Surveillance Guru Appointed 2016 NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Prof

School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington

Press Release June 2016

Professor William Webster, CRISP Director, has been named as the 2016 New Zealand-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professor to New Zealand.

Professor William Webster of the University of Stirling will be the NZ-UK Link Foundation’s first Visiting Professor to New Zealand. He is a recognised expert on the governance and regulation of privacy and data protection, and the implications and consequences of contemporary technologically intensive surveillance societies. Professor Webster will be attached to the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington for three months from 1 July.

The NZ-UK Link Foundation aims to make a ‘continuing and substantial contribution to the intellectual, educational, vocational and academic underpinning of the bilateral relationship between New Zealand and the UK in a changing world’. The Visiting Professorship programme has been established to advance these aims. 

Professor Webster is a specialist in the emergence of new surveillance technologies in public policy and service settings and a leading authority on the policies and practices surrounding the provision of closed circuit television/video surveillance cameras and systems in public places. He has recently been appointed as an expert advisor to the UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

During his visiting professorship he will be giving a series of talks (five public lectures and three expert seminars) and engaging with academic colleagues, government agencies and other professional in his area of expertise.

Professor Webster says “Surveillance is embedded in a range of technologies that are essential for modern life: mobile phones, supermarket loyalty cards, website cookies or satellite navigation systems in the car. These create a digital footprint and provide valuable personal information that can be used by government agencies and private organisations for a variety purposes.

Within society, the value of privacy is poorly understood and consequently we have very little idea what happens to our personal data, much of which we give away without thinking. We do very little to protect our privacy in a surveillance society. How many people read the terms and conditions before they tick the box to give them access to a new service on the internet? We tick the box unthinkingly because we want the service or product. Currently, we do not have a good enough understanding of the information we are giving away or how it is used. I am really looking forward to exchanging views on these issues with colleagues in New Zealand

The NZ-UK Link Foundation Chairman, David Middleton said “With the question of privacy and the need for public safety a matter of current debate, and Sir Michael Cullen’s recent report on Intelligence and Security under consideration, this is an excellent time for New Zealand and the UK to share their experiences on the issues around privacy and surveillance. Professor Webster’s visit will give those interested in this area the opportunity to discuss international experience and learn from best practice outside New Zealand.”

- Ends –

Notes For Editors

For further information please contact:

David Middleton, Chair of the NZ-UK Link Committee on 021 1896 176 (New Zealand)
Professor Brad Jackson, Head, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington on 04-463-5794 (New Zealand)

Sir Graeme Davies Chaiman NZ-UK Link Foundation:

The NZ-UK Link Foundation

The NZ-UK Link Foundation was established in 1991 as a registered charity whose objectives were ‘the advancement of education for the benefits of the public in the UK and New Zealand’. Briefly, this was to be achieved through the establishment of scholarships and exchange schemes for individuals to study and teach aspects of the economic, social, cultural, and scientific history of both countries and the inter-relationships between them.

For further information see

Location of Visiting Professorship Programme

Professor Webster will be based at The School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. The University will provide access to extensive research facilities and appropriate academic specialists as required. In addition, University provides practical and logistical support to the Visiting Professor.

Professor William Webster

Professor William Webster is Professor of Public Policy and Management at the Stirling Management School, University of Stirling. He is Chair of the Management, Work and Organisation Department and a Director of CRISP (the Centre for Research into Information Surveillance and Privacy), a research centre dedicated to understanding the social impacts and consequences of technologically mediated surveillance practices. Professor Webster has research expertise in the policy processes, regulation and governance of CCTV, surveillance in everyday life, privacy and surveillance ethics, as well as public policy relating to data protection, e-government, and electronic public services. He is chair of the Scottish Privacy Forum and the Living in Surveillance Societies (LiSS) COST Action. He also takes a leading role in a number of international research projects, including the SmartGov (Smart Governance of Sustainable Cities) ESRC project, and the Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies (IRISS) and ‘ASSERT’ European Commission FP7 Projects. He is an editor of the international journal Information Polity and an advisor to the UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

Relevant Websites

Professor William Webster:

CRISP (Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy):

SmartGov ESRC Research Project:

University of Stirling:

Contact Details

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467359


Twitter: @CrispSurv