LL440E      Half Unit
Digital Rights, Privacy and Security

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Orla Lynskey (NAB 6.23) 


This course is available on the Executive LLM. This course is not available as an outside option.


This course will be offered on the Executive LLM during the four year degree period. The Department of Law will not offer all Executive LLM courses every year, although some of the more popular courses may be offered in each year, or more than once each year. Please note that whilst it is the Department of Law's intention to offer all Executive LLM courses, its ability to do so will depend on the availability of the staff member in question. For more information please refer to the Department of Law website. 


Basic knowledge of EU law is desirable but not essential for this course.

Course content

While the development of the information society brings about significant economic and societal benefits, by treating the personal data of individuals as a valuable trading commodity it also raises fundamental rights concerns. In response to these concerns the EU has recognised a “right to data protection” in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and is currently remodelling the legal framework applicable to personal data processing in the EU. Moreover, other key global actors including  the OECD and the US are currently discussing amendments to their legal regimes in this field. Nevertheless, there is little consensus, even within the EU, regarding whether, and how, personal data processing should be regulated in the information society. Indeed, some argue that given the exponential increases in the amount of personal data processed globally any attempts to regulate personal data processing are outdated, and even quaint.


This course will critically evaluate the current and proposed legal frameworks applicable to personal data processing. Participants will be introduced to techniques and technologies for monitoring and gathering personal data in the information society and the legal framework applicable to this personal data collection in a number of jurisdictions, including the EU and US. In order to bring key issues to life, a number of case studies will be considered, for instance the application of data protection rules to online behavioural advertising, user-generated content on social networking sites and to state surveillance.


24-26 hours of contact time. 

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one 2,000 word formative essay during the course.

Indicative reading

Newman, Protectors of Privacy: Regulating Personal Data in the Global Economy (Cornell UP, 2008),

Purtova, Property Rights in Personal Data: a European Perspective (Kluwer Law International, 2011),

Solove, Understanding Privacy (Harvard UP, 2009),

Mayer-Schönberger, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age (Princeton UP, 2009),

Bygrave, Data Privacy Law: An International Perspective (OUP, 2015).


Either a take-home examination or 8,000 word assessed essay (100%).

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills