Data, analysis, and the law

We live in an era where data is fundamentally changing many aspects of society, including the law. Technological change makes it possible to collect data more easily and provides new capacities to search, aggregate, analyse, and cross-reference large data sets. The day-to-day work of legal practice is informed by computational tools that can help lawyers more accurately evaluate risk and predict outcomes for their clients. Courts make use of data analytics in sentencing decisions; policy-makers rely on data analysis to evaluate the likely outcomes of action and inaction. More broadly, the ethics and regulation of data has become a crucial issue in contemporary society, as data continues to become more and more important across many areas of business, political, and social life. This unit provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand data analysis and the ethics of data collection, aggregation, and use.
In this unit, you will learn how to analyse and think critically about data. You will learn the basics of statistics, probability, and logic that you will need in order to make and evaluate claims from datasets. You will use these skills to evaluate the effects of legal changes and policy interventions, and learn how to identify bias, uncertainty, and incomplete data. You will learn how to apply the legal rules governing the collection, access, use, and distribution of data. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to critically analyse the legal and ethical implications of data in contemporary society.

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