This module is offered in 2023-24.


There is much interest in both research and the mass media about the potential effects of algorithmic decision-making and bias, with stories about manipulation of news feeds affecting elections, discriminatory adverts or search engine results, companies using big data to subvert regulators, and so forth. The aims of this module are to introduce students to the various ethical dilemmas that are arising in our “data-driven society”, with an emphasis on the ethics of using data science, data protection and privacy, and algorithmic governance.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should:

  • Be able to understand various conceptions of ethics and privacy
  • Be able to critically analyse research literature at the intersection of computer science, philosophy and the law
  • Be able to understand the effect of, and the source of, bias or discrimination in a data-intensive system
  • Understand the need for, and optionally be able to carry out, an ethical, social or privacy assessment of data-intensive projects


  • What is data ethics?
  • What is privacy?
  • Relevant aspects of the law
  • Consent
  • Algorithmic governance and accountability
  • Ethical machine learning
  • Ethics in practice
  • Research ethics

Compulsory Elements

This module has the following compulsory elements in addition to those common to all modules (mark of 4 in each assessment component):

  • participate in peer assessment activities

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Last Published: 14 Jun 2024.