Tell us a little bit about your background...
My name is Stephen Blythe. I am a lawyer and tech policy specialist from Glasgow, in Scotland. I have an LLB from the University of Glasgow, and an LLM from the University of Strathclyde.
What inspired you to further your studies beyond undergraduate level?
After my undergrad, I swore I wouldn’t do any further academic work as it was such a slog. However, it seems like I couldn’t stay away. Working towards an LLM in an area that I had always been passionate about seemed like a great way to expand my skills and qualifications to hopefully gain more opportunities in that field.
Why did you choose to study for the diploma in Internet Law & Policy?
Ever since I first got connected to the Internet with a 28k modem way back when, I’ve been fascinated with online culture, and how freedom of expression in particular manifested and was regulated. I wanted to specialise in that area specifically, and have more of a legal understanding of the various mechanisms involved, so the LLM was a natural step.
What attracted you to Strathclyde specifically?
There were a couple of reasons. First of all, the Internet Law program was well known and had a good reputation. Secondly, the fact I could undertake the course remotely meant that I could continue to work full time as well as study.
What was the highlight of your time on the course?
I really enjoyed looking at the question of intermediary liability, and the question of what role platforms should play in relegating speech online. This is an area that I’ve gone on to specialise in.
How has the course set you up for your current role/profession?
Studying for the LLM helped me deepen my knowledge of internet policy machinations, and gave me a solid foundation to move deeper into that area. I have now been working on the legal/Trust and Safety teams for some fairly notable online service providers over the last 7 years.
Did you come across any challenges during your studies, and how did you overcome them?
Balancing work with a fairly hectic schedule and devoting enough time to give proper attention to the coursework was difficult. During one especially busy period I actually even failed one of my submissions - the first time I’ve failed anything in my life - because I thought I could coast through on natural ability. That was a tough lesson to learn!
What did you think of the support available?
The tutors were great, with valuable insight - always quick to reply to e-mails or comments.
What would your advice be for people considering taking this course?
The course covers a host of topics and issues that are more relevant than ever. Don’t just give the answers that you think people will want to hear, but think about what the bigger picture is and what kind of Internet/society we should be striving for. Oh, and make sure you leave enough time to concentrate on the submissions properly!