A multidisciplinary research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, dedicated to the social science of the Internet.

Information Governance and Security

The big data generated by digital interactions between people, organisations, and artefacts is transforming the way that we live, work and think—posing numerous challenges to information governance and regulation, including of the Internet itself. We are exploring and analysing these challenges, working out how they may be overcome through new governance rules, processes, and institutions.

People: Viktor Mayer-SchönbergerVicki Nash, Anne-Marie Oostveen, Ben Zevenbergen


We are investigating how emerging technologies like biometrics, surveillance tools and the Internet of Things can be designed and governed to preserve the competing demands of information security, privacy and individual freedom. We examine how people interact with automated border gate technology like iris scanners; are developing techniques to retrieve and analyse data on global censorship and surveillance; and investigating how research into violent online extremism can be carried out while also protecting privacy and free speech. We’re also investigating the challenges and opportunities of digital citizenship in the light of the governmental mass-surveillance measures revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

  • VOX-Pol Network of Excellence

    Comprehensively researching, analysing, debating, and critiquing issues surrounding violent online political extremism.

  • Humans and Robots in Public Spaces (HARPS)

    Conducting experiments exploring trust in shared social settings, and develop a framework for understanding the impact of privacy / anonymity in human-robot interactions.

  • Ethical Privacy Guidelines for Mobile Connectivity Measurements

    Developing concrete guidance with regards to privacy and data protection for researchers using Internet measurement tools for mobile phones.

  • FastPass: A Harmonized, Modular Reference System for European Automatic Border Crossings

    Border control is a major challenge for security and mobility within the EU. FastPass will establish a harmonized, modular approach for Automated Border Control gates.

Selected Publications

The below are a few publications in this area: for complete lists of outputs, please refer to individual faculty biographies.

  • Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think

    In this groundbreaking and fascinating book, two of the world's most-respected data experts reveal the reality of a big data world.

  • Regulating Code: Good Governance and Better Regulation in the Information Age

    Analyzing the regulatory shaping of “code” to achieve more economically efficient and socially just regulation.

  • Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age

    Looking at the surprising phenomenon of perfect remembering in the digital age, and reveals why we must reintroduce our capacity to forget.

Our research is organised in eight broad themes, where the Internet is having a significant effect on social, economic and political activity worldwide.

  • Digital Economies
  • Digital Knowledge and Culture
  • Digital Politics and Government
  • Education, Digital Life and Wellbeing
  • Ethics and Philosophy of Information
  • Information Geography and Inequality
  • Information Governance and Security
  • Social Data Science