Privacy & Security for User Communities Lab

Our lab centres on safeguarding privacy and security of user communities. We collaborate with researchers across disciplines, NGOs that support vulnerable and marginalised groups and victim-survivors, as well as digital safety advocacy.

Key features of our growing lab:

📢🔔 Currently Recruiting! 👩‍🎓🧑‍🎓📚💼✍️ 1 Postdoctoral Research Associate, PhD Students, Research Interns. See 👉 Opportunities


The Privacy & Security for User Communities Lab conducts research across three main themes:

Privacy, security, digital safety are often designed for majority or WEIRD populations, thereby not appropriately serving all user communities (minority, with specific needs, or life situations), and risk discriminating access and appropriate engagement, while also creating concerns for them. We focus on at-risk communities, such as women, queer communities and children for e.g. in online platforms or digital-safety for socio-economically deprived communities. The opportunities page further provides specific PhD/interns topics for this theme.

There are growing examples of technology originally designed to enhance quality of life being mis-used to facilitate abuse, online harms and in-security. We investigate a particular context of technology-enabled harm in intersection with the user characteristic or life event that amplifies the chances of being targeted or in experiencing online harms (e.g. gender, age, life style preference, health condition in the context of smarthomes, intimate health care or online platforms). We aim to understand the lived experiences of users, make recommendations and prototype for safer/harm-mitigating experiences. The opportunities page further provides specific PhD/interns topics for this theme.

We will add this info soon.

Members & Funded Projects

Co-Lead AGENCY £3.5 million EPSRC-funded, from Apr’22 - Mar’25: Assuring Citizen Agency in a World with Complex Online Harms, where my focus is on the lived experiences of online harms and harm reduction mechanisms among marginalised communities, across contexts of Smarthomes, Femtech, Online Abuse and Digital Identities. AGENCY is a research consortium including colleagues from various disciplines based at Birmingham, Newcastle, Durham Universities, Royal Holloway University of London and King’s College London.

Recent Members & Funded Projects

Students

Postdocs we previously worked closely with

A selection of completed funded projects

  1. Fintrust: Trust Engineering for the Financial Industry. Funded by the EPSRC. I focused on human-centred trust in AI, and worked closely with 3 postdocs to scope research and design user studies, as well as analyse and report data. (see postdoc section past postdoc members above).
  2. Digital Technologies Power and Control, where I looked into how marginalised communities in the UK experience security, privacy, trustworthy and identity technologies. Funded by SPRITE+ Network. I worked with social science colleagues from the Open University and Sheffield University on exporatory work and conducted a few user and stakeholder workshops.
  3. Revealing Young Learners’ Mental Models of Online Sludge, where I focused on young learners’ mental models of dark partterns online and inverventions to dispel misconceptions. Funded by SPRITE+ Network. Amongst various contributions, I particularly developed an analysis framework for analysing drawings from our participants, and contributed/co-led to the analysis/coding. I worked with colleagues from Strathclyde, Bath, Brunel, Bournemouth and Middlesex Universities.