UCL Faculty of Laws


Privacy, Data and Surveillance Law (LAWS0338)

This course looks at the emerging legal regimes, power dynamics and social issues surrounding the growing use of data by companies and governments.

Module Description

Our connected world leaves it difficult for individuals to do anything without leaving data in their wake. This can reveal sensitive or private facts about a person, significantly reconfigure power relations, or even be used to coerce and manipulate. The governance of data, through legal instruments such as privacy and data protection law, is a rapidly emerging and changing area of law around the world, and grappling with it requires the synthesis of legal, technical and social knowledge.
This course will provide a solid foundation in informational privacy, data protection and UK surveillance law, and go beyond that to explore a range of emerging jurisprudence and cutting-edge social and technological issues in legal context. The focus will be on UK and EU law. Guest lecturers will provide an insight into how data and law meet in practice. As privacy and data law will continue to rapidly change for a long time after you finish this module, and the intention is that you leave with the toolkit and skills to analyse and understand these changes as they come.

Module Syllabus

The exact subjects in this module may change, but an indicative set of topics are:
•    History and theoretical approaches towards privacy and data protection
•    Data and information rights
•    Online tracking, social networks and platform power
•    Data in the workplace: employee surveillance, automatic hiring and firing
•    Law and policy around algorithmic systems and artificial intelligence
•    International data flows
•    Cryptography and the law
•    Bulk collection, interception and investigatory powers

Recommended Modules

•    Lilian Edwards (ed.) Law, Policy and the Internet (Hart 2019).

Preliminary Reading

•    Orla Lynskey, The Foundations of EU Data Protection Law (OUP 2015).
•    Julie E Cohen, ‘Turning Privacy Inside Out’ (2019) 20 Theoretical Inquiries in Law. 
•    Eleni Kosta, Surveilling Masses and Unveiling Human Rights — Uneasy Choices for the Strasbourg Court (Inaugural Lecture, Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 2018-10).

Key Information

Module information
Credit value:22.5 Credits (225 Learning Hours)

Dr Michael Veale

Other Teachers:Dr Tom Hickman
Teaching Delivery:Teaching for all LLM modules in 2020-21 will be delivered through a combination of pre-recorded and synchronous live teaching
Who may enrol:LLM Students Only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:

LLM in Public Law

Practice Assessment:TBC
Final Assessment:3,000 Word Essay (100%)