Please choose one of the prompts listed below and submit an essay responding to that prompt. Your final submission should be around 1250 words in total (±10%), excluding references.

  1. In recent weeks, the online world saw the controversial announcement that New York Times had purchased the beloved browser-based internet game, Wordle. Using this acquisition as a concrete example, critically discuss the concepts of antitrust regulation, intellectual property, privacy, and surveillance capitalism from modules 3 and 4, making explicit reference to at least two of Wörsdörfer (2022), Moore and Himma (2018), Landau (2020), Zuboff (2015), and Véliz (2020). Would any of the suggestions given by any of these authors have affected this acquisition? Explain.
  2. Each of Hadfield (2017), Wörsdörfer (2022), Landau (2020), Zuboff (2015), and Véliz (2020) offer suggestions for reforming legislation to rein in big tech companies. Describe, and then critically compare and contrast, at least two authors’ suggestions for new regulations that might be implemented, discussing (as appropriate) the concepts of antitrust, intellectual property, privacy, and surveillance capitalism. Then, discuss whether you think these proposals are likely to succeed. In your discussion, you should make explicit reference to at least one real-world example (i.e., concerning privacy, antitrust, etc.) from a reputable new media source, and you should describe how the proposed legislation might have affected the case that you chose.
  3. It was mentioned in a lecture that the United States Government is presently considering a set of new bills aimed at regulating big tech by updating certain components of anti-trust law. The bills are the ‘American Choice and Online Innovation Act’ (H.R. 3816); the ‘Ending Platform Monopolies Act’ (H.R. 3825); the ‘Platform Competition and Opportunity Act’ (H.R. 3826); the ‘Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act’ (H.R. 3849). Critically discuss any overlap between these bills and the proposals for new legislation offered by at least two of Hadfield (2017), Wörsdörfer (2022), Landau (2020), Zuboff (2014), and Véliz (2020). Do these bills capture any of the suggestions offered by the authors? If so, how do you think this will come to bear on the future of ‘big tech’ in the USA? If not, are the proposed bills qualitatively better or worse than the proposals given by the authors (in terms of their ability to rein in big tech)? Explain.
    • Note : Because we did not discuss any of these bills in detail in this course, this essay choice will require some external research and additional reading. A summary of the four bill proposals is given here: The Big Tech Antitrust Bills.

  4. It has been suggested that the GDPR has made surveillance capitalism more difficult. Summarise the key points of surveillance capitalism and the key regulatory mechanism of the GDPR, and then critically discuss whether this proposal is true (i.e., make an argument in favour or against this claim, citing evidence where applicable). You should also discuss the connections between privacy, and other regulatory mechanisms like antitrust and intellectual property. Finally, you should consider the proposal from Landau (2020) that the US courts / government are big tech’s ‘best friends’ in consideration of the following question: how do these insights come to bear on the efficacy of global regulatory mechanisms?

Your essay submission is subject to the following restrictions:

  • Do not include any identifying information in your submission. The essays will be graded anonymously.
    • Note : Including identifying information (name, banner number, etc.) anywhere on your essay or the file name will be sufficient for a penalty of 1 mark on your final grade for essay 2.
  • You should explicitly state which prompt you are responding to at the top of the first page.
  • As per the syllabus, you must have completed and obtained 100% on the plagiarism quiz prior to submitting your assignment. If the plagiarism quiz is not submitted, or a score of 100% is not obtained, then your essay submission will not be graded. In this case, the ‘submission date’ of your essay will be counted as the submission date of your plagiarism quiz, and the essay will then be subject to the late penalty policy outlined in the syllabus.
    • Note : You only have to complete the plagiarism quiz once. If you have already completed the quiz and obtained a score of 100%, you do not need to re-take the quiz.
  • The final essay should be submitted before 23:59 Atlantic time on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Extensions will only be granted if they are requested at least 24 hours prior to the deadline.
    • Note : Late submissions will be subject to the policy for late assignments, outlined on the syllabus.
  • You must submit the assignment through Brightspace. No emailed submissions will be accepted.
  • Your essay should be 1125-1375 words in length.
  • Your essay should be submitted in .pdf or .docx format.
  • Your essay should be double-spaced with standard formatting (12 point, times new roman or similar font, 1 inch Margins, etc.)
  • Any quotations or paraphrases of other people’s ideas must be properly cited.
  • A complete and properly-formatted list of ‘works cited’ should be included at the end of the document.
    • Note 1 : the ‘works cited’ does not count toward the word limit.
    • Note 2 : a properly-formatted citation for each of the articles in Modules 3 and 4 are given in the complete reading list on the course web page.
  • Your submission should be generally free of grammatical and typographical errors—i.e., you should spend some time editing before you submit. A few minor mistakes will not warrant a deduction in points; however, significant typographical and grammatical errors, which lead to unclarity in exposition, will be penalised according to the rubric (below).
  • A rubric for how this essay will be graded has been posted on the Additional Resources section of the course webpage. You should look at it before you begin writing so that you understand how your work is being graded.
  • You should take account of the feedback given to you by the TAs from your first essay.

A summary of the breakdown of points is given in the table below, but more details are provided in the rubric.

Thesis Statement 5 Points
Arguments: Inferential Structure and Consistency 15 Points
Arguments: Strength 15 Points
Consideration of Alternatives / Counterarguments 10 Points
Insightfulness, Creativity, Novelty 5 Points
Explanation and Analysis of Topic/Question/Problem 15 Points
Exposition, Analysis, and Evaluation of Others’ Arguments & Position 15 Points
Integration of Background Explanation and One’s Own Position 5 Points
Roadmapping 2.5 Points
Guide-Posting 2.5 Points
Structure 5 Points
Readability 5 Points
OVERALL 100 Points