CR6025 - Crime, Technology and Surveillance

What will I learn on this module?

This course aims to enhance the students’ understanding of surveillance, esp. the role of technology here, and their link to crime and social order. What is the meaning of technology and of surveillance in society? How do we conceptualise contemporary surveillance strategies? How have technologies been developed and used for such purposes? The students will reflect on such questions and engage with critical discussions from the fields of surveillance studies, science and technology studies, and social studies of forensic science.

Throughout this module, the students will be looking at different issues that relate to surveillance and crime control practices in an age of uncertainty; namely how contemporary surveillance strategies and technologies shape notions of identity and lead to (new/old) forms of inclusion and exclusion. By adopting a critical position, we will explore the impacts of a range of technologies in Criminal Justice settings and in societies more widely.

For instance, with the development of emerging technologies and crime control practices in a global world, we must critically engage with the notion of global surveillance and the various forms of technological innovation (for example, the process of border control and the use of biometrics). The module will also consider the wider significance of analysing the impacts of surveillance not only on specific criminal justice related-contexts (such as policing) but also on our everyday lives. This will help us to better understand the social, legal and ethical issues that arise with the use of surveillance technologies in different settings.

Module content will be updated annually in order to provide up-to-date research-led teaching and learning.

How will I learn on this module?

Through a variety of learning techniques (such as lectures, seminar discussions and guest presentations, as well as weekly seminar-based student-led reflections on key readings), this module expects to develop an open and questioning approach that allows students to critically understand the impacts of surveillance technologies in our lives. By promoting a dialogue between different perspectives, students will engage in group work and activities that will foster independence of thought and the ability to critically discuss and debate contemporary issues. Alongside lectures used to discuss more conceptual and theoretical topics, the seminars will require students to work as a group and engage in reflective activities. The tutor will provide a reading list ( and other learning resources via the eLearning Portal, and students will be encouraged to explore additional material from a variety of sources, including academic, popular culture, news media. You will be expected to prepare for and contribute to discussions focused on the impacts of surveillance technologies used for security and crime control purposes.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Students will be supported by staff via email, in seminars, and during scheduled office hours. There is also substantial support from your fellow students during seminars and outside of class via module working groups.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

Teaching will be by asynchronous lectures (each week a narrated slide show on the week’s topic will be uploaded to the module site on BlackBoard); and by interactive face-2-face seminars that require students to come to campus and be prepared for presentations and discussions based on the key reading provided in advance. Students will be asked to form working groups during the first seminar; the groups will endure for the entirety of the module/semester. The resources that students need for this module will be available in hard copy in the library and/or electronically. We will use key theoretical texts and will consider some examples of empirical research to support our discussions. Please, do not forget that you are expected to have read the relevant key reading beforehand (at the very least). You are also encouraged to read additional resources. If you read and prepare yourself, you will be better prepared to participate in the presentations and discussions and successfully complete the final assessment.

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. ability to critically understand the impacts of surveillance technologies in our societies
2. reflect critically on literature and research on technology/surveillance and its association to crime and social order

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. research and review literature and communicate appropriately and coherently in group discussions and written work.
4. ability to engage in effective academic discussion and present appropriate and academically rigorous arguments in a professional manner; present knowledge in visual and textual forms to make it accessible to wider audiences.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. demonstrate intellectual curiosity, flexibility and openness of ideas when analysing a specific topic.

How will I be assessed?

One assessment in two parts:

Part 1: A poster, using images, some text (less than half of the poster should be text), and basic poster design (ECA 50%).

There will be opportunity to do short self-guided training for poster-making (via Library Skills), and we will discuss poster making in a seminar, showing examples of good posters. The poster is expected to coherently address a contemporary surveillance issue and technology using visual and textual material.

Part 2: A 2500-word essay on a contemporary surveillance issue (ECA 50%).

Students should be able to present a coherently argued and theoretically informed discussion of the contemporary surveillance issue and technology presented in the poster. They will discuss it in relation to relevant societal, cultural, political, economic, cultural, technological and/or environmental factors. A list of key questions as guidance on content will be circulated by the module tutor.

This assessment addresses all MLOs.





Module abstract


Course info

UCAS Code C8M9

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with optional study abroad year

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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