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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LAW3032 Cyberlaw: Law and the Regulation of the Information Society

20 creditsClass Size: 160

Module manager: Dr Subhajit Basu

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is mutually exclusive with

LAW3031Cyberlaw: Regulation of Information Society
LAW3033Cyberlaw: Contemporary Issues

Module replaces

LAW3030 Cyberlaw: Information Technology, Law and Society

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The internet and networked technologies have changed the nature of our world as we experience it. So much so, that we are becoming an 'information society' in which the creation, manipulation distribution and exchange of information in its various forms has become a significant social, economic, political, cultural and legal activity. This module will examine the emerging trends that signify the formation of the information society and also its relationship with law, technology, and public policy. This module will cover UK and European Union law along with a variety of international regulatory perspectives that seek to harmonise law. The module will analyse the many legal and regulatory challenges that the information society generates for society, particularly with regard to privacy, the creation of products, the media. Particular focus will be upon whether these challenges can be best resolved by law or some other means, for example, technology, education or simple market forces. The aim of the module is to make students aware of the legal and regulatory policy issues which are intimately connected with the information society.


On completion of this module the students will be aware of the legal and policy issues which are intimately connected with global information society. The aim of this module is to introduce students to the legal challenges that arise from the population of cyberspace.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of the course it is anticipated that students should be able to:
- understand the essential the issues concerning the relationship between information technology applications and key legal principles;
- understand the concept of technology, and its application in modern life in the shape of the Information Society;
- critically evaluate national and international policies and initiatives concerning the regulation of the Information Society;
- critically evaluate on-going developments in the law relating to Cyberspace;
- conduct independent research within the field of information technology and law using appropriate research methods.

Skills outcomes
- Draw on skills developed in the retrieval, collation and presentation of information (communication).
- Draw on analytical skills developed in the comparative understanding of concepts (problem solving).
- Critically read and comparatively evaluate literature (learning to learn).


Introduction to the possibilities and challenges of the Information Society:
What is the internet and what aspects of IT have produced the basis of the EU programme dedicated to building an 'information society'. We look briefly at the technical side of the internet and the potential legal problems arising from the internet. We will also look at the wider attempts to build information societies for example the World Summit on Information Society:

Governing the Internet: Who should govern the (global) internet?:
Governance in cyberspace is a wide open area of controversy with much uncharted direction, obscure questions and many unresolved issues. How should cyberspace be governed? Where should the power of governance lie? Is it possible to adopt rules of governance which are acceptable to all users of the Internet?

Data Protection and State Surveillance:
In the Information society, personal data becomes a commodity. It is also the case that communication of information becomes enhanced - a private email can be quickly passed across the world. In this lecture we look at the some of the problems caused by these kinds of transformations of the nature of information. We also look at what is omitted from Data Protection - the needs of the State to observe its populations.

Privacy and Freedom of Expression:
In this session we look at attempts to legislate for privacy and its related opposite, freedom of expression. Europe is particularly divided on this topic and the US is even more divergent from Europe. What are the laws and policies that create the right of (and protect) privacy and freedom of expression in the Information Society?

The purpose of this lecture is to give an overview of e-commerce-trends as seen from three different perspectives. Law is influenced by both technological and economical trends. This lecture will set the stage by giving insight in the developments of a technology, economy and law that in a remarkably short time have changed the world we live in.

Domain Names and Cybersquatting:
This lecture explores what has become known as the 'real estate' of the internet, namely the domain names that form the basis of internet life.

One of the topics of recent development in the field of IT & Law has been the use of electronic platforms to connect citizen and Administration. In this lecture, we are going to look at the concept of E-Government, its nature and characteristics. We will also investigate legal regulation of E-Gov at the European level.

Defamation: Liability of ISP:
This lecture explores the debate over the liability of the internet service provider in cases of online defamation. It will look at the distinctive qualities of the nature of the medium which can give rise to defamation, it will outline the various positions in the debate over ISP liability and then then look at past and recent cases which inform legal opinion on the legal position of the ISP.

Issues in Developing Countries: How do we ensure equitable access to the Internet and technology?:
The purpose of this lecture is to provide an overview of technological and legal issues in developing countries. In theory, the Internet's ability to bypass borders and inter-weave world cultures was going to shrink the globe. In reality, Third World countries, faced with poverty, illiteracy, politics and lack of adequate communication infrastructure have to show remarkable dexterity to find out a place on the Internet. The hard, and perhaps unsurprising, truth is that despite some amazing end-runs by developing countries, experts say the gap between plugged-in and shutout is widening every bit as fast as the gap between rich and poor.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours174.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

The students will be expected in assessed work to argue for their position rather than list detail, and the marking of assessed work will clearly reward good and well developed argument, hence they will be required to carry out independent research and develop their own critical thinking rather than agreeing to opinion biased towards particular views.

80 hours - compulsory reading for lectures;
18 hours - seminar preparation;
76 hours - recommended reading, revision and writing essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The module will be assessed through 2 x 3,000 word essays.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000-word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2020 09:50:03


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