In 2023 (nearly 10 years after my PhD graduation) I was awarded the title of Master of Law (LL.M.; with distinction). The topic of my dissertation is very current and I will make it public soon. Here I write a few words about the studies.
For starters, it aligns with my prior works. I have a PhD in Computer Science, done in the field of privacy. Unquestionably, this field often intersects with social and political dimensions. As a result, I've consistently found myself engaged with technology policy in one capacity or another.
However, my involvement has extended beyond that scope. I've tackled intriguing challenges spanning privacy, cybersecurity, and cyberwarfare, areas that intimately intersect with the political and legal domains, including telecommunications law, data protection and privacy legislation, European law, and even international laws such as international humanitarian law. And, naturally, standardization. This confluence of fields played a pivotal role. An essential component was my Computer Science PhD research, which primarily focused on the issues of privacy and transparency within real-time bidding, a key element in programmatic advertising. Intriguingly, this technology was later exploited in various contexts, including cyberattacks, information operations, and disinformation campaigns. This unexpected alignment of my work meant that I would be deeply immersed in this field for over a decade. Stronger fluence in aspects of law is a useful ingredient.
The previous pandemic meant, among others, that essentially everything was being done remotely. Not amusingly, I found myself rather in a static place. These were the perfect time to validate and extend my skills and experience. So why not to benefit from the moment? I went for a law degree at the University of Edinburgh’s Law School. It’s a very good place, as measured by many higher education rankings (i.e. 15th in Times Higher Education World University Rankings for Law in 2023).
About the program
Naturally, my program was in Information Technology Law (or maybe: New Technology Law?). I studied some very advanced topics in Data Protection Law (GDPR, but also important context and background), European Competition Law (EU Court of Justice cases from ‘80s/’70s, a required reading, were surely unexpected), Forensic and Digital Evidence, Information Technology Law. But also Space Law and Policy, containing a very interesting background and context of international law (and international humanitarian law, with which I was very familiar due to my work). Some of the content during courses sometimes slightly overlapped, like data protection. But so is the current Zeitgeist and the needs of our times.
I highly endorse this program, although I offer a word of caution. The coursework can be exceptionally time-intensive, frequently involving hundreds of pages to digest each week. The reading material varies in significance, with some necessitating in-depth study and others lending themselves to a more cursory review. Engaging with this program demands strong motivation and a capacity for independent work.
My main motivation was to gain a deeper understanding of the legal aspects of technologies (i.e. data protection), enabling me to navigate the increasingly intricate landscape with confidence. These studies have greatly enhanced my knowledge, skills, and abilities. I can now speak with even greater confidence in the fields of technology policy and law. The LL.M. has broadened my skill set, capabilities, and future opportunities for engagement.