That Blue Square Thing

Applied ICT A Level Unit 1 - ICT and Society

Note: this page applies to the AQA Applied ICT A level specification. This exam was withdrawn in 2012, with final exams in 2013. The content will be retained as an archive and because it has some stuff that might be quite useful for someone or other

Mobile phone imageBlock Three - Society, Privacy and the Law

This block deals with how the rapid development of ICT systems impact on people and our privacy. Laws have developed to both protect privacy and control the amount of information which organisations can hold on us, but also to allow governments to monitor us and our ICT activities. The key objectives are to:

ICT and Society:

The rapid development of ICT has created all sorts of new ways in which people can communicate and interact. It also presents dilemmas - what should be allowed? Who should be allowed to monitor our ICT activities and for which purpose?

It is important to consider some of these dilemmas. They provide an excellent way of developing the skills associated with presenting balanced arguments and justifying a point of view. A common thread running through many of the dilemmas presented here is apparent lack of control of our privacy which develops.

PDF iconICT dilemmas - presentation slides

PDF iconICT dilemma grid - a grid for completion

Word iconICT dilemma grid - a Word version of the same grid

You may be interested to read this Guardian article about the use of an ANPR/CCTV scheme in BirminghamExternal link icon. Things are sometimes more complex than they appear. I tried to be vaguely thoughtful about this in my blog as well.

ICT and the Law:

The rapid growth of ICT rich environments presents challenges for law makers. ICT can be used in so many ways by individuals and organisations - at times, as we have seen in the dilemmas above, in ways which may conflict with people's views or interests.

For example, the loss of confidential patient data by a doctorExternal link icon (September 2010) presents a whole range of legal issues - should the data have been encrypted for example.

The United Kingdom has a range of legal controls over the use of ICT. Some of these are generally accepted, others are more controversial.

PDF iconICT and the Law - presentation slides

PDF iconLegislation List - a list of the key bits of legislation you should probably know a little bit about. Note that the Disability Discrimination Act has largely been replaced by the 2010 Equality Act.

PDF iconLegislation Research Grid - to provide a framework for research on a piece of legislation

Word iconLegislation Research Grid - an MS Word version for typing into

PDF iconLegal Speed Dating Grid - as a way of recording legislation notes quickly. I use a 'speed dating' to make this a bit more interesting in class...

Word iconLegal Speed Dating Grid - an MS Word version for typing into

I've put some links which are probably Quite Useful up on That Blue Square Blog. Because I'm kind.

Why do you need to know this? It comes up in the majority of exams in some form. You might be asked, for example, to include a section in your newsletter or web pages to show "how one piece of ICT-related legislation could affect members of the organisation" or how "one piece of ICT-related legislation could affect (the) residents" of an area. To do this effectively you need to know a little about the wider legal framework in the UK.

An alternative way to go about this is using a single grid and doing all the research yourself:

PDF iconThe Legal Framework - a research framework

Word iconThe Legal Framework - a Word version of the same document for completion

Note: I'd add the Digital Economy Act of 2010 to this. You won't find this in too many books just yet though, as it's quite new!

Data, Security and Privacy:

Along with all that data comes an increasing need for security.

PDF iconAutomatic Number Plate Recognition - what risks to security? This task focuses on three key skills, including the production of a bibliography. You will need to use the bibliography guide to help you complete this task. As a starting point, take a look at 'Big brother' traffic cameras must be regulated, orders home secretary from June 2010 in the Guardian.

PDF iconBibliography Guidance - you will need to be able to produce a bibliography (a sources list) in your exam.

There are some notes on the Exam Prep page about the way in which the markgrid for this unit gives marks for the bibliography section. You might want to take a brief look at it to see why it's important to use more than one type of source and why you need to reference sources properly.

PDF iconSecure data? - presentation slides

Data Protection and the Law:

The Data Protection Act is a key piece of legislation. It protects individuals and provides organisations with a clear legal framework in which they need to operate. It is usually the easiest piece of legislation to use when answering questions such as those raised above.

You might want to start by looking at the BBC Webwise page on the DPAExternal link icon. Webwise is a pretty good place to look for many things associated with ICT developments.

Schools have to allow parents (and students) access to data. They have to publish a Fair Processing Notice which summarises data protection situation as it applies to school. These are sometimes difficult to read and can be confusing for parents.

I wonder how many parents (or students, or teachers...) fully understand their rights and responsibilities under the DPA?

PDF iconData Protection Act - a written task focusing on the application of the DPA to schools. The aim is to try to summarise in a sensible and understandable form the data protection situation with regard to schools.

PDF iconFair Processing Notice - Deben High School publishes their FPN as a web document. This may be a useful starting point for the task above

Note: this task is optional but one which it may well be worth having a go at at some point. The skills of writing for an audience and summarising legislation, and in particular the DPA, are key exam skills.