I am a journalist & digital investigator working as Head of Research & Investigations at the civil liberties campaign group, Big Brother Watch.
I also have extensive experience working on national newspapers. I spent three years at DMG Media, working across the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday and the Irish Mail on Sunday and have written for most UK national titles.
At Big Brother Watch I have led a number of long-term investigations that have influenced political debate in Westminster and beyond. Who’s Watching You, published in 2022 and based on 3,500+ FOI requests, demonstrated how reliant public authorities have become on surveillance equipment made by Hikvision and Dahua, Chinese companies complicit in atrocities in Xinjiang. The report was key to kickstarting the push to remove the cameras from government buildings by MPs of all sides of parliament and has been followed up by exposés placed in the press on Hikvision’s marketing of racial profiling add-ons for its cameras and the company’s cosy relationship with UK policing.
In 2021 I published a ground-breaking investigation, Poverty Panopticon, into the use of automation and algorithms in the UK’s welfare state by local authorities and the Department for Work and Pensions. Following 9 months of work and hundreds of FOI requests the report uncovered the use of technology to profile and predict the lives of millions of Britons without their knowledge or consent. It found that councils were generating fraud risk scores for benefit applicants on where they lived or their age, and predicting their risk of socioeconomic harm using data from massive databases stitched together inside local authorities.
The Streets Are Watching, which was based on digital and corporate research, exposed how surveillance tactics are being used to influence the adverts people see on the high street. The 2022 investigation found that millions of mobile phones in the UK are being tracked to build detailed heatmaps of what kind of people are in which areas and when – so brands can target tiny demographic groups with their adverts – all based on questionable consent. Tracking technology is even capable of modelling which people saw a billboard advert and re-target them with the same ad on their phones – Minority Report has become reality.
My portfolio of newspaper bylines centres on stories involving open source and social media vertification techniques. They include a front page on Theresa May’s dinner with the wife of a Russian oligarch, exclusives on Instagram drug dealers and defying legal pressure to reveal the sexual misconduct allegations behind a NUS officer’s suspension.
Other front page bylines include an expose of a Dublin slum landlord illegally renting a single home to dozens of foreign students, coverage of Donald Trump’s refusal to pay for ‘Megxit‘ and reporting on the tragedy of a child thrown off the top of the Tate Modern art gallery.
Other exclusives range from Labour candidate being investigated for errors on electoral forms, to the secret online sex work of an dead teenage aristocrat with more colourful work including an extensive travel feature from southern Florida.
I also have editing and leadership experience, from the six months where I regularly covered as Night News Editor at the Daily Mail, managing a team of late reporters, finding stories for the late edition and making decisions on which should be in the final edition of the newspaper.