HIVK03411U Information Ethics: Privacy and Surveillance, Elective

Volume 2017/2018

Most activities in contemporary information society leave digital footprints that together might reveal stories about people and their lives.  Many governments and corporations collect, analyze, and disseminate these digital footprints to gain insights into the behavior and affairs of its citizens and costumers.  Sometimes this creates a tension between the watched and watchers.  It can create tensions between the desire to gather and use private data and the wish to remain private.  Between the nature of public and private.  This course explores conceptual, theoretical and practical consequences of the rise of the surveillance society and the changed state of privacy.  The course introduces students to key concepts and frameworks that allow them to analyze and interpret surveillance and privacy situations and actions in a rigors manner and from an ethical perspective.  Students will be given opportunities to pursue their own interest in the area, e.g. surveillance and privacy issues with CCTV cameras, Facebook, Google, third party cookies, the Danish logningsbekendgørelse, NSA, censorship, big data, terms of service agreements, etc.  Students will after completing the course be prepared to engage in the formulation of information policies.

Learning Outcome

Competence objectives for the module

The objective of the module is to provide the student with

knowledge and understanding of:

  • A specific subject within library and information science.
  • Relevant theories and methods related to the module's theme.


skills in:

  • Identifying and outlining academic issues within library and information science and make these the object of independent analysis.
  • Reflecting critically on theoretical and methodological choices in relation to an academic issue.
  • Expanding on and putting a chosen subject field within library and information science into perspective.


competences in:

  • Applying relevant theories and methods to a subject within library and information science.
  • Communicating a scientifically studied issue.


Academic objectives

The examinee is able to

  • Delimit and deal with and issue within library and information science.
  • Give an account of central theories of relevance to the chosen subject independently and at a level that reflects in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subject's scientific methods.
  • Consider own theoretical and methodological choices critically.
  • Communicate a scientifically studied issue.

Examples of literature that will be used in the course:

  • Lyon, David. 2001. Surveillance Society: Monitoring Everyday Life. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

  • Nissenbaum, Helen. 2010. Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy and the Integrity of Social Life. Stanford, CA: Stanford Law Books.

  • Orwell, George. 1949. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London, England: Penguin Book. 

  • Solove, Daniel J. 2008. Understanding Privacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Seminar style class discussions
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 45
  • Exam
  • 120
  • Exam Preparation
  • 245,8
  • Total
  • 410,8
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)

Students will receive feedback multiple times during the course of the semester.  

Type of assessment
Written assignment
Examination language: English
Extent: 20 standard pages for an individual exam
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Vinter exam 2017


Februar 2018: Written take-home assignment, set subject. 10-15 standard pages with 7 days to complete the assignment.