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Dr Lachlan D. Urquhart

Dr Lachlan Urquhart profile picture
Lecturer in Technology Law

LL. B, Hons (Edin); LL.M IT & Telecoms Law, Distinction (Strath); Ph.D Computer Science (Nott).

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 7128

Email: lachlan.urquhart@ed.ac.uk

SSRN: Papers

View my full research profile

Background

I am a multidisciplinary scholar, trained and actively researching in both computer science and technology law. I am a Lecturer in Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh and 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 completed my PhD between 2012-2016 at the Mixed Reality Laboratory and EPSRC/RCUK funded Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham. I completed my LL.M in IT & Telecommunications Law at the Centre for Internet Law & Policy, University of Strathclyde during 2010/11, and I finished my LL. B in 2008 at the University of Edinburgh. I have worked as a research assistant at Strathclyde in 2011/14 and also worked at the Centre for Information Business Ethics in Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan in 2014.

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.

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 example domain I’ve been examining.

Current and Recent Projects

  • Co-I on the new £1m EPSRC funded ‘Defence Against Dark Artefacts’ project examining smart home cybersecurity from technical, sociological & legal perspectives. This is a collaborative project with the Universities of Nottingham, Cambridge, Imperial College London and a range of industry partners.
  • Co-I on a £50,000 ESRC Japan-UK Connections project on Emotional AI in commercial and security contexts with Bangor University and Ritsumeiken Asia Pacific University.
  • Co-I on the £90,000 Horizon/EPSRC funded ‘Memory Machine’ project on co-designing a memory preserving IoT device with dementia sufferers
  • PI on the £16,000 Horizon/EPSRC funded ‘Moral-IT: Enabling Design of Ethical Systems’ on developing card-based design tools for building ethical IT systems, which are now available here
  • Co-I on £8,000 UoN Digital Research funded ‘Ethics of Internet of Things in Research’ on new design strategies to manage risks of using IoT used in research

Prior to this, I was Co-I on a £30,000 UoN Research Priority Area funded project ‘About Algorithms & Beyond’ exploring aspects of algorithms and IoT, a £1,500 DEN funded project on 'Games & Human Values’ exploring how games can be medium of critique for wider societal concerns and a Horizon funded AGILE project on ‘Information Privacy by Design Cards’ with Microsoft Research, which was also funded for $175,000 in a US National Science Foundation partner project based at NYU.

Doctoral Research

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 that combined conceptual and regulatory perspectives with development of design tools (ideation cards) and empirical research (expert interviews, questionnaires, workshops etc). 

During this 4-year multidisciplinary programme, I completed a quasi-MSc including courses on science and technology studies, human computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, human factors engineering, business studies, geospatial information services, computer programming.

Twitter: @mooseabyte

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