School of Social and Political Science

Professor Charles Raab

Job Title

Professor Emeritus


Research interests

Research interests

My main general research interests are in public policy, governance and regulation, and more specifically in information policy (privacy protection and public access to information; surveillance and security; identity and anonymity; information technology and systems in democratic politics, government and commerce; and ethical and human rights implications of information processes). From 1973 to 2000, I was also particularly involved in research and publication on education policy, and on European police co-operation. My research has been funded by the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, the National Science Foundation (USA), the European Commission (including 6th and 7th Framework Programmes, and H2020), and the former Scottish Office.  I participate in the PIR Research Groups on Policy and Governance and on International Relations, serve on the Steering Committee of the Centre for Security Research (CeSeR), and was co-convener (with A Neal and J Kaarbo) of the ESRC seminar series, Security in Scotland, With or Without Constitutional Change. I am a member of the University's  Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI), and of the Edinburgh Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust Institute.

Current research

I am a Co-Investigator in the UKRI/ESRC-funded project, PATH-AI (Mapping an Intercultural Path to Privacy, Agency and Trust in Human-AI Ecosystems), (…). I took part in two EU FP7 projects: PRISMS (The Privacy and Security Mirrors: Towards a European Framework for Integrated Decision-Making, ( and IRISS (Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies, (, and chaired the Ethics Committee of a third project, SIAM (Security Impact Assessment Measures, ( I participated in the H2020 project, CANDID (Checking Assumptions and Promoting Responsibility in Smart Development Projects), (, and am also engaged in further writing for publication in the fields of privacy theory and regulatory practice, surveillance, personal identity, security, resilience, and related topics. 

PhD and postdoctoral supervision

I am currently supervising two PhD students but I am not accepting any further students.




  • BA (Columbia)
  • MA (Yale)

Current and previous posts

I am Professor Emeritus (Politics and International Relations, School of Social and Political Science), having held the Chair of Government twice, from 1999 to 2007 (Including Head of Department, 2002-2005) and from 2012 to 2015. I have served as a member of the academic staff since 1964, and held visiting positions in the Oxford Internet Institute (2007), the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (Tilburg University, The Netherlands; 1999 and 2007), Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (2006), and the Victoria University of Wellington (NZ); 2014). I was a Fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Delmenhorst, Germany (2009), and am currently a Turing Fellow at the UK's Alan Turing Institute. With colleagues at the Universities of Stirling, St. Andrews, Essex and Coventry, I am a Director of CRISP (Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy (, and and am a founder of the Scottish Privacy Forum. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Other activities

I have engaged in advisory and consultancy work for UK and Scottish government departments, the Office of the Information Commissioner, the European Commission, the New Zealand Law Commission, Liberty, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), among others. I was appointed Specialist Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution for their inquiry that resulted in Surveillance: Citizens and the State, 2nd Report, Session 2008-09, HL Paper 18 (available at: and Analysis of the Government's Response to Surveillance: Citizens and the State, 14th Report, Session 2008-09, HL Paper 114 (available at: I am a member of the editorial or advisory boards of many journals in the fields of information policy and public policy,  and am Co-General Editor of the book series, Routledge Studies in Surveillance (available at:…). I am also a member of the programme committees of a number of  international conferences and summer schools, and sit on the advisory boards of several research projects. I am a member of the Surveillance Studies Network, participated in the Canadian-funded project on ‘The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting’,  and served on the Management Board of the European Union’s COST Action on ‘Living in Surveillance Societies’ (LiSS). I have given written and oral evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees. I was Co-Chair of the Independent Digital Ethics Panel for Policing (IDEPP), and am a member of the Home Office Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group (BFEG),  co-Chair of the Data Ethics Group of the Alan Turing Institute, member of Police Scotland's Independent Ethics Advisory Panel (IEAP), and the Europol Data Protection Experts Network (EDEN). I am a member of the Scottish Government's Digital Identity Scotland Expert Group, and was a member of its National Digital Ethics Expert Group. I also sit on the AI and Data Ethics (AIDE) Advisory Group in the University's City Deal and Data-Driven Innovation Programme, the Cross-College Ethics Advisory Group for the Global Data Institute for Child Safety; and formerly the Governance and Ethics Action Group in the University's Internet of Things (IoT) Programme. I am a member of the University's Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI), and am affiliated to the Edinburgh Cyber Security, Privacy and Trust Institute.

Selected books and reports

(with W Webster et al., eds.) Surveillance and Democracy: Social, Political and Legal Perspectives on Europe (IOS Press, forthcoming); (with R Parry) John Pitcairn Mackintosh 1929-1978: Archives of an Academic and Political Life (2018; available at:…); (with A. Lehmann et al., eds.) Privacy and Identity Management: Facing Up to Next Steps (11th IFIP WG 9.2, 9.5, 96/11.7, 11.4, 11.6/SIG 9.2.2 International Summer School, Karlstad, Sweden August 21-26, 2016, Revised Selected Papers (Springer, 2017; available at:; (with D Aspinall et al., eds.)  Privacy and Identity Management: Time for a Revolution? (10th IFIP WG 9.2, 9.5, 96/11.7, 11.4, 11.6/SIG 9.2.2 International Summer School, Edinburgh, UK, August 16-21, 2015,  Revised Selected Papers (Springer, 2016; available at:; (with D Wright et al.) Privacy Impact Assessment and Risk Management, Report for the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO, 2013, available at:; (with contributions by others) Fifty Years and More: The Department of Politics at the University of Edinburgh, (Edinburgh: Department of Politics, University of Edinburgh, 2012, available at:; (with W Webster et al., eds.) Video Surveillance: Practices and Policies in Europe (IOS Press, 2012); (with B Goold) Protecting Information Privacy, Research Report 69 (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2011, available at:; (with C Bennett) The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in Global Perspective (Ashgate, 2003; 2nd edition MIT Press, 2006); (with M Arnott, eds.) The Governance of Schooling: Comparative Studies of Devolved Management (Routledge/Falmer, 2000); (with M Anderson et al.) Policing the European Union (Clarendon Press, 1995); (with A McPherson), Governing Education: A Sociology of Policy Since 1945 (Edinburgh U.P., 1988; winner of the Annual Book Prize, Standing Conference on Studies in Education, 1989); (ed., with intro.) Data Protection and Privacy - Proceedings of a Conference, (Social Research Association, 1982). 

Commissioned by the Office of the Information Commissioner, I co-authored the Surveillance Studies Network's Report on the Surveillance Society (2006, available at:,  and an Update Report (2010, reproduced as Part B in House of Commons Home Affairs Committee, Information Commissioner’s Annual Report to the House of Commons pursuant to the Home Affairs Committee’s report ‘A Surveillance Society’, Fifth Report of Session 2007-08, Fourth Special Report of Session 2010-11, HC 702, published 1 March 2011; available at:

Recent articles, chapters and blogs (2010-present)

(with J Čas et al.(eds.), Questioning Modern Surveillance Technologies: Ethical and Legal Challenges of Emerging Information and Communication Technologies, Special Issue, Information Polity, 27, 2, 2022 (includes Editors’ Introduction, pp. 121-129);

(with H Hijmans), 'Ethical Dimensions of the GDPR', in M Cole and F Boehm (eds.), Commentary on the General Data Protection Regulation (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, forthcoming); available at:

(with A Silvast et al.),  'Producing the "User" in Smart Technology Projects: Smart Grids and Smart Metering Infrastructure in the UK and Finland', in H Kurz et al. (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Smart Technologies: An Economic and Social Perspective (Routledge, 2022)

(with H Hijmans, “Ethical Dimensions of the GDPR, AI Regulation, and Beyond”, Revista Direito Público (Brazil), 18, 100, 2021, pp. 56-80.

"Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring the Analytical Approach of Multi-Level Governance’, PATH-AI blog, Alan Turing Institute, 19 February:…

(with A Dominguez et al.), 'Ethical and Responsible IoT: The Edinburgh Initiative',  European Journal of Law and Technology, 11, 2, 2020, available at: or 

'Information Privacy, Impact Assessment, and the Place of Ethics', Computer Law and Security Review, 37, 2020, available at: or 

(with A Silvast et al.), 'Who "Uses" Smart Grids? The Evolving Nature of User Representations in Layered Infrastructures', Sustainability, 10, 10, 2018, available at: 

(with E Klein et al.), 'Capturing the Sounds of an Urban Greenspace', 3rd International Conference on Smart Data and Smart Cities, 4–5 October 2018, Delft, The Netherlands, The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences, Volume XLII-4/W11, pp. 19-26, Copernicus GmbH, 2018, available at:

(with C Bennett), 'Revisiting the Governance of Privacy: Contemporary Policy Instruments in Global Perspective', Regulation & Governance, 2018, available at:

'Political Science and Privacy', in A de Groot and B van der Sloot, Handbook of Privacy Studies: An Interdisciplinary Introduction, (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018), pp. 257-263 

(with N van Dijk et al.), 'Right Engineering? The Redesign of Privacy and Personal Data Protection', International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, 32, 2-3, 2018, pp. 230-256, available at:

(with M Elliot et al.), ‘Functional Anonymisation: Personal Data and the Data Environment’, Computer Law and Security Review, 34, 2, 2018,  pp. 201-224, available at: DOI: 10.1016/j.clsr.2018.02.001

(with R Jones and I Székely), 'Surveillance and Resilience: Relationships, Dynamics and Consequences', Democracy and Security, 14, 3, 2018, pp. 238-275, available at: 

(with I Székely) 'Data Protection Authorities and Information Technology', Computer Law and Security Review, 33, 4, 2017, pp. 421-433; available  at:

'Hildebrandt’s Onlife World: Public Goods, Design and Politics', Critical Analysis of Law, 4, 1, 2017, pp. 104-115; available at:

'Security, Privacy and Oversight', in A Neal (ed.), Security in a Small Nation: Scotland, Democracy, Politics, (Open Book Publishers, 2017), pp. 77-102, DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0078; available at:

'Information Privacy: Ethics and Accountability', in C Brand et al, (eds.), Ethik in den Kulturen – Kulturen in der Ethik: Eine Festschrift für Regina Ammicht Quinn, (Narr Francke Attempto, 2017), pp. 335-347; avaialble at: 

(with R Clarke) 'Inadequacies in the UK’s Data Science Ethical Framework', European Data Protection Law Review, 2, 4, 2016, pp. 555-560 

(with R Jones and I Székely) 'Surveillance and Resilience in Theory and Practice', Media and Communication, 3, 2, 2015, pp. 21-41; available at:

(with D Wright et al.) 'Questioning Surveillance', Computer Law and Security Review, 31, 2, 2015, pp. 280-292; available at:

'Privacy as a Social Value and as a Security Value', pp. 119-120 in B Preneel et al, (eds.) Privacy and Security in an Age of Surveillance, Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop 14401 (Dagstuhl Reports, Vol. 4, Issue 9, 2015), pp. 106-123. DOI: 10.4230/DagRep.4.9.106; available at:; or

'Privacy as a Security Value', in D W Schartum et al. (eds.) Jon Bing: En Hyllest / A Tribute, (Gyldendal, 2014), pp. 39-58; available at:

(with D Wright et al.) 'Integrating Privacy Impact Assessment in Risk Management', International Data Privacy Law, 4, 2, 2014, pp. 155-170

(with D Wright) 'Privacy Principles, Risks and Harms', International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 28, 3, 2014, pp. 277-298; available at:

'Ends and Means: Experts Debate the Democratic Oversight of the UK’s Intelligence Services', Democratic Audit blog, 14/1/14; available at:

'Studying Surveillance: The Contribution of Political Science?' Political Studies Association blog, 29/10/13; available at:

'Privacy, Social Values and the Public Interest', in A Busch et al. (eds.) 'Politik und die Regulierung von Information' ['Politics and the Regulation of Information'], Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Sonderheft 46, 2012, pp. 129-151, available at: 

(with D Wright), 'Surveillance: Extending the Limits of Privacy Impact Assessment', in D Wright et al. (eds.) Privacy Impact Assessment (Springer, 2012), pp. 363-383

'The Meaning of "Accountability" in the Information Privacy Context', in D Guagnin et al. (eds.) Managing Privacy Through Accountability (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 15-32

'Regulating Surveillance: The Importance of Principles', in K Ball et al., (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies (Routledge, 2012), pp. 377-385

(with D Wright), 'Constructing a Surveillance Impact Assessment', Computer Law and Security Review, 28, 6, 2012, pp. 613-626, available at:

(with E Keymolen and C Prins), 'Trust and ICT: New Challenges for Public Administration', in I Snellen et al. (eds.) Public Administration in the Information Age: Revisited (IOS Press, 2012), pp. 21-35

'Networks for Regulation: Privacy Commissioners in a Changing World', Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 13, 2, 2011, pp. 195-213; available at:

'Information Privacy: Networks of Regulation at the Subglobal Level’, Global Policy, 1, 3, 2010, pp. 291-302; available at:

(with Perri 6 et al.) 'Information Sharing Dilemmas in Public Services: Using Frameworks from Risk Management', Policy and Politics, 38, 3, 2010, pp. 465-481 

My complete list of publications is available on request.

Staff Hours and Guidance

By arrangement