Intellectual Property: Software Ownership, Open Source, and Domain Names

8.0 Privacy Protection and Regulation: U.S. and International Laws

9.0 Privacy and Social Media

10.0 Ethics of Personal Privacy Online

11.0 Cyber Crimes: Software Piracy, Computer Sabotage, and Electronic Break-Ins

12.0 State and Federal Laws Regulating Data Breaches and Responses to Data Breaches

13.0 Tort liability: Cyber Bullying and Cyber Shaming

14.0 Current Events in Cyber Law and Ethics