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Unit information: Information Technology Law in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Information Technology Law
Unit code LAWDM0070
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Vranaki
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will critically examine the legal and regulatory challenges raised by the Digital Age. It will start by analysing the main theoretical debates about cyberspace regulation. It will then move on to consider to what extent law has successfully responded to the challenges raised by innovative and emerging digital technologies by considering various topics. These include piracy and file-sharing, Big Data technologies and data privacy, digital disinformation, cyber-crime, State Surveillance and artificial intelligence. Given that IT Law is a fast-moving discipline, the exact areas covered in each academic year may vary depending on their relevance to current policy, legal and regulatory debates in the field.

This unit will engage with the laws of England & Wales. Given the global nature of the Internet, this unit will often engage with the laws of other jurisdictions including Europe and America. Consequently, students may often have to engage with legal and academic materials from jurisdictions other than England & Wales.

This unit does not require an in-depth understanding of contemporary information and communications technologies. It is primarily focused on the legal and regulatory implications of digital technologies and platforms as well as the intended and unintended consequences of regulating digital ecosystems.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough and critical understanding of the fundamental concepts, theories and laws which apply to innovative and emerging digital technologies;
  • Apply the main theoretical ideas on cyber-regulation to explore digital regulation in practice; and
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of law in in regulating innovative digital ecosystems.

Students should also be able to:

  • State the law accurately; and
  • Identify and discuss potential solutions to the legal and regulatory issues raised by the Digital Age including the usefulness or otherwise of law reform.

This unit is also intended to improve skills relating to research – in particular, the ability to research legal issues and areas of law.

Teaching details

22 x Joint UG/PG lectures, 2 x feedback skills sessions and 10 x 2 hour seminars

Assessment Details

Summative: 2 x 3000 word essays (50% each) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. Both assessments will assess all of the Intended Learning Outcomes for this unit in the context of topics selected by the examiners.

Formative: students should do one formative assessment (this will usually be 1 x 1500 word essay).

Reading and References

  • Diane Rowland, Uta Kohl and Andrew Charlesworth, Information Technology Law (5th edn, Routledge 2016)
  • Andrew Murray, Information Technology Law: The Law and Society (4th edn, Oxford University Press 2019)
  • Julie Cohen, Configuring The Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice (Yale University Press 2012)
  • Helen Nissenbaum, Privacy In Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life (Stanford University Press 2009)
  • Chris Reed, Making Laws for Cyberspace (Oxford University Press 2012)