Computing Law and Professional Responsibility - COMP6430

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Doug Santry checkmark-circle


The scope of the module is outlined below. Note that topics will not necessarily be delivered in this order:
Professional issues and professional organisations.
Data privacy legislation, and other UK laws relating to the professional use of computer systems.
Criminal law relating to networked computer use, including new Anti-Terrorism legislation; and their application
Intellectual Property Rights, including Copyright, Patent and Contract Law.
Health & Safety issues.
Computer-based Projects, including the vendor-client relationship and professional responsibilities.


Contact hours

Total contact hours (lectures and seminars): 30 hours
Private study hours: 120 hours
Total study hours: 150 hours

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
A1 – Written assessment (25%)
A2 - Group Case Study (25%)
Two hour Examination (50%)

Indicative reading

Bott F et al. (2001). Professional Issues in Software Engineering, 3rd Edition (ISBN 0748409513). Taylor & Francis.
Bynum, TW and Rogerson, S. (2006). Computer Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Blackwell Publishing.
Ethics for the information age M.Quinn Pearson ( 2014)
Langford, D. (2000). Internet Ethics. Pearson/MacMillan.
Spinello, Richard A. (2003) Case studies in information technology ethics and policy, 2nd Edition, Prentice Hall.
The Cambridge Handbook of information and Computer Ethics Cambridge University press (2010)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Possess an ability to appropriately understand and adopt techniques based on professional codes of practice and codes of practice of accrediting institutions.
2 Develop informed judgments about when specific actions are ethical and when legal.
3 Have a systematic understanding of basic legal processes.
4 Assess the impact of data privacy legislation on institutional activities, as well as being able to explain the basic aspects of computer law as it currently applies to IT in the UK.
5 Critically evaluate IT related health and safety issues.
6 Possess critical awareness of some of the potential legal and ethical problems of large IT projects.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1 Evaluate systems in terms of health and safety issues and legal responsibilities, with an awareness of possible trade-offs.
2 Communicate legal and professional issues clearly to specialist audiences.
3 Apply relevant codes of conduct and practice.
4 Have demonstrated a commitment to being a responsible member of the seminars, forum, groups and teams that they have participated in during the module.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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