Dr Lachlan D. Urquhart 

Short Bio: “I am a Senior Lecturer (~Associate Professor) in Technology Law at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh; a Visiting Researcher and Founding Member of Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham; a Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, and an International Research Fellow at Universitá degli Studi di Milano. I was a visiting scientist at Fraunhofer AICOS, Porto, and a visiting researcher at Meiji University, Tokyo. At Edinburgh, I am co-director of the Scottish Research Centre for IP and Technology Law; Law School lead for the Centre for Data, Culture and Society; a member of Design Informatics; and a research associate at the Edinburgh Futures Institute. I have a multidisciplinary background in computer science (PhD) and law (LL.B; LL.M). My main research interests are in human computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, data protection and cybersecurity. I have been a lead and co-investigator on projects totalling over £6m from EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC, Universitas 21, Impact Accelerator Funds, and Research Priority Funds. I am Principal Investigator of the EPSRC £1.2m ‘Fixing the Future: Right to Repair and Equal-IoT’ project. I have published widely in leading venues in HCI (e.g. TOCHI, ACM Ubicomp, DIS, Personal & Ubiquitous Computing), law (e.g. International Data Privacy Law, International Journal of Law & Technology, International Review of Law, Computers & Technology) and ethics (e.g. Journal of Responsible Innovation, Philosophy & Technology, ACM Computers & Society). My work has also been featured in New Scientist, Wired and The Register. For recent publications and project activities see here. “

Longer Bio: ” I am an interdisciplinary scholar, trained and actively researching in both computer science and technology law. From 2018-22 I was a Lecturer (~Assistant Professor) in Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh and from Aug 2022, I have been promoted to a Senior Lecturer (~Associate Professor). I’m also a visiting researcher at the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, where I was a Research Fellow in IT Law from 2016-2018. I’m a core member of the Centre for Data, Culture and Society at Edinburgh and Director of the eLL.M in Information Technology Law.

I completed my PhD in Computer Science (HCI) between 2012-2016 at the Mixed Reality Laboratory and EPSRC/RCUK funded Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham. My PhD, entitled  Towards User-Centric Regulation: Exploring the Interface between Information Technology Law and Human Computer Interaction explored the role of technology designers in regulation using a mixed methods approach. This was supervised by Profs Tom Rodden and Lilian Edwards. Prior to this, I completed my LL.M in IT & Telecommunications Law (distinction) at the Centre for Internet Law and Policy, University of Strathclyde during 2010/11, and I finished my LL. B (Hons) in 2008 at the University of Edinburgh. I have worked as a research assistant at Strathclyde in 2011/14 and also in 2014, I was a visiting researcher at the Centre for Information Business Ethics in Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan.

My recent teaching has included: legal challenges of IT; eCommerce Law; Data Protection and Information Privacy; Controversies in the Digital Economy; Data Ethics MOOC. I’ve also developed a new course on Human Computer Interaction and Governance.

I primarily work at the boundaries of human-computer interaction, privacy & information security regulation, and computer ethics. I focus extensively on the technical, socio-legal, design, and ethical implications of living with interactive, ubiquitous computing (e.g. smart homes and cities, internet of things, affective computing, robotics etc.).

I normally collaborate with researchers from different disciplines, ranging from architecture and criminology to art and software engineering. An up to date list of my publications are available here, projects here and recent public speaking here. My work has been featured in the press too, namely in New Scientist, Wired UK, Mechanical Engineer, and The Register. “

Areas for Collaboration and PhD supervision

I’m interested in problem orientated research that explores the impacts of IT in society by going beyond disciplinary boundaries. In my own work, I have been influenced by human computer interaction, design, tech law, science & technology studies, computer ethics and surveillance studies. I often use empirical and design led approaches to better understand the challenges, opportunities and social practices around living with pervasive computing. This includes using focus groups, interviews, surveys, user centred design, deployment of prototypes etc.

A primary focus for me has been understanding the role of IT design and designers in controlling and regulating behaviour of users. I’ve been exploring different strategies to bring wider human values into the design process and to support creation of more responsible digital technologies. Unpacking the practicalities of ‘doing’ information privacy and security ‘by design’ for the domestic internet of things is one domain I’ve been examining.