Research Fellows

Lucy Purdon

Lucy Purdon

Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Expertise

Lucy’s work focuses on global corporate responsibility relating to freedom of expression and privacy through the use of ICTs. Lucy’s areas of expertise include censorship, “hate speech”, government ordered network shutdowns, surveillance and ICT exports. Lucy is experienced in conducting field research and delivering training sessions worldwide.

Current Work

Lucy is Policy Officer for the Global South at Privacy International, working across the organisation and with international partners to develop policy recommendations and positions based on research project findings. As an IHRB Research Fellow, she focuses on freedom of expression and privacy online as well as the human rights implications surrounding big data. Lucy developed and managed IHRB’s ICT programme from 2012-2016.

Before IHRB 

Lucy was previously a documentary producer/director and ran film-making courses for young offenders in the UK for over a decade. Lucy joined IHRB in 2012 after completing an MA in Human Rights from The Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS), University of London. Her thesis, 'Privatising Dissent', applied the UNGPs to the ICT sector.

I believe strongly that ICTs are an enabler of human rights. To me, defending rights ‘online’ as we would ‘offline’ is one of the great global challenges of our time.

There are currently no Briefings by Lucy Purdon

Commentary: The Challenge of Criminalising Hate Speech

This commentary was originally published in the Myanmar Times

Since Myanmar’s landmark election in November 2015, the National League for Democracy government has publicly condemned the use of so-called hate speech on several occasions and...

16 August 2016

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Commentary: We are Losing Sight of Why Protecting Privacy is Important for our Security

The UK Government’s Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) is a new and controversial piece of proposed surveillance legislation. The recent review of the IPB by the UK Parliament (the “Second Reading”) offered the first opportunity for MPs to debate its...

18 March 2016

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Commentary: What does the UK’s Draft Investigatory Powers Bill mean for ICT companies’ responsibility to respect privacy?

The UK government recently published the long-anticipated draft Investigatory Powers Bill, outlining proposed surveillance reforms. 

All sides of the debate broadly agree that UK legislation in this area needs an overhaul, as it does not adequately...

17 November 2015

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Commentary: ICTs and Elections: Tackling Network Shutdowns, Hate Speech and Surveillance in Myanmar

Myanmar will hold its much-anticipated general election on November 8th 2015. The Internet will play an important role in these elections.

The country’s ICT sector is developing at speed and there are many ways companies could have a positive...

28 June 2015

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.

Commentary: Network Shutdowns in the DRC: ICT Companies Need Clear Rules

Recent events in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) involving the government choosing to shut down Internet and SMS services nation wide in response to political unrest and violence are but another example of situations in which ICT...

19 February 2015

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

As of end-2014, it is estimated that 30 percent of Myanmar's population now has access to a mobile phone. In 2015, the country may now experience the world’s fastest-ever deployment of mobile services. Photo: Michael Coghlan.

Commentary: Rights, Safety at Risk Without Lawful Interception Rules

This piece was originally published in The Myanmar Times.

Myanmar is among the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world. However, a key part of Myanmar’s telecommunications legal framework has yet to be finalised: rules governing the...

27 January 2015

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

Commentary: ICT, Human Rights & Business: A Roundup of 2014 and Challenges for 2015

As 2015 begins, it is that time again to take stock of key developments over the past 12 months in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector and their links to international human rights principles and standards. The ICT sector...

12 January 2015

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Commentary: A “New Deal” Between Governments and Tech Companies?

Robert Hannigan, the new Director of one of the UK’s intelligence agencies, GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters), has taken over at a time when the agency is facing scrutiny on an unprecedented scale in its 100-year history.

GCHQ has been...

06 November 2014

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Pay-as-you-go SIM cards are now available for 1500 kyat (around US$1.50). SIM cards previously exchanged hands for hundreds of dollars. Photo: Frédéric Gloor | www.flickr.com/fredalix

Commentary: The Challenges and Opportunities of Myanmar’s New ICT Networks

The speed at which Information Communications Technology (ICT) develops is apparent in most countries in the world, but none more so than Myanmar in 2014. The mobile and internet infrastructure is being modernised and expanded rapidly from a...

16 September 2014

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Photo: Anthony Agius | Flickr/aagius

Commentary: Vodafone’s Transparency Report: Breaking New Ground in the ICT Sector

Last week, UK-based telecom operator Vodafone released its first transparency report as part of the company’s wider 2013-2014 Sustainability Report. It is the latest example of a growing trend among telecommunications companies to explain publicly...

13 June 2014

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Closing NETmundial 2014, chairs of the Executive Multistakeholder Committee and chairs of the High Level Multistakeholder Committee present the event's final document that incorporates a balance of the considerations presented by all stakeholders.

Commentary: Principles, Roadmaps & Recommendations: What’s next for Internet Governance?

The world wide web turns 25 this year, and the year is shaping up to be crucial for the Internet’s future. Concerns over allegations of mass surveillance of digital communications by intelligence services fuelled two recent conferences - NETmundial...

09 May 2014

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Commentary: ICT and Human Rights New Year Review

"The Digital Dangers we identified early in 2013 are clearly still important as we head into 2014. The year ahead may uncover still more difficult dilemmas. Our aim for the Digital Dangers project is to build up a body of research that will shed...

21 January 2014

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Photo: Frédéric Bisson

Commentary: A Letter from the UK: Our Surveillance Debate

This commentary was originally published by the Center for Global Communication Studies

I was recently invited to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania to present IHRB’s Digital Dangers project on the ICT sector...

27 November 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

New governor Mark Carney recently confirmed that Austen would appear on the 10-pound note, most likely beginning in 2017. | Photo: Flickr/Canadian Pacific

Commentary: Governments Must Do More To Tackle Threatening Behaviour Online

The question of how to regulate certain forms of harmful speech in the digital realm without restricting legitimate speech and debate is an on-going controversy that affects every country in the world differently.

What appears to be a global...

02 August 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

The third Freedom Online conference took place on June 17-18 in Tunis.

Commentary: Freedom Online, Tunisia: Revolution and Revelations

The third Freedom Online conference held recently in Tunisia’s capital city, Tunis, was dominated not by discussion of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, when the Internet contributed to bringing about regime change and sparked the Arab Spring, but instead...

15 July 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Commentary: Telenor and Ooredoo enter Myanmar

When my colleagues went to Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon in March last year, they found that their smartphones were useless there, since the local telecom operators did not have any arrangement with international carriers. As a result, they...

27 June 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.

Commentary: Telecommunications companies must join the debate on surveillance

In Part I of IHRB’s series analysing NSA data gathering revelations, Salil Tripathi discussed the human rights responsibilities of Internet companies in light of the disclosures regarding Prism. In Part II, Lucy Purdon looks at how Verizon and other...

17 June 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

The Stockholm Internet Forum is a conference that aims to deepen the discussions on how freedom and openness on the Internet promote economic and social development worldwide.

Commentary: Surveilling the Stockholm Internet Forum 2013

Are liberty and security contradictory terms, or can they coexist? Was Benjamin Franklin right when he said, back in 1775: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”? Can...

28 May 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

ICT companies continue to face many challenges when it comes to respecting freedom of expression and privacy.

Commentary: ICT sector transparency reports: How do they help civil society defend freedom of expression

Microsoft is the latest company in the ICT sector to publish a report showing how it complies with requests it receives from law enforcement agencies worldwide to release user data. These are known as ‘transparency reports’ and Microsoft is among...

28 March 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

European Commission Human Rights Sector Guidance Project: Developing Guidance on the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in the Employment & Recruitment Agencies, Information & Communications Technology, and Oil & Gas Sectors.

Commentary: ICT and human rights: A roundup of 2012 and challenges for 2013

by Lucy Purdon, IHRB Programme Support Manager: ICT

Freedom of expression and privacy, two rights intertwined with the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, were very much in the spotlight in 2012. Balancing the two is not easy,...

22 January 2013

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

Photo: Guardian - http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/phone-tapping-eastern-europe-ict-standards

Commentary: Tapping and Phone Hacking in Eastern Europe

This op-Ed was originally published on TheGuardian.com.

"Government interference in communications can be extensive and often arbitrary in many countries – including in countries that aren't authoritarian. Governments have interfered by imposing...

09 November 2012

By Lucy Purdon, Policy Officer, Privacy International; Research Fellow, IHRB

There are currently no Speeches by Lucy Purdon