Module code: SOC2066

Module Overview

This module looks at the role of contemporary technologies within crime and the criminal justice system and critically engages with current thinking around the extent to which technology can be a ‘enabler’ or ‘facilitator’ of crime. The module seeks to develop critical understanding of the increasing role of technology within the criminal justice system – for example, forensic technologies such as fingerprinting and DNA profiles, ‘predictive’ technologies such as polygraph tests and neural scanning and enforcement/punitive technologies such as tasers. The module pays special attention to arguments that ‘technological fetishism’ may be undermining the autonomy of the justice system, with the result that ‘technological justice’ may be replacing due process and the rule of law, engaging with the increasing role of AI and automation within justice.

Module provider


Module Leader

SETTY Emily (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • 'Cyber' crime and crime involving use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs)

  • Bio-chemical crime and bioterrorism

  • Enhancement technologies and crime

  • Criminal (mis)use of technology by individual, corporate and state actors

  • ICTs and criminal justice including for surveillance, coordination and communication

  • Biochemical technologies and criminal justice, including for prevention, detection and prosecution of crime (forensic evidence, neuroscience)

  • The role of science and technology within the justice process

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation within the justice process


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Case Study 50
Coursework Policy Brief 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes through critical engagement with a wide range of scholarly material.


The summative assessment for this module consists of:


Case Study (50%) – 2,000 word case study of chosen example of technology crime

Policy Brief (50%) – 2,000 word policy brief of chosen example of technology used in the criminal justice system


Formative assessment and feedback:


Feedback in class on student inputs


Written feedback on assignment for assessment one will shape the preparation of the second and cohort feedback from the overall findings of the assessment will be offered in class and on SurreyLearn to all to further support preparation for the final assessment.

Module aims

  • Develop an awareness and familiarity with the new and emerging forms of criminal behaviour facilitated by contemporary technologies
  • Provide a theoretical context for the range of criminal activities which fall under technological labels such as 'cybercrime', 'biocrime' and so on
  • Consider the relationship between criminal justice, justice and the new social control mechanisms which depend upon technology

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Set out a framework for understanding the historical emergence of technology crime KC
002 Define what might be meant by the technological 'enablement' and 'facilitation' of crime KC
003 Critically evaluate the ways in which technologies infuse and inform the criminal justice process KCP
004 Identify and discriminate between examples of technological justice and the use of technology for social control KCP
005 Use evidence, theory and concepts to develop practical and professional solutions in relation to crime and technology KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to reflect key learning and teaching aims by:


  • Developing students’ in-depth understanding of conceptual and theoretical relationships between crime, technology and justice:

  • Indicating how such theories can explain criminal and control uses of technology.

  • Developing understandings of the human-technology interface regarding crime, justice and technology;

  • Developing key study skills that relate to employability.


The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Lectures and seminars

  • Class exercises

  • Class discussions

  • Independent study


Each session focuses on particular technologies and their use or misuse in criminal justice contexts. Sessions are split between lectures which aim to provide a broad introduction to a topic and seminars which aim to allow more in-depth discussion of key issues and case examples and to engage in practical exercises which enhance knowledge in more practical ways.


Each session has one piece of primary reading and/or engagement with additional materials (including media materials) which all students are expected to complete. Preparatory activities are designed to provide the basis for class discussions. Additional reading is strongly encouraged too.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2066

Other information

The School of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability – the module is focused on drawing links between contemporary realities regarding crime, technology and justice and empirical and theoretical understandings of and potential solutions to the issues raised both regarding the nature of offending through technology and the ways the justice system is using technology to administer justice. Students are therefore developing their understanding of current nature of crime and justice and will be able to offer evidence based and theoretically informed solutions in the work they go on to do. There are also opportunities for skill development through critical thinking, communication and perspective taking.

Digital capabilities – as well as digital tools used for teaching and learning, the module directly addresses examples of how technology is changing crime and criminal justice and offers empirical and theoretical insights into the developments. Students thus develop capabilities in understanding new and developing technologies as pertain to the discipline of criminology.

Global and cultural capabilities – we look at international dimensions to technology enabled/facilitated offending and international action/coordination in response to the challenges posed to law enforcement. Hence, students develop a critically informed understanding of the nature of and implications of the transnational nature of some examples of technology and crime and the opportunities and problems pertaining to law enforcement cooperation across borders.

Sustainability – the module addresses social justice dimensions to sustainability through interrogating how access to and use of technology and data is creating challenges for democratic accountability in justice and, moreover, how technology enabled/facilitated crime unfolds along social and structural lines and how to address inequalities.

Resourcefulness and resilience – students are encouraged to consider the topics in a balanced and evidence-based way. They are asked to conduct independent learning about areas and issues of interest and to show innovative thinking in their assignments including through selecting their topic focus for their assignment and linking theory and evidence to real world examples and policy recommendations.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Law with Criminology LLB (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.