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Unit information: Information Technology Law in 2020/21

Unit name Information Technology Law
Unit code LAWD30003
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Charlesworth
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 information and communications technologies, such as cloud computing, social media, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. 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 the Digital Age by considering topics, such as data privacy, intellectual property, cyber-crime, State surveillance and freedom of expression.

This unit will engage with the laws of England & Wales. Given the global nature of the Internet, this unit will also 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 multiple jurisdictions.

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 explain:

  • The complex body of laws which apply to innovative and emerging information and communications technologies;
  • The main theoretical debates about cyberspace regulation;
  • The role of law in regulating innovative digital ecosystems.

Students should also be able to:

  • State the law accurately;
  • Critically assess both theories and the law; 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

Teaching will be delivered through a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities

Assessment Details

1 x summative assessment: coursework with a specified word count (100%)

The assessment will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

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)