Skip to Content


Last modified: 31 May 2022 13:05

Course Overview

The course examines the regulation of biometric data and profiling in the European Union and the United Kingdom and it is designed in a way to assess the balance between the development of technology and the regulation process. It also deals with the ethical, social and human rights aspects of the issue, and it is aimed to develop innovative legal thinking which can solve the “privacy paradox”.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Patricia Zivkovic

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Legal Studies (Ma Honours) (LX)
  • One of Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5
  • Any Undergraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Technology has had a huge impact on society: It makes human lives easier to a large extent by providing them with multiple online services, quick access to information, multiple platforms for communication and work, and much more. It has its downsides as well, of course. Hacking, unlawful surveillance, and cybercrime are just some of them. What makes the society especially vulnerable with respect to consumers and citizens is the general social acceptance of sharing our personal data, e.g., on social networks, smartphone applications, and through other means, relating to our physical, physiological and/or behavioural characteristics (biometric data). This data-sharing can have severe implications on our freedoms and privacy, and this course is going to explore these implications and what lawyers can and should do in terms of the regulation of biometric data.


This course explores and analyses the development of the technology collecting, storing and processing of our biometric data, and the parallel development of regulation of these processes. It examines the role played by law in the protection of society and focuses on this current legal problem and the related ethical and social arguments. The main discussion will revolve around the issues of the “privacy paradox” phenomenon, the right to privacy, and in finding the way to strike the right balance in regulating this sector. 


Some of the questions that are discussed:

  • What falls under the definition of biometric data?
  • What is profiling?
  • In which ways is biometric data collected, stored, processed and used (misused, abused and re-used)?
  • Which ethical, legal, and social issues are raised by these processes?
  • What is the current status of regulation of biometric data in the European Union (EU) and in the United Kingdom?
  • Is the regulation effective at this level or should it be reconsidered?

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

2x 2500 word essay 50% each for LLB

2x 3000 word essay 50% each for MA


Resit: resubmission of failed elements

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandTo gain knowledge and understanding of the regulation of all special categories of personal data, with emphasis on biometric data.
ReflectionCreateTo communicate orally and in writing information, advice and choices in an effective manner.
ConceptualAnalyseTo develop a critical understanding of the approach of the European Court for Human Rights to the enforcement of the right to privacy.
ConceptualAnalyseTo develop a critical understanding of how regulators, legislators, and national courts approach the notion and regulation of biometric data and the enforcement of the respective rights and freedoms
ConceptualEvaluateTo analyse and evaluate the role of the legislators, regulators and courts in the exercise of the regulation of biometric data and the relation to the social and practical implications of the tech.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.