The University of Southampton

LAWS3142 International Cybercrime Law

Module Overview

Cybercrime is one of the major security threats facing governments in the 21st century. Security threats in the online environment are multiple, and stem from negligence from businesses dealing with customer data, to criminals, ‘terrorists’, and even other governments. States are only beginning to grapple with the technical, legal, and social implications of this new environment, and as internet penetration and internet-connected devices are increasing across the globe, so too is the need for swift international legal coordination and cooperation. The focus of this module is on the international law applicable to this phenomenon, and is broadly split into two parts. The first concerns how cyberthreats can be defined and conceptualised. We consider various taxonomies for cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare, and how these are addressed and defined in law. The second section of the module considers how international law applies to cyber investigations and prosecutions. We explore the challenges and opportunities for such law enforcement endeavours, with an emphasis on international human rights law and jurisdictional rules. This ranges from the compatibility of mass surveillance with international human rights law, to dealing with jurisdictional concurrency in substantive criminal law (e.g. where more than one State can prosecute an offence) and procedural jurisdiction pertaining to the obtaining of evidence from foreign States, servers, or service providers. While there is a particular focus on international frameworks and harmonisation efforts (such as the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention and within the EU), the nature of the topic demands consideration of how relevant rules apply in practice, and domestic law – particularly in the UK and US – is drawn upon in order to inform analysis. This is a challenging module with a dynamic and evolving subject matter. Significant emphasis is placed on self-learning, enabling concentration on very specific topics and issues.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Offer an opportunity to explore the threat landscape and some of the security challenges posed with the advent of the Internet and its increasing role in our lives; • Examine the various forms of cyberthreats (broadly cybercrime, cyber-terrorism, and cyber-warfare) and applicable taxonomies; • Provide a critical understanding of the role of international law in regulating efforts to suppress cybercrime and related phenomena.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how cybercrime, cyberterrorism and cyberwar is defined and conceptualised, and challenges pertaining thereto.
  • how international law and human rights law apply to cyber investigations and prosecutions.
  • the multijurisdictional nature of the cyber security threat landscape and how international legal rules and norms can empower, but also constrain, security responses.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate practical and legal awareness of the nature of different cyber threats.
  • construct clear and coherent arguments about cyber threats under international law.
  • evaluate critically the application and suitability of international law in regulating cyber investigations and prosecutions.
  • assess the importance of international coordination and legal cooperation in the field.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • undertake critical analysis of material.
  • formulate reasoned and structured arguments in the form of essays.
  • communicate effectively, supporting arguments with appropriate evidence.
  • exercise time management skills.


International Cybercrime law is dynamic in nature and an element of flexibility must be preserved vis-à-vis the syllabus which must and will continue to evolve. Exemplars of the topics are given below, but these topics may change year-by-year, reflecting current developments and allowing syllabus evolution. • An introduction to International Cybercrime law • Cybercrime I and II • Cyberterrorism • Cyberwar • State surveillance I and II. • International Cybercrime prosecutions: material jurisdiction • International Cybercrime investigations: procedural jurisdiction

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be by one 2-hour lecture per week and one 2-hour tutorial per fortnight. The tutorials are intended as occasions for detailed discussion of specific topics within the broader areas covered in lectures, and you are expected to come fully prepared. Reading and questions for preparation will be placed on Blackboard in advance of each tutorial. Tutorials are also occasions for you to raise problems and questions and to obtain feedback on your progress. Teaching methods include • Lectures to provide knowledge and information within a structured context. • Small group tutorial work focused on the development of reasoned arguments. • Advance study and self-managed research is required for the tutorials and active participation required by all members of the group. Attendance at Lectures will develop • The structure of the subject and key applicable substantive principles and rules of law • Appreciation of constructive criticism of the law • Proposals for reform and development of international law as it applies to cyber threats Preparation for Tutorials will develop • Knowledge of the substantive principles and rules of the law; • Ability to manage and access a diverse range of sources of law; • Ability to critically evaluate those sources and participate constructively in oral discussions concerning them; • Ability to structure and express thoughts in a logically coherent way; • Time management and self-directed research skills. Learning activities include • Accessing electronic resources in the form of legislation, journals and case materials; • Directed Reading (as per distributed reading lists) • Reviewing and evaluating complex material; • Preparing and writing a formative essay and self-reflection on that process. • Formulating and presenting in oral and written form reasoned and structured arguments through formative tutorial activities and summative assessment.

Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Follow-up work10
Completion of assessment task20
Wider reading or practice10
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Murray, Andrew (2013). Information Technology Law. 

Manual, Talinn (2013). International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare. 

Roscini, Marco (2014). Cyber Operations and the Use of Force in International Law. 

Shackelford, Scott (2014). Managing Cyber Attacks. 

Rid, Thomas (2013). Cyber War Will Not Take Place. 

Clough, Jonathan (2015). Principles of Cybercrime. 

Walden, Ian (2016). Computer Crimes and Digital Investigations. 

Lloyd, Ian (2015). Information Technology Law. 

Chen, Tom., Jarvis, Lee., and Macdonald, Stuart., (2014). Cyberterrorism: Understanding, Assessment, and Response. 

Lessig, Lawrence (2006). Code: Version 2.0. 

Urbas, Gregor (2015). Cybercrime: Legislation, Cases, and Commentary. 

Glenny, Misha (2011). Darkmarket. 

Clark, Richard., Knake, Richard., (2010). Cyber War. 



Formative Assessment


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

The module does not carry any additional costs for you. The reading lists are drawn from materials already available in or through the University Library including electronic resources.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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