Information Technology and the Law
This information is for the 2021/22 session.
Dr Martin Husovec
Additional teachers: Dr Valerie Verdoodt and Dr Orla Lynskey.
This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.
This course does not require an in-depth understanding of contemporary computer technology – we are primarily interested in the implications of the use of information technology, and the intended and unintended consequences of regulating that use.
This survey course enables students to assess critically a selection of fundamental legal issues in the field of Information Technology (IT) Law. It begins by introducing students to key debates in IT and internet governance: do we need distinct legal rules to regulate IT? Who does, and should, control the Internet? Is the Internet a ‘neutral’ network, and should it be? Once students are equipped with this knowledge of Internet governance and the challenges this poses for the law, we consider how the law has responded to the challenges of IT and the extent to which legal issues have shaped the development of information society policy. This will be done through a detailed examination of topics such as online data protection, computer misuse, intellectual property and freedom of expression.
The focus will initially be on English law, although the global nature of IT law means that there are strong EU and US legal influences upon the English system. Therefore, comparative aspects will be introduced in places, and readings will include materials drawn from, amongst others, US law journals.
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Critically evaluate ongoing developments in law relating to IT;
- Display an understanding of how these developments relate to one another;
- Examine areas of doctrinal and political debate surrounding rules and theories;
- Evaluate those rules and theories in terms of internal coherence and practical outcomes;
- Draw on the analysis and evaluation contained in primary and secondary sources.
- An Introduction to IT Law
- Digitisation and the Information Society
- Regulating the Digital Environment
- Net Neutrality
- Intermediary Liability
Data Protection and Privacy
- Introduction to Data Protection
- The Application of the Data Protection Rules Online
- AdTech, Profiling and ePrivacy
- State Surveillance and Communications Interception
- Copyright Law in Digital Environment
- Digital Creatives
- Intermediary Liability for Copyright Infringement
- Computer Misuse
- Criminal Speech in the Information Society
- Policing for the Future: Legal Challenges
Emerging Issues in the Digital Economy
- The Emergent Legal Issues of the Sharing Economy
- Children’s rights in the Digital Environment
- Robotics, Risk and Ethics
This is an indicative programme however due to the fast changing nature of this subject, the content may be amended before term begins.
This course will have a minimum of two hours of teaching content each week in Michaelmas Term and Lent Term, either in the form of a two hour seminar or an online lecture and one hour class. This course includes a reading week in Weeks 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.
Murray: Information Technology Law: Law and Society 4th ed (Oxford: OUP, 2019) (Recommended for purchase).
Lloyd: Information Technology Law 8th ed (Oxford: OUP, 2017).
Lessig: Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace ver.2.0 (New York: Basic Books, 2006).
Suggested Initial Reading:
Murray: Information Technology Law: Law and Society 4th ed, Ch.1.
Take-home assessment (60%) in the ST.
Continuous assessment (40%) in the LT.
A summative essay of 3,000 words worth 40% to be submitted during Lent Term.
The remaining 60% of the overall mark will consist of a single take-home assessment question in, or immediately preceding, the Summer Term which students will be required to answer in 8 hours. This exam question will take the form of an extended practical case study. Students will be provided with specific guidance on how to approach both the portfolio pieces and the take home examination before completion of this work.
Course selection videos
Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.
Important information in response to COVID-19
Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.
Total students 2020/21: 91
Average class size 2020/21: 12
Capped 2020/21: Yes (105)
Value: One Unit
Personal development skills
- Specialist skills