MIS20070 Digital Society

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module is concerned with new data infrastructures and information technologies that forcefully impact businesses, individuals and society. Such technologies are the basis for Big Tech (the Facebooks and Googles of the world), new 'platform' economies, and the emerging ecosystem known as Web3. The power and pervasiveness of these technologies means we can now properly speak of a 'digital' society characterised by novel understandings of the state, market, business and the individual. The module provides students with a critical toolkit to analyse and understand some of the contemporary trends in this digital society. The module is divided into two parts: a broader first half and a more specific second one. The first half builds around the basic idea that information technologies have exceeded the confinements of businesses and formal organisations. In fact, information technologies are commonly part of global digital infrastructures rather than individual systems. Hence, the first half of the module addresses basic characteristics of digital infrastructures, their relevance for public and private interests, and the peculiar issues due to their global outreach and cross-jurisdictional nature. The second half of the module then turns to the evolving nature of cybersecurity, looks at the difference between white and black hat hacker cultures, explores contemporary hacks and exploits (such as phishing, malware, social engineering), and then considers ways to mitigate these threats.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completing this module students should be able to:
* Demonstrate a good understanding of some of the practices, challenges, and opportunities characterising the digital society.
* See companies and other organizations in the context of the broader digital society in which they operate
* Understand the role of technology in this context
* Assess the potentials and risks of technology in practice
* Understand the evolving nature of cybercrime.
* Be able to recognise the most common cybersecurity threats.
* Become familiar with the best tactics to mitigate contemporary cybersecurity threats.
* Demonstrate enhanced communication skills in writing and presenting
* Demonstrate enhanced skills in working collaboratively.

Indicative Module Content:

Indicative content:
Digital Infrastructures
Platforms and platform capitalism
Global information systems
Politics in the digital world
Crime and punishment in the digital society
Introduction to Cybersecurity
OpSec: Operational Security
Common Threats: Phishing
Common Threats: Malware
Case Study: HSE Ransomware cyber attack

NB: These themes may change.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Group work
Independent study and inquiry
Peer evaluation
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
MIS20030 - Business Information systems, MIS30100 - Information Management

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Group Project: Your task is to propose a "Good, Post-Capitalist, Web3 Venture”. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Examination: On-line examination. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam Yes Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Group project feedback: just-in-time guidance and post-assessment peer review. Inter-group and Intra-group peer review. Terminal examination feedback: Available as per normal university procedures.

Digital copies of all readings available through UCD library.

Background reading for the whole module:
MacCormick, John. (2012). 'Nine algorithms that changed the future the ingenious ideas that drive today’s computers'. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Part 1 of module
1) Digital Infrastructures
Bowker, Geoffrey C., Elyachar, Julia, Martin Kornberger, Mennicken, Andrea, Miller, Peter, Nucho, Joanne Randa, & Pollock, Neil. (2019). 'Introduction to Thinking Infrastructures'. In Martin Kornberger, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Julia Elyachar, Andrea Mennicken, Peter Miller, Joanne Randa Nucho, & Neil Pollock (Eds.), Thinking infrastructures (pp. 1–13). Emerald Group Publishing.

2) Platforms and platform capitalism
Zuboff, Shoshana. (2015). 'Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization'. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 75–89.

3) Global information systems
Walsham, G. (2001). 'Contemporary Society'. In Making a world of difference : IT in a global context (pp. 13–33). Chichester: Wiley.

4) Blockchains
Miscione, Gianluca, Ziolkowski, Rafael, Zavolokina, Liudmila, & Schwabe, Gerhard. (2018). 'Tribal Governance: The Business of Blockchain Authentication' (T. Bui & R. H. Sprague, Eds.; pp. 4484–4493). https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-152116

5) Politics in the digital world
Latham, Robert, & Sassen, Saskia. (2009). 'Introduction'. In Robert Latham & Saskia Sassen (Eds.), Digital formations: IT and new architectures in the global realm (pp. 1–34). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

6) Crime and punishment in the digital society
Lusthaus, Jonathan. (2012). 'Trust in the world of cybercrime'. Global Crime, 13(2), 71–94. https://doi.org/10.1080/17440572.2012.674183

Part 2:
Grubb, S. (2021). 'Cybersecurity for Beginners: A Hands-On Guide'. No Starch Press. [Essential reading for the second half of the module.]

PwC (2021) Conti Cyber Attack on the HSE.
[Essential reading for the second half of the module.]
Name Role
Dr Paul Dylan-Ennis Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Gianluca Miscione Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 13:00 - 14:50
Lecture Offering 2 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 16:00 - 17:50