I am a social anthropologist of digital culture, business, and politics. I investigate the interface of economic and political power, cultural discourses and practices, and networked communication technologies.
  •  Photograph: Bradley L Garrett

    Attack on the drones: the creeping privatisation of our urban airspace By Dr Bradley L Garrett and Dr Adam Fish

    We woke up before dawn and caught the first train to Waterloo, so we could capture some aerial footage in the early morning London light with no one around. We were interested in using a drone to get a vantage point that no rooftop could offer, looking down on the under-renovation South Bank Tower.

  • Hactivists aren’t terrorists – but US prosecutors make little distinction

    Activists who use technology to conduct political dissent – hacktivists – are increasingly threatened with investigation, prosecution and often disproportionately severe criminal sentences. For example, in January 2015 self-proclaimed Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison for hacking-related activities including linking to leaked material online. Edward Snowden is currently exiled in Russia after leaking the global surveillance operations of the NSA and GCHQ.

  • The genie is out of the bottle – it’s foolish to think encryption can now be banned

    Politicians have turned their sights on encryption once more following terrorist outrages in Paris and San Bernardino, California. A country that once welcomed encryption, France is now considering outlawing it in the wake of the massacre in its capital. In the US, politicians and law enforcement have made similar demands, as has the British prime minister, David Cameron.

  • The wisdom of the crowd can turn into social media mob rule

    When what Nobel Laureate Tim Hunt intended as an after dinner speech was made public he suffered the consequences, as have several others before him, including the loss of his positions at UCL and the Royal Society.

  • Who really benefits from the internet 'space race'?

    In the film Elysium, the ultra-rich have left an apocalyptic Earth ravaged by global warming and overpopulation. Their utopian colony orbits high above Earth which festers below. Science fiction, but Silicon Valley techno-utopians also dream of rising above the planet’s problems.

  • Using Microsoft products may be unethical for universities

    Universities and researchers all over the world have a problem with Microsoft. It’s not just that the company forces expensive and dated software on customers. Using products like Microsoft’s email service Outlook is potentially in breach of the ethical contracts researchers sign when they promise to safeguard the privacy of their subjects.

  • Urban geographer's brush with the law risks sending cold chill through social science

    Almost two years ago, one of my oldest friends, Bradley L Garrett, boarded a plane at Heathrow airport. As it taxied on the runway, the British Transport Police arrived and dragged him off the plane. He was accused of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

  • Nothing is private once Facebook gets in your wallet

    Facebook has been on a shopping spree in 2014.

  • Online finance should be the next concern, not spying bins

    As the hype around the internet of things grows, we are being presented with dystopian images of a future in which our fridges spy on us and our toothbrushes tattle to our dentists and insurers. But our concern about these extreme examples is distracting us from a more pressing issue – the collision between social media and financial services.