The Centre’s research looks at both civil and criminal law as well as governmental and organisational policy as they relate to information and communications technology. The Centre has a broad remit and is interested in topics such as:
- data protection, intellectual property and freedom of information
- misuse of private information and breach of confidence and privacy
- defamation and malicious falsehood
- open justice and access to justice
- internet regulation and governance
Since launching in 2015, the Centre has focused its research work and event activities on the following themes:
In 2015-16 the Investigatory Powers Bill, passed by Parliament in November 2016, caused much debate around balancing the needs of the police and intelligence agencies to access communications data in the interest of national security with the potential harm to citizens’ privacy and freedom from these data collection activities.
The Centre has been particularly interested in the relationship between human rights and copyright, the issue of intermediary liability for copyright infringement and the need to re-evaluate the position of copyright in the modern economic and technological landscape.
The emergence of an everyday digital culture and the increasing use of legal instruments by state actors to collect and access communications data has led to growing concern about the protection of journalistic sources and whistleblowers. The Centre’s research has considered what legal and practical safeguards are needed for journalists and whistleblowers in the digital age.
The Centre’s research interest in the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy lies in the potential impact on freedom of expression and academic freedom brought about by the enforcement of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. The potential clash between these civil liberties and the Act’s intended aim of safeguarding national security speaks to much broader ethical and legal issues facing liberal democracies.
The Centre is exploring two interrelated aspects of the humanity of law: the place of law as a discipline in the arts and humanities and the humanity of those partaking in legal processes.