LL4S4      Half Unit
Digital Rights, Privacy and Security

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Orla Lynskey NAB 6.23


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Regulation and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students and priority is given to LLM and MSc in Regulation students when allocating places. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou


Basic knowledge of EU law is desirable for this course. Students who do not have this background knowledge are advised to do some preparatory reading (2-3 chapters) before the seminar begins.

Course content

Personal data is an important factor of production in data-driven economies, and the processing of personal data can generate significant economic and social benefits. However, personal data processing can also have a detrimental impact on established rights and values, such as autonomy, privacy and data protection. As a result, legal frameworks to regulate personal data processing have been enacted across the world, with the EU legal model used as a blueprint. Yet, despite the development of such legal frameworks, critical questions remain unanswered. For instance, the objectives of data protection frameworks differ with some prioritising a fundamental-rights approach to data protection regulation while others frameworks are based on an economic free-trade rationale. Disagreement also persists regarding how the balance should be struck between effective data protection and other rights (such as freedom of expression and freedom of information) and interests (such as innovation and national security).

This course will critically evaluate the legal framework applicable to personal data processing. It will be do this predominantly with reference to the EU framework, as this has served as a model for over 100 other jurisdictions. Participants will be introduced to techniques and technologies for monitoring and processing personal data in the information society. In order to bring key issues to life, a number of case studies will be considered, including the application of data protection rules to online behavioural advertising and the right to respect for private life to State surveillance.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to contribute to a series of class exercises and to submit one piece of formative work for assessment. 

Indicative reading

  • Bygrave: Data Privacy Law: An International Perspective (OUP, 2015)
  • Kuner: Transborder Data Flows and Data Privacy Law  (OUP, 2013)
  • Lynskey: The Foundations of EU Data Protection Law (OUP, 2015)
  • Murray: Information Technology Law, The Law and Society (OUP, 3rd ed, 2018) 


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

This is an open-book exam.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 60

Average class size 2018/19: 30

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills