I’m looking to start building my research team! I’m interested in working with excellent PhD students to join me in the Cybersecurity group at King’s. I work across topics in online privacy, cybersecurity, HCI, and law. See my publications to get an idea of my interests.
- I have a personal fully-funded PhD scholarship available
- KCL offers fully-funded scholarships for exceptional candidates
- King’s China Scholarships (for Chinese nationals)
- All of the above cover full fees and a living stipend
- Alternative funding: if you are keen to do a PhD but are not sure how to fund, or wish to self-fund, I am happy to work towards putting together applications for PhD scholarships
Are you the right fit?
I am interested in students who can demonstrate some technical skills (e.g. programming), HCI skills (e.g. user studies, interviews) and research skills (e.g. data analysis, paper writing). King’s expects students to have First-Class Honours at Undergraduate level or Distinction at Master’s level (or its international equivalent).
As I am sure you appreciate, academics get many emails from prospective PhD students, many of whom send out their proposals to hundreds of academics and have little/no bearing on their research! I don’t normally have time to respond to these. If you meet the above criteria and want to do a PhD, get in touch with:
- Your CV
- A paragraph about your proposed research and why you are the right person to conduct it
- A paragraph on what you think a PhD will involve and why you want to do one
- Your favourite publication
- A sentence on your favourite animal
Exploring Alternative Permissions Mechanisms for Personal Data
Installing a new app or unpacking a new smart home device almost always involves
granting a range of permissions about how those products can use your personal data.
Browsing the web similarly requires making a vast number of decisions about cookies
and other tracking technologies. But giving consent in this way often doesn’t really feel
like consenting at all, and prior work in this area has highlighted the implausibility that
the mechanisms we use fulfil the requirements of what is understood as informed
This is particularly apparent in contexts where multiple people are using the
same device. “Bystander” partners, children, family, and housemates are often left out of
the installation process, even though information about them is also being collected.
Instead, one member of the household unilaterally makes decisions for everybody else.
This echoes the model adopted by data protection regulation, which (broadly) controls
the use of data on those within the home by organisations outside of it, avoiding the
topic of privacy between cohabitants.
This PhD project will build on my and other existing work in this area to explore alternatives to the status quo described above, including the potential for novel automated and group privacy decision making mechanisms. It will do so across a range of different interaction modalities (such as graphical, voice, and touch interfaces) and social contexts. You’ll be able to shape the direction of the project to fit your own interests. Key skills and research methodologies will include some of the following, tailored to your preferences:
- Qualitative interviews and/or focus groups with users and designers
- Quantitative surveys with users
- Lightweight prototyping and speculative design (potentially including programming prototypes)
- More creative methods such as home deployments and creating interactive experiences
William Seymour, Mark Cote, and Jose Such. 2023. Legal Obligation and Ethical Best Practice: Towards Meaningful Verbal Consent for Voice Assistants. In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’23). https://doi.org/10.1145/3544548.3580967