Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Lachlan Urquhart

Lecturer in Technology Law

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Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes


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 am a multidisciplinary, socio-legal researcher, having degrees in both law [ LL.B, Hons (Edin); LL.M IT & Telecoms Law, Distinction (Strath) ] & computer science [ Ph.D (Nott) ]. 

I primarily work at the boundaries of computer science (human-computer interaction), information technology law (mainly privacy & information security), and computer ethics. I focus extensively on the technical, socio-legal, sociological, and ethical implications of living with interactive computing (e.g. Ubicomp/Internet of Things, 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 am currently working on a range of projects in 2018-9, including: 

- Co-I on the new £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.

- Co-I on a £50,000 ESRC Japan-UK Connections project on Emotional AI in commercial and security contexts with Bangor University and Ritsumeiken Asia Pacific University.

- 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

- 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. 

Prior to this, I was CI on a £30,000 UoN Research Priority Area funded project ‘About Algorithms & Beyond’ exploring aspects of algorithms and IoT, 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 $175,000 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, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham.

During this 4-year multidisciplinary programme, I completed a quasi-MSc including courses on science and technology studies, computer science, human factors engineering, business studies, geospatial information services, programming. My PhD 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 drawing together human computer interaction, technology law (socio-legal), and computer ethics perspectives. Also, interested in Surveillance Studies, Science & Technology Studies,

2) Examining regulatory, design, sociological & ethical implications of living with the Internet of Things at different scales (from smart homes to cities).

3) Addressing practical challenges in Data Protection, Information Security & Cybercrime.


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)

Research students

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


LL.B (Hons), Edinburgh

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

Ph.D Computer Science, Nottingham

Research outputs

  1. Adaptive architecture and personal data

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. MeMa: Designing the memory machine

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  3. Performing the future: Risk, uncertainty & artistic process

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (29) »

Research activities & awards

  1. TILTing Perspectives 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  2. BILETA 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. Workshop Uses and Misuses of Connected Devices

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

View all (61) »

Latest prizes

  1. Taylor and Francis Prize for Best Paper

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

View all (1) »

Research projects

  1. DADA

    Project: Research

  2. The Memory Machine

    Project: Project from a former institution

  3. Towards Moral-IT and Legal-IT by Design

    Project: Project from a former institution

View all (3) »

ID: 69977658