LW3SSI-Surveillance, Security and the State

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Stephen Banks

Email: s.banks@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module considers the regulatory framework for the interception of communications, the use of DNA databases, the employment of CCTV and the implications of new technologies for rights to privacy in modern British society.

1. To introduce students to the regulatory frameworks overseeing the development of intelligence led policing. In particular to examine the interception of communications, the role of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and the available information on extra-legal interception.
2. To assess the arguments against and in favour of the admission of intercept evidence in criminal trials.
3. To consider the relationship between domestic legislation, recent legislation such as the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the jurisprudence of the ECHR.
4. To appraise the relationship between individual privacy and state policy and allow students to critically debate the issues raised thereby. Considering in particular, the use of DNA databases,
5. To explore the configuration of public space and the possibilities for restructuring civil society offered by new technologies such as facial recognition and movement prediction software in CCTV.
6. To consider the implications of personal profiling for minority communities.
7. To examine the implications of anti-money laundering legislation and electronic monitoring of financial transactions.
8. To consider the role of non-state actors in the acquisition of datasets and the potential use and abuse thereof.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

Identify the key legislation intended to regulate the gathering, storage and deployment of data and surveillance information garnered for the purpose of suppressing crime.

Evaluate and critically assess the operation of oversight regimes-in particular that headed by the office of Interceptions of Communications Commissioner- in offering public safeguards against unwarranted surveillance.

Consider the compatibility of domestic law and policy in this area with the developing jurisprudence of the ECHR.

Critically consider the debate over the admission of intercept evidence into courts of law and contrast the rules of evidence adopted in UK courts with those applicable in other jurisdictions.

Contrast and compare the effect of the Official Secrets Acts in preventing information from entering the public domain, with the intent and effects of the Freedom of Information Act.

Critically analyse recent legislation relating to privacy and security such as the Protections of Freedom Act 2012.

Debate the implications of personal profiling, the safeguards in place, the implications for policing policy and the potential implications for minority communities.

Consider the operation of the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and other relevant materials.

Assess the implications for rights of privacy consequent upon the acquisition of data sets by non-state actors.

Additional outcomes:
In addition to those listed in the School’s ‘core skills statement’, the module will encourage the development of:

High level communication skills that facilitate active and engaged learning,

High level writing skills through close and critical analysis of the relevant literature,

A sophisticated appreciation of the interplay between politics and law in the context of state security and individual rights,

An understanding of the contemporary controversies in the area of state power and criminal justice policy.

Outline content:
An introduction to the storage of biometric data: the power to take fingerprints and DNA samples. Removing records from the DNA database, government policy and the conclusions of the ECHR. Requirements to supply information- Criminal Justice Act 2003, Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 et al.

Routinised visual surveillance: public and private camera networks, the role and effectiveness of CCTV in fighting crime. National CCTV strategy. Use of CCTV evidence in court.

Personal communications, the interception of mail and the monitoring of telephone conversations. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, use/misuse of RIPA and the role of the Interception of Communications Commissioner. Admission of intercept evidence in court.

Internet and trans-national surveillance. Technological horizons-packet sniffers, government databases. The issue of extra-legal surveillance, GCHQ, Liberty v UK 2009.

Duties to conceal, rights to know. Official Secrets Acts, 1911, 1920 and 1989. Contrasted with Freedom of Information Act.

The profiling of offenders, the potential for discrimination and the impact on minority communities.

The regulation of financial transactions with particular reference to anti-money laundering provisions and routinized monitoring of financial pathways.

'Phorm', behavioural targeted advertising, Google and the use and abuses of metadata.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching will be through the medium of both lectures and seminars. Reading packs will be available but students will be expected to undertake extensive independent research (in particular to complete the writing assignment).

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 80 90
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
One essay of no more than 5 pages formatted in accordance with the School of Law assessed work rules. The essay to be chosen from a selection of three titles, to be set by the module tutors. This will count for 30% of the marks.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    There will be one, two hour examination counting for 70% of the marks. Three questions to be answered from a selection.

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Retake in August or September. Only the failed element(s) must be retaken with the marks for the passed element being carried forward.

    Last updated: 13 April 2016

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