Lachlan Urquhart


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Personal profile


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 was Director of the eLL.M in Information Technology Law (2019-20). I was recently appointed as a Turing Fellow at the UK National Institute for Data Science and AI, the Alan Turing Institute.

I am an interdisciplinary researcher, having degrees in both computer science (PhD) and law (LL.B and LL.M) . I was a researcher at the Centre for Internet Law and Policy, University of Strathclyde and visiting researcher at the Centre for Business Information Ethics, Meiji University.

I primarily work at the boundaries of computing, information technology law, 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 have been Co-I on funded projects totalling over £5m.

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

Current Projects

- £3.2m EPSRC funded Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Governance and Regulation Node. 

- Book project entitled 'Regulating Ubicomp by Design' to be published with Cambridge University Press.

- £4.1m EPSRC funded Horizon Digital Economy Research Centre on Trusted Data Driven Products (Founding Member).

- £720,000 UKRI and Japan Science & Technology Agency co-funded project Emotional AI in Smart 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 Univerisities in Japan.

- £25,000 Horizon funded Memory Machine 2.0 project

- £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.

- £4,000 Universitas 21 funded Cardographer Online Project.

Past Projects include:

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

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

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

- £16,000 Horizon funded ‘Moral-IT: Enabling Design of Ethical Systems’ on developing card-based tools for building ethical IT systems, which are now available here (PI)

-  £30,000 UoN Research Priority Area funded project ‘About Algorithms & Beyond’ exploring aspects of algorithms and IoT,

- £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; 

- £1,500 DEN funded project on 'Games & Human Values’ exploring how games can be medium of critique for wider societal concerns

- Horizon funded project on ‘Information Privacy by Design Cards’ with Microsoft Research, which was also led to a c£140,000 US National Science Foundation funded partner project based at NYU.


Legal Challenges of Information Technology (Course Organiser)

Information Technology Law (Course Organiser) 

Law of e-Commerce (Course Organiser)

Electronic Commerce Law (Course organiser)

Data Protection and Information Privacy Law 

EU Data Protection Law 

Controversies in the Data Society (Edinburgh Futures Institute)

Data Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation MOOC

Research students

Natalie Leesakul - 'Manufacturing Robots and the Law' (External: Horizon, University of Nottingham) 

Robbie Scarff - 'Regulating emotional artificial intelligence: exploring expert and citizen perspectives using design fictions'

Ayça Atabey - 'Fairness, Digital Technologies and Vulnerable Users'

Matthew Jewell - 'Dissent in the smart city: Contesting cyber-physical architectures'

Aditi Surana - 'Democratic Data Governance and Design'

Yiwei Lu - 'Representation Learning for Argumentation-based Legal Ontology'


LL.B (Hons), Edinburgh

LL.M Information Technology and Telecommunciations Law (Distinction), Strathclyde

Ph.D Computer Science, Nottingham

Research Interests

Interdisciplinary research in human computer interaction and information technology law. I'm also interested in surveillance studies and science & technology studies.


External positions

Visiting Researcher, University of Nottingham

31 Jul 2018 → …


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