Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Human Rights in the Information Age
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. Recognise and evaluate the key theoretical frameworks involved in civil liberties and government control1. .

2. Identify and critically evaluate the key legislation which facilitates increased social control.

3. Demonstrate an appreciation of the concerns society has in accepting increased intervention into individuals' personal lives.

4. Evaluate the need for surveillance and monitoring in the control of crime, terrorism and other threats to national security.

5. Identify and critically evaluate the key methods used in monitoring and recording personal information.

6. Demonstrate an understanding of the balance between civil liberties and government intrusion.

Brief description

The module will outline the primary areas that have seen major development with regards to surveillance and the recording of information. In particular, the module will focus on issues such as CCTV, communication interception, and forensic databases. From a more theoretical perspective, it will also address the need for protection and the debate that sees increasing powers being given to government and criminal justice agencies from both a national and international perspective. Students will be introduced to the key elements of legislation and the major theoretical foundations concerning such developments, from both legal and criminological literature.


- An analysis of policy and the accompanying legislation which gives increased powers to the government and related agencies to monitor individuals and collect and analyse information, including the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act in the UK and similar developments overseas, such as the `PATRIOT? Act in the US and the Anti-Terrorism Act in Australia.
- Introduction to the key theoretical ideas surrounding government control, in particular, those from radical and realist criminological perspectives.
- Detailing of the various methods used to gather information, focusing on CCTV, DNA databases, electronic `tagging? and the interception of communications (incl. e-mail and telephone).
- A review of intelligence-led policing and surveillance procedures, and the inter-agency distribution of information and potential for abuse.
- Current and future developments, for example, the notion of `defensible spaces? (environments designed or adapted to control criminal activity), ID cards and the question of proving `identity?, and technological developments such as live-scan and mobile DNA testing.


This module is at CQFW Level 7