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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Information: Control and Power (LAWS11180)

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 will investigate, through a range of legal disciplines and perspectives, the growing focus placed on, and value attached to, information by society, governments, businesses and individuals; concerns as to its control and misuse; and the impact of this on all stakeholder, particularly in the light of the opportunities and challenges of evolving - and converging - technologies.

The course will consider legal regimes relating to:

1. The nature of power in a legal context;
2. the origins and objectives of information privacy and the role of (personal) data in the decision-making processes of public and private entities;
3. the extent to which present regulatory, co-regulatory and self-regulatory systems confirm to expectations in respect to information privacy and access to information;
4. the extent to which basic data, information and content is or should be protected by a variety of legal regimes, particularly in the light of new means of creating, obtaining, recording, sharing and exploiting that information/content;
5. human rights policy with particular reference to (online) privacy;
electronic surveillance, access to information and the conflict between freedom of expression and reputation and image rights.

A wide-ranging international approach will be adopted, with contributions sought from students in respect of their own jurisdictions.
Course description Week 1: Introduction to Information Law
Week 2: Information privacy
Week 3: Reputation and reputation management
Week 4: Data protection
Week 5: Freedom of information
Week 6: Online content: access and control 1 (Harmful online content and harmful online behaviours)
Week 7: Online content: access and control 2 (filtering, blocking and private sector enforcement)
Week 8: Electronic surveillance 1 - Interception and encryption
Week 9: Electronic surveillance 2 - Communications data
Week 10: Current issues arising in the context of information, control and power
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 should 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 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture 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) One essay of up to 4,000 words (60%); one written assignment (worth 20%); participation portfolio of contribution to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%).

Requirements for all course assessments will be outlined to students within the individual courses at the start of each semester.
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to obtain formative feedback over the course of the semester. The feedback provided will assist students in their preparation for the summative assessment.

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. assess the role of data in the decision-making processes of public and private entities;
  2. evaluate when information should and should not be recorded, retained, re-used or shared;
  3. analyse the extent to which developments in information and privacy can impact upon individuals and business, and the appropriate balance between these interests;
  4. form a view on the roles of law, human rights and ethics in the field of information control, and the implications for private, public and corporate interests wherever situated;
  5. assess when, if ever, and to what extent control of information should be possible and identify situations where rights to create, share and access information may conflict with rights to privacy and personal autonomy.
Reading List
There is no core textbook.

A detailed list of key resources will be available at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop their skills and abilities in:

1. Research and enquiry, through e.g. selecting and deploying appropriate research techniques;
2. Personal and intellectual autonomy, e.g. developing the ability to independently assess the relevance and importance of primary and secondary sources;
3. Communication, e.g. skills in summarising and communicating information and ideas effectively in written form;
4. Personal effectiveness, e.g. working constructively as a member of an online community;
5. Students will also develop their technical/practical skills, throughout the course, e.g. in articulating, evidencing and sustaining a line of argument, and engaging in a convincing critique of another's arguments.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by online learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
KeywordsInformation. Reputation management. Privacy. Data Protection. Copyright. Surveillance.
Course organiserMs Judith Rauhofer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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