Research Assistance Opportunity

Prof. Rosie Harding and I have been awarded a small amount of funding to support research assistance for a project on care, security and the internet of things.

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is an emerging site for the delivery of care interventions and security for individuals (e.g., smart technology that uses GPS to monitor an individual’s movements, or the usage of everyday household objects to remotely monitor home services like heating or cooking equipment). As well as seeming to offer ‘efficient’ solutions to some care and security needs, these technologies gather and process data, which could be used to increase the surveillance capabilities of intelligence services. Thus, the IoT raises a range of socio-legal issues requiring deeper interrogation. In order to identify the issues that must be addressed for any policy adopting the IoT to be considered ‘evidence based’, this project will canvas the potential societal implications of the use of the IoT as a care and security solution.

Research Assistance is required to assist in the identification of the benefits and limitations of technologisation in these interlinked domains.  The question at the heart of this research is: how might the technologisation of care and security impact on the everyday lives of those who require care, and those for and on whom security is performed? We intend to explore six overlapping areas: 1) the practical and conceptual rationales for technologisation; 2) The potential effects of replacing human contact with technical solutions (e.g. increasing loneliness and alienation, the loss of opportunities for transformative interventions, or the loss of jobs in the care sector); 3) The implications of the loss of human judgment and incidental knowledge in care and security interactions; 4) Risk-related implications (e.g. reduction of currently-known risks, emergence of IoT-related risks); 5) Implications for privacy, the right to protection of personal data, and broader human rights concerns; and 6) Issues relating to whether it is possible to gain informed consent to data collection that has unpredictable potential uses.

To support this work we now invite applications to provide research assistance of the following types:

RA Tasks: Time estimation  
Finding and evaluating the existing academic, legal, ethical, and policy literatures relating to technologisation and the IoT 80 hours
Collating a database of references and full text documents 15 hours

RA will be remunerated and the work should be completed by mid-June (as funds must be claimed and paid out by the end of July). The RA would be required to prepare a full literature review (i.e. sourcing, accessing, reading, and summarising the arguments of relevant scholarly and policy literature) as well as collecting the relevant documents.

If you’re interested please send us an email with academic CV attached by 5pm on May 9th (to f.delondras@bham.ac.uk and r.j.harding@bham.uk). We will make a decision promptly after that.

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fdelondras

Professor of Global Legal Studies, Birmingham. Lawyer, foodie, wonk, avid traveller.

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