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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.

Griff Ferris — Legal and Policy Officer

Griff joined us in July 2017. He investigates and challenges infringements of human rights and oppression by the state, police and private companies.

Prior to joining Big Brother Watch Griff worked as a litigation paralegal, took on employment and social security cases for the Free Representation Unit, and volunteered for Reprieve and Liberty. He has also previously volunteered for the Lambeth Law Centre and at Toynbee Hall’s free legal advice clinic, giving legal advice and assistance to the local communities. He studied law at the University of Bristol and LSE, focusing on human rights, counter-terrorism and criminal law.

Volunteers

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 the Investigatory Powers Act in 2016 but with the Liberal Democrats no longer in power they were unable to prevent it 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 which achieved unprecedented membership and fundraising growth and raised record sums of money across a range of income streams.

Dinah Rose QC

Dinah Rose QC is a barrister practising at Blackstone Chambers. Her areas of specialism include human rights and civil liberties, public law and equality law.

Dinah has appeared in a number of recent leading cases concerning State surveillance. She represented Tom Watson MP in his successful challenge to the Data Retention Investigatory Powers Act, acted for a number of NGOs in proceedings in Strasbourg challenging aspects of the RIPA regime, and represented Privacy International in its recent appeal to the Supreme Court, which established that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal is subject to judicial review by the High Court. She also represented The Guardian in its successful challenge to the veto by the Attorney General of disclosure of Prince Charles’ letters to ministers.

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).