Queen’s surveillance expert makes an impact

Queen’s surveillance expert makes an impact

Sociology professor David Lyon one of three finalists for national award. 

By Chris Moffatt Armes

September 3, 2015


Queen’s University Sociology professor David Lyon, an international leader in Surveillance Studies, has been named one of three finalists for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Award. These awards are amongst the highest achievements given annually by SSHRC. 

The Insight Award, one of five awards under the Impact Awards portfolio, recognises an individual or team whose research has made significant contribution to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. Additionally, their research must have a demonstrable impact both within the academic community and in the broader public.

David Lyon
Queen's Sociology professor, Dr. David Lyon, has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 SSHRC Impact Award, Insight category.

“It’s certainly very gratifying to be selected as a finalist for an Impact Award and especially encouraging for the team with which I work and the Surveillance Studies Centre that I direct,” says Dr. Lyon.

“Our research addresses key social science issues — the place of the human in the digital world, particularly questions of control and privacy — and also urgent public issues concerning surveillance that are in the daily headlines.”

Dr. Lyon, who serves as director of the Surveillance Studies Centre and is the Queen's Research Chair in Surveillance Studies, was nominated for his work as one of the world’s leading thinkers on surveillance and the implications of having personal data collected and analyzed by organizations. He has been credited with spearheading the development and growth of surveillance studies as a worldwide, interdisciplinary field and bringing attention to the need for balance in the analysis of surveillance measures.

“Dr. Lyon’s research has demonstrated tremendous value and influence both within the academic community as well as in the broader public sphere,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “In an ever-more connected world, Dr. Lyon’s research is timely and relevant to the ongoing need to balance security with concern for civil liberties.”

As well as his extensive writings for academic journals, Dr. Lyon also makes his research accessible to a broader popular audience. He is regularly asked to comment on security issues by national and international media outlets and is recognized by governments and NGOs as a leading expert on surveillance issues. The winners of the SSHRC Impact Awards will be publicly announced at a ceremony in Ottawa on November 16. For more information, visit the SSHRC website

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