Information Technology and the Law
This information is for the 2022/23 session.
Dr Orla Lynskey
Additional teachers: Dr Giulia Gentile and Dr Martin Husovec
This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BSc in Data Science 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 technology and internet governance: do we need distinct legal rules to regulate technological systems? Who does, and should, enact these rules? Are technological systems like the Internet neutral, and should they be? Once students are equipped with this knowledge of technology governance and the challenges this poses for the law, we consider how the law has responded to the challenges brought about by technological systems and the extent to which legal issues have shaped the development of information society policy. The course does this by examining the key issues under three headings: data; digital platforms and current challenges.
The EU has taken the lead in proposing and adopting regulations to address the challenges of digitisation, ranging from it’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the more recent Digital Services and AI Acts. Our primary focus will therefore be on EU law, although we will examine relevant developments and divergences in UK law and significant developments in other jurisdictions where relevant.
Aims and Objectives:
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Critically evaluate ongoing developments in law relating to technological systems;
- 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.
Internet Governance and Infrastructure
- An Introduction to IT Law
- Who Regulates? Questions of Jurisdiction
- What we Regulate?
- Net Neutrality
- Case study: Governing Cloud Computing
- Data Flows and Data Localisation
- The GDPR: Regulating Personal Data Processing
- AdTech and the Monetisation of Personal Data
- Legal Responses to Automated Decision-Making and Profiling
- State Surveillance and Facial Recognition Technology
- Intermediaries and Freedom of Expression
- Platforms: Global Models
- Copyright Law in the Digital Environment
- Online Safety Bill and Defamation
- Website Blocking
- The Emergent Legal Issues of the Sharing Economy
- Children’s rights in the Digital Environment
- Robotics, Risk and Ethics
- AI and Justice
This is an indicative programme.
This course will have a minimum of two hours of teaching content each week in Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. 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. This 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 assessment before completion of this work.
Department: Law School
Total students 2021/22: 74
Average class size 2021/22: 15
Capped 2021/22: Yes (75)
Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)
Value: One Unit
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Personal development skills
- Specialist skills