SSN Outstanding Achievement Award 2024

Congratulations Professor Charles Raab!

Congratulations to Professor Charles Raab who has been awarded the Surveillance Studies Network Outstanding Achievement Award for 2024!

Charles Raab is Professor Emeritus in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh, having been made Professor of Government 1999. His contributions to surveillance studies have been remarkable. A political scientist and public policy specialist, from the 1980s he worked on information policy, including surveillance, privacy and data protection, whilst also pursuing a long research career focusing on education policy.

Charles’ extraordinary intellect is always accompanied by an irrepressible curiosity, an unrivalled attention to the detail of argumentation and logic as well as an incredible sense of fun.

Charles’ contributions to surveillance studies have been both scholarly and collegiate. He has produced a very large number of publications and was writing about data protection in the context of eGovernment from the mid 1990s on. His collaborators around that time include Professor John Taylor, Professor Perri 6 and Professor Christine Bellamy. He also co-authored with Professor Colin Bennett on issues concerning the regulation of privacy, leading to their groundbreaking book, The Governance of Privacy which ran to two editions in 2003 and 2006 .

He was involved in the foundation of Surveillance Studies Network and was one of the early Directors. He contributed the regulatory chapter of the influential Report on the Surveillance Society in 2006 and its subsequent update in 2010. He has worked on many of the research projects which have shaped our field in Europe and Canada: these include The New Transparency (SSHRC), Living in Surveillance Societies (EU-COST), Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies (IRISS – EU Framework 7), Privacy and Security Mirrors (PRISMS – EU Framework 7) and more recently PATH-AI (ESRC), which compared Japanese and British approaches to privacy, agency and trust in human-AI ecosystems. The proliferation of these research projects focusing on surveillance led him in 2012 to co-found the Centre for Research into Information Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP) with Kirstie Ball and William Webster. At the same time, he and William Webster co-founded the Scottish Privacy Forum with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office in Scotland.

Charles’ influence extends far beyond academia. He is highly respected in the data protection practitioner and policy-making communities, and has played a prominent part in the annual conference on Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP). His expertise has also been recognised by visiting positions at leading Universities. including the Oxford Internet Institute and the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society, among others. He was a Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, where he co-chairs the Data Ethics Group.

Charles has held many advisory positions in government concerning ethical and privacy dimensions of information practices. Most notably, in 2007 he was appointed Specialist Adviser to the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution which resulted in the 2009 report, Surveillance:, Citizens and the State. He has advised Liberty, the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, the New Zealand Law Commission, the UK’s Identity and Passport Service and Cabinet Office. He is currently a member of the Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group within the UK Home Office, and in Scotland, he advises on the ethics of policing, and on digital identification systems.

Professor Charles Raab was nominated by Professor Kirstie Ball, University of St Andrews, and Professor William Webster, University of Stirling.

Further information about the Surveillance Studies Network Outstanding Achievement Award can be found here.