LAW5620 - Privacy and surveillance in an information age: Comparative law perspectives - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Quota applies

The unit can be taken by a maximum of 45 students (due to limited facilities and method of teaching).

Unit guides



  • Term 3 2017 (Day)


This unit will examine from a comparative perspective, the legal and social issues relating to the protection of individual privacy against the state, the media, companies and other individuals. It will introduce students to comparative perspectives relating to the protection of privacy against intrusions and unauthorised disclosures, and relating to data privacy. In particular, the unit will focus on the challenges posed to privacy by new and emerging technologies. Case studies will be drawn from Australia, the UK, the European Union and the US.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • apply knowledge and understanding, from a comparative perspective, of the law relating to the protection of privacy, demonstrating sophisticated awareness of the theoretical and policy concerns underpinning privacy law and of the privacy threats posed by new technologies;
  • investigate, analyse and synthesise complex legal and policy issues relating to the balance between the right to privacy and other rights and interests, including the right to freedom of expression;
  • conduct research into issues relating to the application of comparative law and policy to the rights to privacy and data privacy;
  • use cognitive, technical and creative skills to solve complex problems relating to privacy, technology, law and policy.


Attendance requirement: Students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

Class participation and class paper (1,500 words): 20%

One research assignment (6,000 words): 80%

Workload requirements

Students are required to attend 36 hours of lectures over the duration of this semi-intensive unit.

Chief examiner(s)