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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Information Technology Law (LAWS11163)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to key issues in the fast-paced area of technology law. We will consider a wide variety of hard regulatory questions posed by impacts of emerging information technologies. These systems are often changing, adapting, and shifting, meaning regulation in this domain does too. This creates a policy and legal landscape that is often in a state of flux but also gives us a wide range of case studies, examples, and legal frameworks to consider in this course.
Each week we will explore and analyse interesting questions about the socio-technical risks and harms posed by specific new technologies, the merits and demerits of different regulatory strategies, and the role law plays in shaping how these technologies impact our everyday lives.

The course engages with fundamental questions around how to regulate IT from ongoing debates over the past 25 years, since the inception of the field, through to cutting edge concerns.
The course brings together perspectives from a wide variety of areas of law including intellectual property, privacy, and data protection. It also explores a variety of jurisdictions, particularly UK, EU, and international levels. The course also situates these legal debates in their wider social context by introducing students to socio-legal, technical, sociological, and design aspects of information technologies.
We will cover cutting edge areas including online mediated work in the gig economy; governing machine learning and artificial intelligence systems; online platform liability and content moderation; data protection and privacy aspects of web and smart technologies such as smart homes; the role of cloud and edge computing; and strategies for addressing cybercrime and cybersecurity.
Course description Week 1 Introduction to Information Technology Law
Week 2 Regulating the Online Environment
Week 3 Regulating the Gig Economy
Week 4 Platform and Intermediary Liability
Week 5 Law and Ethics of AI and Machine Learning
Week 6 Copyright Online
Week 7 Cybersecurity and Cybercrime
Week 8 Online Privacy 1: The Law and Web Technologies
Week 9 Online privacy 2: The Law and Smart Technologies
Week 10 Cloud and Edge Computing
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the online learning team at
Additional Costs Students must have regular and reliable access to the Internet.

Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by one 4,000-word essay (80%); and one coursework assignment (20%).

The details of these course assessments will be provided to students at the start of each semester.

Feedback Students will have an opportunity to complete a piece of non-examined formative feedback too.

Details of the School's feedback policy will be available at the start of the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explore the wealth of legal issues associated with the emergence of new information technologies.
  2. Consider the wider socio-technical, social, and design contexts that intersect with legal aspects of IT.
  3. Examine the range of regulatory challenges raised through a series of contemporary use cases.
  4. Evaluate the adequacy of existing national, regional, international regulatory responses.
Reading List
The nature of readings in this course draws together literature from across computing and legal scholarship. It is updated regularly as this is a fast paced area of law. Some primer textbooks we engage with include Edwards, L (2018) Law, Policy and the Internet. Hart Publishing and Andrew Murray┬┐s Information Technology Law: The Law and Society.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of this course, you will be able to:

Be familiar with basic principles, sources and arguments relating to the regulation of information technologies;

Have formed critical views on the impact of existing legal principles on information technologies;

Have formed critical views on the extent to which new regulatory approaches should be developed to address and manage the consequences of new information technologies;

Be able to express and defend these views in oral discussion and in writing.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by online learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
KeywordsCyberlaw,regulation,copyright in cyberspace,online privacy,cloud computing
Course organiserDr Lachlan Urquhart
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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