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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).

Office hours:

Tuesday 16:00-17:00

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 7128


SSRN: Papers

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I am a Lecturer in Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh. I am also a visiting researcher at the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, where I was a Research Fellow in Information Technology Law from 2016-2018. I’m a core member of the Centre for Data, Culture and Society and Director of the eLL.M in Information Technology Law.

I am a multidisciplinary researcher, having degrees in both computer science [Ph.D (Notts)] and law [LL.B, Hons (Edin); LL.M IT & Telecoms Law, Distinction (Strath)] . I have also been a researcher at the Centre for Internet Law and Policy, University of Strathclyde and Centre for Business Information Ethics, Meiji University.

I primarily work at the boundaries of computer science (human-computer interaction), information technology law (mainly privacy & information security governance), and computer ethics.

I focus extensively on the technical, sociological, and interactional implications of living with interactive computing (e.g. ubicomp, robotics, smart homes & cities, social media etc.).

I often collaborate with researchers from different disciplines, ranging from architecture and criminology to art and media studies. My publications are available here, projects here and recent public speaking here.

I have been awarded grants totalling over £2m and I am currently working on a range of projects, including: 

- Co-I on a 3 year c £700,000 UKRI and Japan Science & Technology Agency co-funded project on Emotional AI in Cities: Cross Cultural Lessons from UK and Japan on Designing for An Ethical Life. This project is with Bangor and Northumbria Universities in the UK and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific, Chuo and Meiji Univerisites in Japan. The work examines socio-technical, governance and cultural dimensions of affect sensing technologies in urban life, drawing on a range of stakeholder perspectives.

- Co-I on a 2 year c£1m EPSRC funded ‘Defence Against Dark Artefacts’ project examining technical, sociological & legal requirements for effective management of smart home cybersecurity. This is a collaborative project with the Universities of Nottingham, Cambridge, Imperial College London and a range of industry partners incl. BT, Cisco, ARM.

- Co-I on a £50,000 ESRC/AHRC Japan-UK Social Science and Humanities Connections project on Emotional AI in commercial and security contexts with Bangor University and Ritsumeiken Asia Pacific University. See final report here.

- External Co-I UoN Impact Accelerator £9,500 funded Intelligent Ideation: Cardographer project.

- Co-I on the £90,000 Horizon/EPSRC funded ‘Memory Machine’ project on co-designing a memory preserving IoT device with dementia sufferers. 

- Principle Investigator on the £16,000 Horizon/EPSRC funded ‘Moral-IT: Enabling Design of Ethical Systems’ on developing card-based tools for building ethical IT systems, which are now available here.  

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, Co-I on £8,000 UoN Digital Research funded ‘Ethics of Internet of Things in Research’ on new strategies to manage risks of using IoT used in research; won 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 c£140,000 in a US National Science Foundation partner project based at NYU.

My PhD, entitled Towards User-Centric Regulation: Exploring the Interface between Information Technology Law and Human Computer Interaction was completed at the Mixed Reality Laboratory and EPSRC/RCUK funded Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training, supervised by Prof Tom Rodden and Prof Lilian Edwards.

During this, I completed a multidisciplinary portfolio of MSc courses including on science & technology studies, computer science, human factors engineering, innovation/business studies, geospatial information services and computer programming.

My doctoral research 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). 

Main Areas of Interest for Project Collaboration and PhD supervision:

1) Multidisciplinary research at the interface of human computer interaction and information technology law. I'm also interested in surveillance studies and science & technology studies.

2) Examining governance, design, sociological & ethical implications of living with ubiquitous computing different scales (from smart homes to cities).

3) Designing technical and creative solutions to address practical challenges in data protection and information security.


Twitter: @mooseabyte

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