Our team

Silkie Carlo — Director

Silkie is our Director. She is a lifelong campaigner for the protection of civil liberties, particularly in the context of new and emerging technologies. She works to uphold rights in the fields of state surveillance, policing technologies, big data, artificial intelligence, and free expression online.

Before joining Big Brother Watch in January 2018, she was the Senior Advocacy Officer at Liberty, where she led a programme on Technology and Human Rights and launched a legal challenge to the Investigatory Powers Act. She previously worked for Edward Snowden’s official defence fund and whistleblowers at risk.

Silkie is also an information security trainer and organises Cryptoparty London. She is the co-author of Information Security for Journalists

Madeleine Stone — Legal and Policy Officer

Madeleine is our Legal and Policy Officer, focusing on the impact of the emergency coronavirus powers on civil liberties.

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 Hurfurt — Head of Research and Investigations

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 Johnson — Legal and Policy Officer

Mark is our Legal and Policy Officer, focusing on freedom of expression and policing and technologies.

Mark has long been an advocate for civil liberties and democracy and has worked in parliament, party politics, and public affairs. He was previously a Senior Public Affairs Executive at the Advertising Association. Prior to that role Mark was 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.


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 — CMO (Chief Morale Officer)

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.)

Our board

Lord Paul Strasburger (Chair)

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 Ghaff

Al is the Principal at Ignium Strategy, a fundraising, monetisation, and income generation firm that assists clients, ranging from NGOs to commercial organisations in delivering long-standing growth through designing and delivering integrated communications and fundraising strategies.

As the Head of Membership and Fundraising at the Liberal Democrats and in his following role, as the Director of Communications and Development at Humanists UK, he successfully built and led teams that achieved unprecedented membership and fundraising growth and raised record sums of money across a range of income streams.

Mark Littlewood

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.

Tim Knox

Tim Knox is the Former Director of the Centre for Policy Studies where he edited and oversaw the publication of over 400 policy papers. Many of these led to extensive public re-consideration of important policy areas; other papers have led directly to important policy reforms (such as Poor People! Stop Paying Tax! which argued for raising the income tax threshold to £10,000, or Michael Johnson’s recent pension papers which have heavily influenced pension liberalisations since 2010).