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iData: The Markets and Politics of Personalisation

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

The digital content we encounter is increasingly contingent on the myriad ways we engage with online platforms and services whether this be social media newsfeeds, videos on Netflix, recommendations on Amazon or search on Google.

The module will give you the opportunity to explore some of the fundamental disruptions brought about by big data industries based on the unprecedented quantification of the self and the algorithmic practices through which it circulates and is processed. Major debates surrounding social big data as it relates to the cultural, economic, and political dimensions of personalisation will be discussed covering key aspects and characteristics involved in the relationship between material infrastructures, digital culture, and personalisation.

What does this course cover?

Week 1: Profiling Machines—Personalising Big Data

The growing number of digital traces we leave and now being processed in countless different ways giving rise to new kinds of profiling and data personalisation. In this week, we will explore ways to understand the challenges brought about by the rise in profiling technologies and how to contextualise these disruptive transformations.

Week 2: Personal Data Economies: Is more transparency possible?

This week we will focus on two major social media platforms by considering some of the challenges and impacts of both acceptable and unacceptable profiling practices via automated decision making. In so doing, we will look at a few interrelated case studies that explore personalisation across advertising, politics and health-related sectors.

Week 3: Effective communication in a post-truth age

One of the liabilities of holding personal data is the legal uncertainties regarding its management and the inferences which have the potential to profile individuals. Given that so many companies now process personal data how do organisations and policymakers develop a more trustworthy relationship? This week we will focus on the important role of privacy policies such as the GDPR by considering whose responsibility it is to control personal data?

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Interpret the personalised digital ecosystem with a focus on the cultural, political, and economic dimensions of social data.
  • Examine and evaluate how digital technologies focused on data personalisation are disrupting organisations and the broader context of governance. 
  • Interpret the challenges and impacts of using profiling and automated decision-making.
  • Examine (un)acceptable algorithmic profiling practices in the areas of advertising, political advertising, and health.
  • Examine some of the key governance challenges posed by processing personal data.
  • Evaluate how organisations and policymakers are trying to develop a more trustworthy relationship.

Who will I learn with?

Olga Siemers

Olga Siemers

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module Creator

Dr Jennifer Pybus, Lecturer in Digital Culture and Society. Jennifer’s research focuses on the diverse ways in which our digital lives are being datafied, turned into social big data that fuels our increasingly personalised, data-intensive economy. More specifically, she’s interested in questions around youth and privacy which relate to how third-party ecosystems found on social media platforms, are transforming the advertising industry via the rise of data analytics and algorithmic processes.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:

Course closed

Full fee £950

Express interest

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