How do governments influence effects of digitalisation, such as cybercrime and breaches of privacy? And how can governments make better use of benefits that digitalisation has to offer?
In the modern globalised world, privacy and security are two topics that do not lose their relevance. On the contrary, incidents demonstrate how they affect our daily life. This LLM programme discusses the need to protect the privacy of citizens online, the influence of the private sector and the effectiveness of law enforcement.
Our students have a variety of backgrounds. What they have in common is that they are interested in studying how governments deal with challenges of digitalisation. They use their background knowledge of the legal frameworks and governance structures in order to develop this interest.
Consequently, if you are a law student, in addition to your degree, you will need an understanding of governance theories and social research methods before you commence with the degree. If you do not have prior knowledge in this area, you can acquire it by following our online, premaster programme offered between February and May. A successful completion of this programme provides you with proven knowledge of these domains, making you eligible for this Master’s degree.
If you have a social science background, it might be necessary to develop a greater understanding of the law before the start of the Master’s programme. You can acquire this knowledge by completing the premaster during the spring semester. After successful completing the programme you have proven knowledge of the relevant areas of law, such as European and international law, and will be eligible for the Master’s programme. A similar premaster is offered for students of International Relations, which deepens the knowledge of governance structures and legal frameworks.
This master’s programme degree offers you current academic insights to develop knowledge about the topics discussed. In addition, by means of guest speakers, excursions, internships and research, you will gain practical experience with digitalisation issues in a public sector context. After this study, you will have all the necessary skills allowing you to successfully pursue a meaningful career in this highly dynamic and complex environment.
This master responds to an increasing demand of the labour market, since there is a great need for lawyers with knowledge of public administration to deal with the issues of digitalisation. As a graduate of this programme, you will be highly demanded by employers.
The LLM Governance and Law in Digital Society is registered under the LLM CROHO label Law and Public Administration (66461). Please note this LLM is taught at the University of Groningen Campus Fryslan in Leeuwarden (not Groningen).
The study responds to current events and the field of study is constantly evolving
After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the RuG, I decided to follow a pre-master to gain access to the master's degree in Governance and Law in Digital Society.
This master's programme appealed to me enormously, because the field of law is so topical. Technological developments are ongoing, more and more devices are being connected to the internet. Digitisation is ubiquitous and although there are advantages to it, there is also a downside: today's society has become increasingly dependent on technology, and we have to deal with new security issues.
During the year, several of issues were discussed. For example, different laws and regulations were discussed that have been introduced in the field of cybercrime and data protection. In addition, we have devoted a great deal of attention to the digitisation of government and government services, for example through the use of algorithms and automated decision-making.
The internship, which is part of the master's programme, allows you to gain practical experience and apply the knowledge gained from the various subjects in practice. In addition to an internship assignment, it is also possible to write your thesis for an organisation.
During my master's degree I gained a lot of knowledge about policy making and various laws and regulations in the field of privacy and cybercrime. Through my internship, I was able to apply my knowledge in practice and get a better idea of what I wanted to do after my master's degree.
I graduated in July 2019, but even before I was given a contract as a Cyber Trainee at the Dutch I-Traineeship. This traineeship lasts 2 years, during which I will work for three clients for 8 months periods. My first assignment is at the Lower House, where I am responsible for information security policy and security awareness.
I can strongly recommend the master in Governance and Law in Digital Society. The study responds to current events and the field of study is constantly evolving.
"The thing that appeals to me the most in the GLDS field is the fast changing world it deals with and the societal impact these practices can have."
I completed a bachelor in Social Legal Services and afterwards I wanted to explore the public law side a bit more, so I chose to do the pre master Law and Administration at the RUG. During this pre master I got to know of the master GLDS. The aspect of digitalisation in relation to law really intrigued me and since I was already interested in internationalisation, which in my opinion has a lot of ties with digitalisation, I chose to do this master.
The master GLDS gives you a lot of theoretical insight on different topics within the digital world. This causes the student to also have fairly broad knowledge on multiple topics. Not only do you gain theoretical insight, you also get experience on writing policy advices and get to expand your researching skills with the papers you write. Currently my work is focused on data management. Even though I do not have any technical skills, to for example make dashboards or do data analyses, the knowledge I gained during my master’s degree easily helps me understand what is happening within the organisation and also what might be needed to solve certain problems. On top of that it is very fun to see the topics you learned about in class come to live in practice.
The thing that appeals to me the most in the GLDS field is the fast changing world it deals with and the societal impact these practices can have. Digitalisation is changing rapidly so it is a great challenge to keep up with this and to make sure that it doesn’t do any harm to our society. I would definitely recommend the master GLDS since it tackles very important and current topics. On top of that the master gives you a lot of freedom to delve into the topics that you’re interested in so that you can write about something that you actually care for.
The master GLDS is located at the Campus Fryslân in Leeuwarden. I really liked this location as the building is located right near the city centre so you can grab a coffee nearby or just walk around the city. On top of that I met some great people during my team at the University, so that definitely might my time even more enjoyable.
Even before i graduated I got a job offer at the Dutch I Traineeship (Rijks I traineeship). This is a two year programme with three rotations of 8 months at different departments of the government. My first rotation is at the Radiocommunications Agency where my work focuses on data management and data governance.
If you are currently looking for a master to choose from, I would say that pursuing the master GLDS is a good option since it tackles various current topics and combines law with public administration in the fast changing digital world. If you are interested in learning more about societal impact of current changes in both law and digitalisation I would say that this LLM is a good choice.
Jorn Travaille , Netherlands, LLM in Law and Governance in Digital Society
Last year I graduated from the University of Groningen with a bachelors degree in Public Administration. I lived in Groningen for four years with great pleasure, but I thought it was time for something else.
My interest in the UG Campus Fryslân (in Leeuwarden) was aroused, because the university was going to offer master programs that deal with contemporary problems there.
I was looking for a study that would enable me to help solve social problems and involve my special interest in digitization. For that reason the choice for the master program Law and Governance in Digital Society was made quickly.
I have lived in Leeuwarden since September 2018 and it is a vibrant and cozy city. In addition, it was also pretty easy to get a nice and affordable apartment. I like studying at Campus Fryslân; there is a positive atmosphere and they organize interesting lectures with notable experts, for example former Secretary General of NATO Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Another interesting thing is that students in the LLM have different backgrounds, such as sociologists, lawyers, and safety experts. This multidisciplinarity presence in the classroom provides useful discussions which help me to develop a broader view on certain issues.
The programme provides insight into privacy issues, enforcement, and the policy process. I personally like the cyber security courses the most, because it is a subject that is currently developing very quickly within contemporary society. I get the feeling that I am studying something that matters, something that is in the center of political interest. For these reasons I would definitely recommend this LLM.
Starting my LLM programme in Governance and Law in Digital Society
When looking for an LLM program, I was looking for one that that I could tailor to my interests, as well as offer some working experience. During my bachelor's degree in International and European Law and my first master's degree in Global Criminal Law, I developed an interest in cybercrime and the problems it posed for law enforcement and I wanted to further cultivate this interest.
I was also looking for a master’s program that would help me expand beyond a specifically law perspective and provide me with a policy and governance outlook. I really wanted to build up some practical experience as I had already spent quite some years in academia and thus wanted to put some of my knowledge and skills into practice. This led me to the Governance and Law in Digital Society (GLDS) LLM.
How did you hear about the programme and why did you choose to apply?
I discovered the GLDS programme via Facebook. Prior to this, I was actually planning to do a different, second LLM that I was not entirely sold on. As soon as I learned more about the GLDS programme, I knew that it was exactly what I was looking for. Within a matter of days, I cancelled my enrollment to the other LLM, and applied and enrolled for the GLDS summer school and degree program. I look back very favorably on that decision. I ultimately chose the GLDS LLM because it was exactly what I wanted. I saw that the LLM was partially based on projects which provided me with an excellent opportunity to tailor such to my interest in cybercrime. The GLDS programme was also quite attractive to me because it involved many guest lectures from people who work in fields related to digitalization, there were several seminars, and there was the possibility for an internship. The internship was also a big selling point for me as this is rare for an LLM programme and it meant that I would not only graduate with a degree but also working experience. Lastly, the master’s provided me with an opportunity to branch out from my law education and dive deeper into how policy and governance play a role in the issue of cybercrime.
How has your experience been so far with beginning the programme?
So far, the program has been fantastic. I am currently working on a number of projects that fit my interests and am loving it. I am working on projects related to the enforcement of Dutch cybercrime legislation, predictive policing, and problems for law enforcement arising from the use of digital evidence. While I am working on projects related to cybercrime, my peers are working on other topics related to digitalization in the areas of finance, defense, government, and social media. What I have particularly enjoyed so far is the presentations given in guest lectures as it really gives you a feel for why graduates of this program are in high demand and an idea of the various organizations you can end up working for. Furthermore, all of the topics we have covered have been engaging and all of the classes have an interactive element.
What are you looking forward to in the programme during the upcoming academic year?
In the upcoming year I am especially looking forward to the internship placement. The internship I believe is a great opportunity to put some of our unique knowledge about digitalization into practice. Technology and digitalization are evolving at a very high rate and many companies are looking for students with expertise in the area of digitalization to help them navigate this high paced environment. I am very much looking forward to making my own contributions in that area and conducting research in the field.
- Lucas Haitsma, Netherlands, Governance and Law in Digitial Society student
A specialization for which there is a great demand in the market
As professor I am responsible for the Bachelor and Masters' tracks in Law and Governance. I teach within these tracks and carry out research. My research interests lie with the working of general and administrative law in practice and the functioning of the public sector and specific parts thereof .
My job gives me the opportunity to satisfy my curiosity about how legal arrangements work in practice. I find the workings of the public sector the most interesting because that affects us all.
This track provides a specialization for which there is a great demand in the market. Our society is digitizing at a rapid pace and that raises questions about the ways in which the public sector can and should react. In particular, issues of digital security receive a lot of attention – from security of financial transactions to security in elections, as well as public order and safety in the physical world, which is also influenced by developments of digital technology.
This is the right track for you if you are interested in problems at the intersection of government, market and society and in particular the consequences of digitization for the ways in which our society works and should be governed.
This is a track with a very interesting profile for the job market and an interdisciplinary setup that deals with current problems that affect all of us.
As an Assistant Professor I am involved in various teaching and supervision activities connected to cyber security, privacy and data protection
As an Assistant Professor at the IT Law Section of the Department of Transboundary Legal Studies of the University of Groningen, I am involved in various teaching and supervision activities connected to cyber security, privacy and data protection. In addition, I continue to carry out research concerning the processing of personal data by State and non-State actors and the issue of international responsibility for cyber operations. From the privacy and data protection perspective, it is rather problematic to learn that governments can engage in electronic surveillance of their citizens without taking into account human rights and freedoms of those who are being surveilled. The same concerns can be raised with regard to cyber activities of private persons and entities who cause different forms of harm to others but operate on behalf of States and together with them manage to escape responsibility. Therefore, it is crucial to stand still and think about not only the existing legal norms and principles but also their interpretation in the light of these developments stemming from the cyberspace and having a tangible impact in the physical world.
For the teaching in this program insights from the EU-funded “Cutting Crime Impact” are of great relevance.
I am Assistant Professor at the department of Governance and Innovation at Campus Fryslân, where I am also member of the Data Research Centre. With my background in law and philosophy I explore topics such as human rights in the digital age, security and surveillance in context of the rule of law, privacy and data protection, digital identity, as well as the use of digital technologies for governance purposes. I combine my teaching with insights from ongoing research on the use of state-of-the-art technologies such as predictive policing or blockchain applications. For the teaching in this program insights from the EU-funded “Cutting Crime Impact” project are of great relevance. In this project we collaborate with law enforcement agencies and security experts from the Netherlands and all over Europe. We research the impact of ethical, legal and social aspects on the design of innovative security technologies. Finally, for this master we frequently organize excursions to international and national institutions so that students get the chance to exchange with practitioners on relevant topics (e.g. dark-web investigations) and receive the opportunity to enhance their network.
Hi! My name is Lucas Haitsma, I am 23-years-old and half Dutch and half American. After pursuing my bachelor in International and European Law and then a first masters in Global Criminal Law, I am now pursuing a second masters in the area of Governance and Law in a Digital Society (GLDS) at Campus Fryslân!
Governance and Law in a Digital Society (GLDS) students study the challenges arising from an increasingly digitalised society. We examine the possibilities that digitalisation offers organisations, but also the social problems that arise from digitalisation and the role the public administration and law plays in solving these issues. If you are interested in what the day in the life of a GLDS Student looks like, then you are in the right place!
It is a Tuesday today in Block 1 – that means my class today will start at around 10.45 and finish at about 17.00
7:30 AM – Wake up
While some of my classmates live in Leeuwarden, I live in Groningen which means I have to commute to Leeuwarden on the days when I have class. I like to be at the campus by 9.30, which means catching the train from Groningen at 8.42 and being out of the door by 8.30.
8:42 AM – Train Ride
Like many of my classmates, I take the train to get to Leeuwarden. I very much enjoy taking the train as it helps me to structure my day. I will usually take this time to plan out my day/week, work on any assignments, or do any readings that I still need to finish.
9:15 AM – Arrival in Leeuwarden
Once I arrive in Leeuwarden, I walk 5 minutes from the train station to Campus Fryslân. Once at the campus, I walk through the sliding doors, disinfect my hands, greet the secretary, and head upstairs to find a study spot and keep working before class.
10:45 AM - Class – Policy Analysis
My first class is policy analysis, a project-based class involving a lot of discussions. This is one of my favourite classes of the block as it involves looking at real policy challenges related to digitalisation and thinking about the underlying problems in order to come up with possible solutions. This class is great and I like it a lot as it involves a lot of critical thinking and interesting discussions. In the class itself, we explain our policy problems to each other, our possible solutions and talk with each other to get feedback on it. In a multidisciplinary study, such feedback is incredibly valuable as it encourages you to think about problems and solutions from different angles and perspectives.
12:30 PM – Lunch
After the first class, I head to the cafeteria to get something to eat like soup or a sandwich. I will normally sit with people from class and discuss the material from class, work on any group projects, or just general chit-chat.
13:15 PM – Class – Policy Science in a Digital Society Lecture
After lunch, I head back to class. Policy science in a digital society is incredibly interesting as we discuss topics such as choices based on big data, automated decision-making and enforcement, and transparency. This class combines lectures from teachers specialised in these areas as well as guest lecturers from companies and governmental organisations. Today, we have a guest lecturer from a company developing AI technology who will be talking about AI and the societal implications of such technology.
15:00 PM – Quick coffee break
In between class, as people hit the afternoon dip, it’s nice to all grab a quick cup of coffee to spruce us up for the final class. This is a great opportunity to talk to classmates, teachers, and ask any questions to guest lecturers.
15:15 PM – Policy Science in a Digital Society Seminar
Seminars provide a fantastic opportunity for students to become the teachers of a certain topic. Each student gives a presentation related to one of the topics of policy science in a digital society. Today, it is my turn to give a presentation and I will be presenting about how AI is used by the Dutch police to predict where crime will occur. Giving such a presentation is a great opportunity to become an expert on a certain topic and share it with your classmates. The presentations always end up in discussions in which people of different academic backgrounds can share their opinions about the topic presented.
17:00 PM – Finish class and head to the station
After class, I talk to classmates for a bit and then head to the station to catch the train back to Groningen at 17.21. In the train, I will do some more work such as working on my Dutch and my programming skills.
18:09 PM – Arrival in Groningen and of the working day
I get back to Groningen at 18.09 at which point I will usually go to the gym before heading home to eat and wind down for the evening. My typical evening activities will consist of hanging out with some friends, having a drink, watching some series, or hanging out with my girlfriend.