Speaker: Dr Ben Collier, University of Edinburgh

Influence policing is an emerging phenomenon: the use of digital targeted ‘nudge’ communications campaigns by police forces and law enforcement agencies to directly achieve strategic policing outcomes.

While scholarship, civil society, and journalism have focused on political influence and targeting (often by malicious actors), there has been next to no research on the use of these influence techniques and technologies by governments for preventative law enforcement. With grant funding from SIPR and support from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), we have studied how this novel mode of police practice is developing through an in-depth study of Police Scotland’s strategic communications unit and a wider systematic overview of these campaigns across the UK.

Ben Collier is a Lecturer in Digital Methods at the University of Edinburgh. He is additionally collaborating with the Cambridge Cybercrime Centre on a number of active research projects. Ben has experience in using a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, and is particularly interested in criminological research which engages with Internet infrastructure. Ben completed a PhD at SCCJR (University of Edinburgh) researching the Tor Project, which is being published as a book with MIT Press in April, titled Tor: From the Dark Web to the Future of Privacy.