Data Protection Law in the Digital Age

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
04 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Have you clicked on ‘Accept all cookies’ recently? Do you know what your consent entails; In the Information Age, the processing of personal data has become a central asset for the private and public sectors. Legal frameworks have emerged worldwide to regulate the processing of personal data to protect individuals, addressing questions such as autonomy, privacy, and the right to control information.

This module explores the legal principles underpinning data protection law and critically evaluates its application across several prominent fields (i.e., media, digital markets, government surveillance, and consumer contracts).

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To raise students’ awareness about the protection of personal data and critically evaluate the impact of personal data processing in the society.

  • To develop knowledge of the legal framework governing the processing of personal data and critically assess them.

  • To develop students’ understanding of governing personal data protection in key technologies, such as cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence.

  • To enable students to engage with the legal framework by applying the existing framework to a number of case studies, such as data protection in media, digital markets, and government surveillance.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to: 

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the legal framework governing personal data protection.

  2. Critically evaluate the current and emerging legal and policy issues and challenges in data protection.

  3. Demonstrate an ability to reach reasoned conclusions from complex theoretical or problem-based data protection law-related scenarios and provide advice and recommendations

Module information

The assessment will predominantly feature references to the UK and EU data protection law, while students will also be introduced to the other models of data protection level found at national (e.g., US law, Chinese law) and international level (e.g., Convention 108+). Students will thus be equipped with a comprehensive knowledge of different data protection strategies and policies that can affect legal transactions and society globally. The module will also equip students with a knowledge and understanding of how data protection law encourages better data management practices and raises compliance issues in different technological solutions (e.g., cloud computing and Artificial Intelligence).

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction to data protection law 

  • Data governance and management, including comparative examples and case studies

  • Data protection case studies, such as artificial intelligence and surveillance

Essential Reading

  • Peter Carey: A Practical Guide to UK Law (OUP 2020)

  • Christopher Kuner et al, The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): A Commentary (OUP 2020)

  • Graham Greenleaf, Asian Data Privacy Laws: Trade & Human Rights Perspectives (OUP 2014)

  • Lee Bygrave, Data Privacy Law: An International Perspective (OUP 2015)  

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via weekly 2-hour seminars.

Students are expected to undertake the reading before classes and be prepared to engage in discussion.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
20% 80%


Coursework Exam
0% 100%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Steven Peers, email: speers@essex.ac.uk.
Professor Steve Peers
01206 874461 Email: hmilburn (non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 22 hours, 22 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Law School

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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