IT Ethics Law- ICA Specification, Report and Presentation


Teesside University

ICA Report and Presentation

Assessment No: 1

N/A|IT Ethics Law

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IT Ethics Law- ICA Specification,  Report and Presentation


For this module you will need to write an investigative report of approximately 4 – 5,000 words (5,000 words is the absolute upper limit and words beyond this upper limit will not be marked). The layout of the report should conform to the “Guide for Authors” of the journal – Computer Law & Security Review.

The topic of the report is to be based on an investigation into an issue current (i.e. from June 2019 onwards) in the media that concerns both an aspect of information technology (IT) and/or computing and an aspect of English law. Examples from the past (which are no longer appropriate for you to write about as they are too old) would include:

  • The proposed introduction of identity (ID) cards. The ID cards were to be based on biometric technology (the IT part) but their proposed introduction raised issues of personal information privacy and security (the law part). The whole ID card issue has now been quietly withdrawn due to costs and so would not now be an appropriate issue for the report.
  • In early 2009 Facebook (the IT part) changed its terms of service to apparently grant themselves the right to control and use information posted by account holders for ever. This raised issues of copyright ownership (the law part). After an uproar Facebook reverted to its original terms and conditions. Again, because this issue has now been resolved, it would not be an appropriate topic for the report.

The above examples give an idea of the types of issues you can write about, and, as I’m sure you can appreciate your range of possible topics is quite large. I would recommend that you choose a topic that at the very least you are interested in, but ideally choose an issue you feel passionate about.

First of all you will need to identify an appropriate story or topic in the media (i.e. your “trigger article”), you will need to follow this story or topic over a period of time as the story unfolds (the two illustrations above of this are good examples of this). For your investigative report you will need to identify the economic, social, ethical and especially the legal issues at the heart of the story. Taking the identity card example again, the issues at the centre of this story were about security and rights of access (who could see your personal information) to the biometric data that would be collected. A number of important people raised serious concerns along these lines and these would be discussed in the report, an issue that many of them addressed was the adequacy of the proposed security measures proposed. The costs of the ID card scheme were also an issue (ultimately this is what led to the cancellation of the project) it would have been appropriate to mention these costs but the discussion of costs would not form the bulk of this part of the report. Discussion of these issues would also be contextualised within the legal aspects pertinent to the topic, for the ID card example this would involve discussion of some of the relevant articles of the Human Rights Act (HRA) as well as any protection offered by the Data Protection Act (DPA). Questions that it would be appropriate to address would be; does the ID card breach Article 8 of the HRA (a right to a private life) and are proposed security measures adequate (Principle 7 of the DPA) to protect the data?

You need to pose a specific research question as the title of your report and your subsequent investigation should try and answer your question. You should also make sure that you clearly answer your question posed as part of the conclusion to your report.

Examples of reports written by students from previous academic years are available in the ‘Resources’ area of Bb.


There are always stories appearing in the press and links to various sources on the Internet will be placed on Blackboard to help you. As well as this you are expected to work collaboratively to produce an organized resource of news items within a discussion board on Blackboard. I have already “seeded” the discussion forum with some stories that I have found, but everyone is expected to contribute to this. NB Any stories you post should have appeared after June 2019.

Your contribution must be relevant to the section of the forum you are posting to, be up to date, and not duplicating an older post, although 'follow-up' posts on the same news item would be highly appropriate. Contributions can take the form of a link to a website with a brief description of the site, a podcast or link to a podcast, a scanned (.pdf) file of a newspaper or magazine cutting, notification of a program (TV or radio) about to be broadcast, or a synopsis of the broadcast, a journal article, or details of a useful book etc.

Remember that your post does not have to be about the area you think you might investigate; for example, if you think you might write about an issue around privacy but you come across an article about copyright that you think someone might be interested in then you can post this. The forum should be about collaboration and mutual support.


In order to further help you in your ICA you are also required to give a short PowerPoint (other software can be used) presentation of no more than 10 slides (to include the title slide) on your chosen topic. This presentation will be marked but the marks will not contribute to your overall module mark. You will be given feedback on your topic and how you are approaching addressing the issues within it. You are encouraged to use the 'notes' feature of PowerPoint to include additional information. Although this work does not count towards your final overall mark you are strongly advised to participate in this as it will ensure that you are on the “right track” for your actual report.

If you wish to do your presentation before the scheduled weeks then please let me know.

Your presentation/discussion should give details of the following:

  • The title of your investigative report in the form of a question
  • What interested you about the topic, this should include details about your key media article i.e. the article that triggered you to tackle this topic.
  • Some the social, ethical and ad economic issues at the heart of your topic
  • The legal issues, legislation and case law that are relevant to the topic
  • References consulted
  • Brief plan to complete the investigative report

These dates should be considered as firm deadlines, and if you can’t do your presentation at the scheduled times you must ask your tutor formally for an extension and must have a good reason for requesting one, “I need more time” is not considered a valid reason for an extension by the University.

I will be using Blackboard to mark your work as you present your slides, so you will get your mark and feedback very quickly, but in order to do this you must upload a PDF of your slides before your session. This is very important as Bb simply will not let me enter marks unless there is piece of work uploaded. You will receive feedback from your tutor on your presentation/ICA outline and this will help ensure that you are “on the right track” for your ICA. If you decide, after doing your presentation, that you would like to investigate a different topic for your final report this may be acceptable but you MUST discuss this with me.


After receiving feedback from your presentation/discussion you should now be in a position to write your investigative report. Your report should be neatly presented and written in the third person. You should also ensure that you have referenced your work correctly in accordance with the University guidelines which can be found in: Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2016) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 10th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. There is a full copy which is available electronically at: or through the library website. If you use RefWorks this has been updated to include this style. Failure to conform to this referencing style will result in loss of marks. Or you can use footnotes as specified in the journal (Computer Law & Security Review) requirements (the journal will accept either footnotes or Harvard referencing). NB You must save your work in a .doc or .odt format (NOT a pdf please).

You should include a front cover with the module name and your name and student ID clearly identifiable. The title/question of your report should be very clear. You should also show your final word count at the end of the report and this should be in the range of 4,000 to 5,000 words. You should submit your work electronically via the submission area on the module’s Blackboard area, by 4pm on 6th May 2020. The usual penalties for late submission and plagiarism will apply.

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