Silkie is our Director. She works to further human rights and equality particularly in the fields of state surveillance, policing tech, big data, internet regulation and AI using parliamentary lobbying, strategic litigation, investigations and public campaigns to successfully change policies and laws.
She has spearheaded several national campaigns including against live facial recognition surveillance, on which her work was featured in the Sundance-nominated documentary Coded Bias (streaming on Netflix). She is regularly invited to give expert evidence on civil liberties matters to UK Parliament and has also given oral evidence on technology and human rights issues to European Parliament and the Bundestag.
Silkie is a recognised media spokesperson on human rights issues, including on flagship political programmes such as BBC Any Questions? and Politics Live, and regularly writes opinion pieces in the Telegraph, with bylines also in the Guardian and Mail among other papers.
Before joining Big Brother Watch, she was the Senior Advocacy Officer at the UK’s oldest human rights organisation Liberty where she led a programme on Technology and Human Rights and launched a legal challenge against mass surveillance powers. She previously worked for Edward Snowden’s official legal defence fund and advocated for Chelsea Manning, among other whistleblowers at risk.
Silkie is the co-author of Information Security for Journalists (2014), which was downloaded over 300,000 times and translated into four languages.
Madeleine is our Senior Advocacy Officer, specialising in surveillance tech.
She has worked with a range of organisations that promote freedom of expression in the UK and globally, including English PEN, Index on Censorship, and Lawyers Without Borders. She has also volunteered for organisations that support refugees across Europe, as well as volunteering with us while completing her Master's degree.
She received a BA in English and Related Literature at the University of York and an MA in Human Rights Law from SOAS, where she specialised in counter-terrorism policy, surveillance, and the right to privacy.
Jake is our Head of Research and Investigations. He is currently digging deep into the use of AI, algorithms, and predictive analytics in welfare and social care.
He previously spent three years working as a news reporter for the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, where he brought stories on big tech to a wide audience and honed a cache of investigative tools.
Before going into journalism Jake received a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford and an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London where he specialised in humanitarian reporting and the post-war reconstruction of Kosovo.
Mark has long been an advocate for civil liberties and democracy and has worked in parliament, party politics, and public affairs. Mark was previously a Parliamentary Assistant where he worked on domestic and international human rights issues including opposition to the death penalty and freedom of religion.
He studied Politics at Stirling University.
Abhinaya is our Digital Communications Officer, supporting us in strengthening our online presence.
Abhinaya is experienced in digital communications, partnerships, and project management. She has previously worked in the higher education sector and in a range of non-profits focusing on education, children's welfare, and women's rights.
She holds an MSc in Media, Communication and Development with a focus on digital inequalities from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Erlend is our Digital Communications Manager, working to grow our impact across our online channels.
Erlend previously worked as Head of Social Media within digital journalism, managing high profile accounts and creating content. He reported extensively from protests during the pandemic. He has also directed and edited documentaries on the conditions asylum seekers were housed in during the pandemic, the arms trade and Julian Assange.
Susannah is our Legal and Policy Officer, focusing on data protection, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression online.
Her experience lies in the counter-terrorism sphere, with a track record of challenging state misuse of counter-terror architecture. Most recently, she has researched the human rights implications of new and emerging technologies in pandemic preparedness and response efforts. She has previously volunteered for organisations helping to support refugee and asylum-seeking women in the UK.
Susannah holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex.
We're supported by an excellent team of five volunteers at any one time. Our volunteers bring a diverse skill set to our team including legal, cybersecurity, human rights, and research expertise. Whilst our volunteers support our investigations and campaigns, we offer a fast-track experience of working with a dynamic campaign organisation.
Alfie supervises our office and makes sure we're morally strong enough to defend civil liberties and to protect privacy.
(He loves attention, by the way.)
Paul’s strong instincts to support the rights of individual citizens against an over-bearing and over-intrusive State have guided him all his life, but it was only when he was made a Life Peer, following a career as a serial entrepreneur, that he was able to actively campaign on privacy issues.
In 2012/13 he sat on the Select Committee considering the draft Communications Data Bill (aka the Snoopers’ Charter) which would have allowed the collection of everyone’s phone calls and Internet activity with little oversight and helped persuade the Deputy Prime Minister to kill it off. He also fought hard against the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016, but with the Liberal Democrats no longer in power, they were unable to prevent it from becoming law and shamefully making British citizens subject to more State surveillance than in any other democracy.
Paul was also involved in campaigning for full implementation of the Leveson Inquiry’s recommendations to stop press intrusion and abuse.
He sees Big Brother Watch as a powerful and independent advocate for all citizens’ right to live without fear of unwarranted intrusion into their personal lives, whether by the State or by large companies and technology giants.
Al is an experienced strategic communications, campaigns, and fundraising expert and a long-standing human rights and civil liberties campaigner. He is currently the Director of Global Communications at Status - a blockchain infrastructure company - which is building pioneering technology and infrastructure to uphold human rights, enable the free flow of information, protect the right to privacy, and promote the sovereignty of individuals.
Al has held senior positions in the human rights sector, including as Chief Operating Officer at the Open Rights Group (ORG) and as Director of Communications and Development at Humanists UK.
Formerly, he was the Head of Membership and Fundraising for the Liberal Democrats, where he successfully built and led the team that achieved unprecedented membership and fundraising growth, having raised record sums of money across a range of different income streams.
Jennifer Robinson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London. Jen has acted in key human rights and media freedom cases in both domestic and international courts. Her work often involves UN engagement and advising governments, individuals, and organisations on international law and human rights issues.
Jen is a trustee of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and sits on the boards of the Grata Fund, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, and the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University.
Mark Littlewood is Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs and the IEA’s Ralph Harris Fellow. Mark has overseen significant growth in the IEA’s size, influence, and media profile during his tenure since 2009. Mark has previously worked as the Campaigns Director of human rights group Liberty and was the co-founder and first chief executive of NO2ID, the campaign against the introduction of identity cards.
Mark is recognised as a powerful, engaging, and articulate spokesman for free markets and the protection of civil liberties. He is a much sought-after speaker at a range of events including university debates, industry conferences, and public policy events.
He also features as a regular guest on flagship political programmes such as BBC Question Time, Newsnight, Sky News, and the Today Programme. He writes a regular column for The Times and features in many other print and broadcast media.
Julianne is a popular barrister at Monckton Chambers whose busy practice covers many of Chambers’ core areas of work. She is particularly active in Public Law and Human Rights, Competition and Regulatory, Data Protection and Freedom of Information, as well as a number of areas of European law. Julianne’s practice involves a mixture of led work, in which she has significant experience of complex and high profile litigation, as well as a substantial amount of work in her own right as sole barrister and advocate. Julianne acts before a range of Courts and Tribunals for clients including multinational corporations, governmental and public bodies and private individuals.