Author Archives: Hayley Watson

IRISS features at the Pre-CPDP 2015 Privacy Camp on Big Data and Ever Increasing State Surveillance

For further information, please see the following link:

IRISS Synthesis report on citizens’ attitudes towards surveillance – Now available!!

IRISS Deliverable 4.2 “Conduct the observation/interviews: Doing privacy in everyday encounters with surveillance - Local reports on the results of the empirical studies conducted in different countries (Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Italy, UK)” is now available.

IRISS at CPDP 2015 – mark your diary!


IRISS at CPDP 2015 – mark your diary!

There will be several IRISS-related activities at CPDP 2015. There are four key events on the conference agenda:

A Pre-CPDP Privacy Camp – Big data and ever increasing state surveillance: What are the challenges for human rights online?

Date and time: 20 January 2015

Venue: Université Saint Louis: rue du Marais 119, Brussels

IRISS roundtable meeting (by invitation only)

Date and time: 23 January 2015, 8.00-10.00 am

Venue: Petite Halle


Date and time: 23 January 2015, 10.30-11.45

Venue: Maison des Arts

Chair: Rocco Bellanova, PRIO (NOR)

Moderator: Kristie Ball, Open University (UK)

Panel: Hågen Thomas Ljøgodt, Datatilsynet (NOR), Keith Spiller, Open University (UK)


Date and time: 23 January 2015, 11.45-13.00

Venue: Maison des Arts

Chair: TBC

Moderator: Reinhard Kreissl, IRKS (AT)

Panel: James Maddan, UK Neighbourhood Watch (UK), Alexander Neumann, IRKS (AT), Joachim Kersten, German Police University (DE)

Computers, Privacy & Data Protection 2015: Data Protection on the Move

Date: 21-23 January 2015 Place: Brussels, Belgium

CPDP offers the cutting edge in legal, regulatory, academic and technological development in privacy and data protection. Within an atmosphere of independence and mutual respect, CPDP gathers academics, lawyers, practitioners, policy-makers, computer scientists and civil society from all over the world to exchange ideas and discuss the latest emerging issues and trends. This unique multidisciplinary formula has served to make CPDP one of the leading data protection and privacy conferences in Europe and around the world. The panels of CPDP2015 will focus on key issues that cover all current debates: the data protection reform in the EU: European and Global developments, mobility (mobile technologies, wearable technologies, border surveillance), EU-US developments concerning the regulation of government surveillance, e-health, love and lust in the digital age, internet governance and privacy, and much, much more.

For more information and registration:

Follow CPDP on Facebook (CPDPconferencesBrussels) and Twitter (@cpdpconferences).



Three EC-funded projects on surveillance joined together in convening a conference of policy-makers, law enforcement agencies, academia, industry, civil society and the media to examine surveillance technologies and practices in use in Europe today and their impact on human rights.

The event was called DEMOSEC: Democracy and Security and was sponsored by the IRISS, RESPECT and SURVEILLE projects. It took place in Brussels from 29-30 October 2014.

The event, with its focus on technological, legal and social implications of surveillance, was attended by 155 participants from a large number of European countries, Australia, Mexico, Singapore and the USA.

US privacy expert Helen Nissenbaum from New York University argued that surveillance can only be properly evaluated against a richly articulated context. A right to be forgotten is not meaningful unless details are spelled out: what information, by whom, about whom, and so forth. In contrast, Paul Nemitz, Director of Fundamental Rights and Citizenship from the European Commission’s Directorate General Justice, upheld the EU approach to surveillance issues and EU law. He said that the right to be forgotten represents the right answer of the EU to tackle the surveillance power of big corporations effectively.

Panels specifically focussed on the use of surveillance technologies in society, reconciling human rights protection and security, data retention and fundamental rights, targeted use of surveillance technologies to control individuals considered dangerous, role of law enforcement agencies in surveillance, resilience and democracy, the intersection of surveillance with citizens’ rights, citizen’s attitudes towards surveillance.

The conference addressed key themes and messages including the following:

  • Asymmetries of power and erosion of trust in society
  • The futility of the privacy-security trade-off
  • Shaping of public perception in an uncontrollable way by surveillance players
  • Development and reinforcement of feelings of ambivalence towards surveillance
  • An increase in privacy labours, i.e., efforts necessary to actively maintain one’s private sphere
  • Lack of independent evidence about the effectiveness of surveillance technologies such as CCTV, ANPR and biometric databases
  • Fear is not the best guide in developing security policies
  • Inconsistency and lacuna in the regulation of surveillance technologies and insufficient powers and resources of oversight bodies
  • Ethical risks in the use of surveillance technologies include moral risk of errors, intrusion, discrimination, damage to trust, chilling effects, disproportionality
  • The need to challenge the political equation that new threats require more surveillance measures
  • Need for further research on effectiveness of surveillance measures.

The event concluded with a discussion on a joint policy brief incorporating the evidence and analysis of the three projects, their policy implications, findings and recommendations.

IRISS project:

RESPECT project:

SURVEILLE project:

Handbook released

Reducing the undesirable impacts of surveillance

The IRISS consortium releases handbook on increasing resilience in surveillance societies

Surveillance continues to grow widely (though not uniformly) with a huge impact on the lives of individuals and society at large. Though some forms of surveillance may be acceptable or tolerable, others pose a serious challenge – threatening democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms and the very fabric of society with often irreversible, corrosive impact.

It is vital that individuals, groups and organisations are able to adapt to and/or resist surveillance. To this effect, the IRISS project consortium has released a handbook (as a printed publication and as an online tool) to help increase resilience in surveillance societies. The handbook is aimed at different stakeholders, such as policy-makers and regulators, consultancies, service providers, the media, civil society organisations and the public to help them think about how they can increase resilience in a surveillance society, for themselves and for their fellow citizens. Resilience to surveillance requires ways of preventing, mitigating, remedying and “bouncing forward” from the negative effects of surveillance.

David Wright, Managing Partner of Trilateral Research which co-ordinated the preparation of the handbook, comments, “we live in a surveillance society, one in which the use of surveillance technologies has become virtually ubiquitous and in which such use has become widely (but not uniformly) accepted by the public as endemic and justified by its proponents as necessary for economic, security or other reasons. Even if there are democratic procedures, a surveillance society is one in which there is a parallel system of power exercised by large, oligarchic companies and intelligence agencies over which effective oversight and control are largely illusory”.

The handbook is divided into three parts: Part One provides some background on resilience in surveillance societies; it defines the terms and identifies features of resilience and today’s surveillance society. Part Two lays out a set of questions (generic and specifically addressed to target stakeholder groups) that intend to provoke consideration of a proposed or existing surveillance systems, technologies, practices or other initiatives. Part Three offers a list of measures that can be taken to increase resilience in surveillance societies and to restrict the scope of surveillance systems to what can be legitimately justified and to minimise the impacts of surveillance systems on the individual, groups and society.

The Handbook is available as a PDF on the IRISS project website and as an interactive tool –

Notes to the editor: About the IRISS project

The Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies (IRISS) project received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement No. 285593. IRISS comprises 16 partners from nine EU countries. The project, which began in February 2012, analyses the spread of surveillance systems and technologies in public and private sectors from the perspective of their impact on the fabric of a democratic society. The project aims to explore options for increasing social, economic and institutional resilience and strengthening democratic processes and public discourse about appropriate reactions towards threats against open democratic societies. The EU provided the three-year IRISS project with a grant of €2.6 million.

The IRISS consortium is led by the Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (IRKS, Austria). The other partners include Trilateral Research & Consulting (UK), the University of Stirling (UK), the University of Edinburgh (UK), the Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute (Hungary), the Institute of Technology Assessment (Austria), the University of Sheffield (UK), the University of Hamburg (Germany), Vrije University of Brussel (Belgium), Open University (UK), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI  (Germany), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Norway), the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy), Comenius University Bratislava (Slovakia) and the Universität der Bundeswehr München (Germany). The handbook was part of Work Package 6 (Resilience options) of the IRISS project, and coordinated by Trilateral Research & Consulting, with contributions from the University of Edinburgh, Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute (EKINT, Hungary), Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Open University (UK), the University of Hamburg and the Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (IRKS, Austria).

For more information please contact:

David Wright:


Reinhard Kreissl:

Book on Surveillance in Europe now available!

Book on Surveillance in Europe now available!

Wright, David, and Reinhard Kreissl (eds.), Surveillance in Europe, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon., 2015    


Surveillance in Europe, co-edited by David Wright of Trilateral Research & Consulting (UK) and Reinhard Kreissl of the Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (Austria), is an accessible, definitive and comprehensive overview of the rapidly growing multi-disciplinary field of surveillance studies in Europe. Written by experts in the field, including leading scholars, the Companion’s clear and up-to-date style will appeal to a wide range of scholars and students in the social sciences, arts and humanities. This book makes the case for greater resilience in European society in the face of the growing pervasiveness of surveillance. It examines surveillance in Europe from several different perspectives, including:

  • the consequences and impacts for Europe of the Snowden revelations
  • the co-evolution of surveillance technologies and practices
  • the surveillance industry in Europe
  • the instrumentality of surveillance for preventing and detecting crime and terrorism
  • social and economic costs
  • impacts of surveillance on civil liberties
  • resilience in Europe’s surveillance society
  • findings and recommendations regarding surveillance in Europe.

 Surveillance in Europe’s interdisciplinary approach and accessible content makes it an ideal companion to academics, policy-makers and civil society organisations alike, as well as appealing to top level undergraduates and postgraduates. Contributors to the book include : Anthony Amicelle (Université de Montréal), Kirstie Ball (Open University), Johann Čas (Institute of Technology Assessment, OeAW-ITA, Austria), Paul De Hert (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Michael Friedwald (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research), Gemma Galdon Clavell (Eticas Research & Consulting/Universitat de Barcelona), Antonella Galetta (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Kerstin Goos (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research), Leeroy Groves (University of Sheffield), Dara Hallinan (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research), Richard Jones (University of Edinburgh), Reinhard Kreissl (Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology Austria), Marija Krlic (University of Sheffield), Charles Leleux (University of Stirling), Clive Norris (University of Sheffield), Charles Raab (University of Edinburgh), Rowena Rodrigues (Trilateral Research & Consulting), Stefan Strauss (Institute of Technology Assessment, OeAW-ITA, Austria), Ivan Szekely (Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute, Hungary), C. William R. Webster (University of Stirling) and David Wright (Trilateral Research & Consulting).


IRISS Joint Final Event – Event Update


The Joint Final Event of the EU-projects IRISS, RESPECT and SURVEILLE projects will take place on October 29-30, 2014 at the DIAMANT Brussels Conference & Business Centre in Brussels.

The event will feature discussion panels and communicate research results of the three projects to stakeholders: European decision-makers, law enforcement professionals, local authorities, technologies developers, the media and the general public.

Helen Nissenbaum (New York University) will deliver a keynote address on Surveillance and Democracy. The discussion panels will focus on: TECHNOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF SURVEILLANCE (Surveillance technologies in society, use of Technologies), THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF SURVEILLANCE (Reconciling human rights protection and security, Data retention and fundamental rights, Targeted use of surveillance technologies to control individuals considered as dangerous, the role of Law Enforcement Agencies in Surveillance), THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF SURVEILLANCE (Surveillance, Resilience and Democracy, Intersection of Surveillance with Citizen’s Rights and Citizens attitudes towards surveillance).

The agenda for the event is available on the JFE website:

A limited number of places are still available. To express your interest in attending the event and request an invitation, please contact the events team by email.

Contact: Jonathan Andrew

IRISS Sheffield workshop report and presentations now available.

IRISS Sheffield workshop report and presentations are now available on our website. Please visit our Events page!

IRISS WP5 hits the headlines

IRISS WP5 (Exercising democratic rights under surveillance regimes) is in the news. See:

Update: 26 June 2014 – As news of the report spreads it is attracting further attention:

Report on resilience options in democratic surveillance societies – draft uploaded.

The report on resilience options in democractic surveillance societies analyses resilience, in different domains, the elements of a resilience strategy, who should employ it and in what circumstances, and how these are aplicable to resilience in a surveillance society. The report also examines how the open nature of democratic societies can make them more vulnerable to attacks on infrastructures or people and how, at the same time, it can make them more resilient to those attacks in terms of social, economic and institutional responses. The report examines the notion of surveillance and, in particular, resilience in a surveillance society and whether resilience offers a useful strategy for countering the negative effects of surveillance in undermining the freedoms and values that underpin a democracy. It also identifies measures to increase resilience in a surveillance society. The report was coordinated by Trilateral Research & Consulting. Other contributors include: Open University, Peace Research Institute Oslo, University of Sheffield, University of Edinburgh,  Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (IRKS),  University of Stirling, University of Sheffield, Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute, Hungary and the University of Hamburg.

A draft copy of the report can be found here.