Policies of the Internet

Location: Pittsburgh

Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

Cross listed Courses:

Course Number Department Units
18-639 Electrical and Computer Engineering 12
19-639 Engineering and Public Policy 12

This course will address public policy issues related to the Internet. This may include policy issues such as network neutrality and the open Internet, Internet governance and the domain name system (and the role of the United Nations), copyright protection of online content, regulation of indecency and pornography, universal access to Internet and Internet as a “human right”, government surveillance of the Internet, Internet privacy and security, and taxation of electronic commerce. It will also teach some fundamentals of Internet technology.



Class format

Lecture and project-based

Home department


Target audience

MS and Ph.D. students in ECE, EPP, INI, and Heinz

Background required


Learning objectives

  • Learn about today's and tomorrow's most pressing Internet policy controversies, such as network neutrality, digital divide, content moderation on social media, Internet governance, bias in search engines and rankings, free speech, and copyright protection.
  • Learn about how Internet policy emerges from the interaction of different actors, including Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the United Nations, the Courts, multi-stakeholder groups like ICANN and the Internet Society, standards bodies, ISPs and Internet platforms.
  • Learn about how evolving Internet-related technology shapes and is shaped by public policy. 

Faculty and instructors who have taught this course in the past

Jon Peha