Skip to main content


Undergraduate Module Descriptor

LAW3173: Technology and Human Rights Law

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

Module Aims

Living in a digital era offers many advantages for individuals and businesses alike. However, as new technologies evolve, a number of specific legal issues may arise. For example, are employers allowed to monitor employees’ text messages and activities on social media? Are states allowed to establish digital surveillance programmes based on bulk collection of personal data of all individuals in the name of national security? Is it possible to design privacy-compliant artificial intelligence? What are the legal avenues to rectify possible mistakes in the digital identification of individuals? Could big data, including social media data, be used for the protection of vulnerable individuals including migrants and victims of human trafficking? All of these questions and many more relate to the field of human rights law.


This module aims to give you the opportunity to assess how human rights law can tackle the issues posed by new technologies. The module aims to give you the necessary legal, theoretical and contextual background to understand topics such as privacy, data protection, freedom of expression, and due process in the digital age. Building on the case law of human rights courts, and in particular the European Court of Human Rights, the module aims to give you the opportunity to apply this legal knowledge to contemporary challenges. These include, for example, human rights obligations of technological companies, responsible innovation when it comes to artificial intelligence and automation, cybersecurity and the risks for human rights protection, digital identity and the protection of human rights.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the protection of human rights law in the digital space, in particular of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights case law on the topics covered on the module.
2. Demonstrate critical awareness of a range of social and contextual implications of technology for the area of human rights law.
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Integrate and assess relevant information from primary and secondary legal sources using appropriate interpretative techniques.
4. Select, synthesise and critically assess human rights normative provisions and their application by courts.
Personal and Key Skills5. Present, coherently and reflectively, orally and in writing, relevant legal and theoretical arguments.
6. Work independently, and manage time efficiently in preparing for scheduled learning activities, exercises and assessments.