Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Regulatory Issues and Computer Networks
Academic Year
Distance Learning

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Module Assessment  Written Assignment of 5,000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Explain the problems encountered in applying existing regulatory regimes to the internet and world wide web.
2. Assess the utility of a number of theoretical approaches to regulation as applied to the internet and world wide web.
3. Provide a critique of the `code is law? approach of Lessig and other scholars to regulation of the internet.
4. Critically evaluate the advantages of top-down and bottom-up regulatory methods by reference to the regimes currently in place for regulating privacy on the internet in the US and the EU.
5. Formulate alternative theoretical and practical approaches to internet governance.

Brief description

The module will focus on the conflict between two opposing views. The first view is that the regulation of `Cyberspace?, an apparently 'rorderless world? calls for a complete re-evaluation of the mechanisms of rule-making and that its decentralised nature renders existing institutional structures for such rule-making redundant. The second view is that existing legal rules are still capable of providing a suitable regulatory framework for Cyberspace. In particular, the module will focus on a number of theories of Internet regulation, the use of conventional legal and regulatory methods and a practical examination of the apparent conflict between the current regulatory regimes in the US and EU for the protection of privacy on the Internet.


1. The relevance of existing regulatory regimes to conduct in cyberspace
2. The nature of the medium and its impact on behaviour and appropriate regulatory frameworks
3. Rule-making in a borderless world; the theories of Johnson and Post, Lessig and other scholars.
4. `Code is law? and other aspects of self-regulation
5. A practical case study on top down and bottom up regulation ? a comparison of the existing regimes for privacy protection on the internet and world wide web in the US and the EU.


This module is at CQFW Level 7