Keeping Secrets Online – new security threat research announced
Published On Mon 19 Jun 2017 by Dominic Younger
Eight projects to address some of the security threats facing the UK have been announced by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).
One of the projects is led by Professor Wendy Moncur at the University of Dundee and is aimed at understanding how people keep secrets online, and how this understanding could help develop the UK’s capacity to support people who keep secrets as part of their jobs.”
Professor Moncur’s `Keeping Secrets Online’ project – which looks into how ordinary people use the Internet when they are trying to keep secrets – for example, when escaping from intimate partner violence, having an affair, or buying illegal drugs - could help develop further understanding of human behaviour in a digital age beset by security threats.
Professor Moncur, Interdisciplinary Chair for Digital Living, said “The Internet is a great place for keeping secrets. People use the Internet to conceal things that they shouldn’t be doing, such as affairs and the purchase of illegal drugs, and to hide from people that they are afraid of.
“Understanding more about how ordinary people keep these kinds of secrets will allow us to give extra skills to people who have to keep secrets in their everyday jobs.”
“Our team of interdisciplinary experts from across the University will bring together innovative new methods to contribute to UK efforts to diminish national security threats.”
Dr Anna Gavine, Co-Investigator on the project, said, “Ultimately, by understanding how we keep things close to our chest, we will produce an ‘Illustrated Guide to Keeping Secrets Online’ with potential real-world applications.
“We are really excited to bring together a diverse mix of skills, across technology design, evidence synthesis, policing research and graphic design. Dundee’s approach to interdisciplinary working creates a fertile space for this kind of innovation.”
Professor Nick Fyfe, Co-investigator and Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, who will lead on knowledge exchange activity for the project, ensuring that the findings from the research are shared with Scotland’s policing community as well as wider UK and European audiences.
The Dundee project is one of eight being launched via funding from CREST. After a rigorous and independent review process, these projects (subject to contract) were selected from more than 80 applications to CREST's recent commissioning call. CREST offered £900,000 to fund innovative economic, behavioural, and social science research relevant to understanding and mitigating contemporary security threats.
Speaking about the announcement the Director of CREST, Professor Paul Taylor, said, “We continue to be impressed by the outstanding quality of responses to our call. The successful applicants promise to deliver theoretical innovation that will make a real difference to the work of the security and intelligence agencies. I am looking forward to working with them.”
Wendy Moncur holds a joint appointment at the University of Dundee, across Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. Her recent research topics include ‘Online identity across the human lifespan’ and ‘What happens to your personal data after death’.
For more information about the successful applicants please visit the CREST website at: www.crestresearch.ac.uk/projects/
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