LAWS3131/JURD7331 Information Technology Law

Lecturers: Alana Maurushat and David Vaile

What is the course about?

There are few things in life anymore which don’t require one form of technology or another. IT Law looks at the interaction between technologies and law in two distinct fashions. First, we look at the interaction between technologies and current legal frameworks, noting aspects of efficiency and deficiency towards better policy-making for the future. Second, we look at the innovation cycle involved with technologies, noting legal requirements for the development of new technologies and how this might best be achieved. In doing so, we specifically examine how to embed law and ethics into algorithms and business processes.

Why does the subject interest you?
Technological development is something that I have been fascinated with since I was a young child.  My family always had the latest gadgets when they first hit the market at exorbitant rates like the first giant television with a built-in phone that you had to scream into to speak (imagine a smartphone weighing 100 kg and the size of fridge). We also had one of the first consumer home satellite dishes. All of these technologies required technical knowledge to operate which often included computer programming and knowledge of satellite orbital positions which my brother and I were left to figure out as kids. When I see new technology, the first thing I think is wow, I wonder how that works and then I go and figure that out. Adding law and policy on top comes much later for me.  

Do you have any advice to give to students who are interested in taking this course?
Be prepared to use your creativity, and step outside of the typical classroom setting as you will be going on excursions, hijacking your own apps and accounts, and you will be the master of your learning journey with us as your guides. For the most part, this is a self-learning course.

How will this course be relevant in the future?
Someone once said, ‘don’t teach me what to think. Teach me how to think.’ This course allows a student to develop skills on thinking how technologies, laws and policies should develop now and into the future.

Student: Michael Tran 

What did you enjoy most about the elective?
This elective combines a lot of the core courses into one topic and examines them from an IT perspective. The areas of law that you will cover include contract, negligence and patent law. You will be able to learn a lot of issues affecting technology and what your rights are as an individual. I really enjoyed revisiting some of my core courses and examining it in a particular sector. There are very few courses that do this so if you would like to see the law being applied in specific scenarios then this would be a good course to complete.

What did you find most challenging?
There are a lot of technical terms to pick up e.g. buffer, click wrap, overload etc. However, these terms are quite easy to pick up and you are not tested so much on what these technical terms mean. This course also challenges you to absorb three different areas of law in one semester. As you are just about to finish absorbing contract law, you will start on negligence. This can be tricky when it comes to the exam and being able to identify the relevant area of law to answer your problem questions. Despite this, I think this is good practice for aspiring young lawyers.

How will this course be relevant in the future?
With technological advancement, this course will allow you to understand some of the issues currently faced by corporations. Even if you do not end up working for a major corporation, the knowledge you gain from this course is useful in everyday life.