IS30470 Technology and Human Rights

Academic Year 2023/2024

Our right to privacy, to protest, and to speak out about matters which are important to us are long standing human rights that predate the digital or ‘fourth’ revolution. However, new technologies including Artificial Intelligence, the Internet, and digital surveillance tools are presenting impacts, opportunities, and challenges for human rights around the globe. These impacts affect some populations more than others, particularly those who have been historically marginalised. Meanwhile, state governments are buying and deploying risky new technologies without adequate regulation while at the same time also struggling to regulate powerful corporate interests. This module will explore some of the opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies for human rights, how traditional human rights instruments are used in response, and the gaps between old advocacies and our new technological worlds.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will develop a meaningful understanding of:

1. The history, approaches and values contributing to human rights frameworks and the treaty bodies developed to defend them.
2. The role of new technologies in creating impacts, opportunities and challenges for human rights.
3. The mechanisms available and the creative logics to respond to human rights encroachments.

Indicative Module Content:

Human rights, in particular privacy, data proteciton, expression and assembly
Human rights instruments and mechanisms
Interactions between new technologies and human rights systems

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
critical research and writing
student presentations
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: An oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council in relation the impacts of new technologies on human rights. Unspecified n/a Graded Yes


Assignment: A written submission to the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to the impacts of technologies on human rights. Unspecified n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Thurs 15:00 - 16:50