Media Release: Stirling Management School leads surveillance research after 2.6million Euro grant

THE University’s Stirling Management School, and a large and varied consortium of partners from across Europe, have secured a three year research grant of 2.6million Euros for Increasing Resilience in Surveillance (IRISS), a project to examine democratic responses to the widespread surveillance technologies which have become part of our everyday lives.

IRISS researchers will look at the resilience of societies, at how they react and adjust to the knowledge that they are being observed, and their personal information is being gathered, in a myriad of ways. The researchers will analyse the impact of surveillance on people’s everyday lives, focussing on the effects that surveillance practices, introduced to combat crime and terrorism, can have on citizens in open and democratic societies.

The project will examine the driving forces that have led to the spread of these practices and review current research on public attitudes towards surveillance, the impact of surveillance on civil liberties and citizens’ trust in political institutions

Dr William Webster, of Stirling Management School, says: “We are in a surveillance society because of the technologies that track, record and capture our movements. The most obvious is CCTV, but there is also the technology that we unthinkingly use everyday: mobile phones, Satnav and the internet.

“The project will look at how democratic societies are responding to the existence of these surveillance opportunities. We’re interested in how individuals in different societies respond … does it bother them? Are they content that this personal information is collected and used without their knowledge? How many people resist this information gathering i.e. by vandalising CCTV cameras?

“The project will examine how different societies respond to the surveillance society – underpinning that societies are different and so they respond differently. Countries of the former Eastern European bloc have a history of surveillance – does that mean they respond differently to today’s surveillance?”

Says a spokesperson: “Throughout Europe we have rights as citizens to access some of the information that is held about us. IRISS researchers will look at how many people try to access the knowledge held about them, in which countries people are doing that more than others and why.

“At the end of the project period, IRISS will produce a comprehensive account of resilience options, focusing on strengthening democratic processes and public discourse about appropriate reactions to threats against open democratic societies.”

IRISS is funded by the European Commission FP7 Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities project. More information can be found at the IRISS microsite


For further information, contact Dr William Webster at the Stirling Institute for Socio-Management, Stirling Management School:  or 01786 467 359.

Notes to Editors

IRISS (Increasing Resilience in Surveillance Societies) is a ‘Collaborative Project’ under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (

The ISISS project is being undertaken by a large and varied consortium of partners from across Europe. These are:   Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology, Austria:   Trilateral Research & Consulting, UK;   University of Stirling, UK;   University of Edinburgh, UK;   Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute, Hungary;   Institute of Technology Assessment, Austria;   University of Sheffield, UK;  University of Hamburg, Germany;   Vrije University of Brussels, Belgium;   Open University, UK;  Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain;   Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung, Germany;   Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway;   Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy;   Comenius University, Bratislava Slovakia;   Universität der Bundeswehr München, Germany.

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Contact: Patricia Hess
Phone: 01 786 466 687