Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

Data Protection, Privacy, Data Management, Information Rights, Freedom of Information, Surveillance, E-Democracy,  Internet Law,  Media Law

Key Research Interests

Dr Karen Mc Cullagh,  PhD, MSc, LLM, LLB, PG Dip. Higher Education Practice, PG Cert. Professional Legal Studies (Solicitor), Senior Fellow of Higher Education Academy.

Karen’s research specialism is information rights: both the commercial and fundamental rights aspects of privacy and data protection and Freedom of Information, as an aspect of public law. Her research is multidisciplinary in nature; it explores the legal and policy implications of online behaviours and emerging technologies, with a particular focus on privacy and data protection in the context of the creative, digital, and sharing sectors of the UK's economy. 

Her key research interests are: Data Protection, Privacy, Freedom and Freedom of Information law. She also has an interest in regulating technology. 


PhD supervision interests

Karen is interested in supervising research students in all areas of privacy and data protection, freedom of information, and other legal aspects of information technology, such as the use of social media technologies to promote e-democracy and freedom of expression. 


Completed PhD Research Students

Michael Heslin, (PhD, 2024) “The Future Hurtles Towards the Past: The Structure of Moral Enterprise Liability.” 

Bradley Foster, (PhD, 2023) "Fake News’: Legal and Psychological Challenges in the Regulation of Social Media."

Laura Caulton, (PhD, 2020), “Communications offences and social media: Evidencing a hybrid approach to dealing with low-level criminal cyber speech from perpetration to conviction.”

Warut Songsujaritkul, (PhD 2018), "Rethinking Media Plurality Regulation: Promoting Exposure Diversity and Controlling the Power of New Online Selection Intermediaries."  


Teaching Interests

Teaching Interests

Karen is the module organiser for Internet Law & Governance and teaches the Law of E-Commerce modules and teaches on the the LLM Programme: IP & IT Law. She also teaches on the  undergraduate module, Internet Law.

Teaching Excellence 

Karen is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Karen won a UEA Students' Union Transforming Education Award in 2017-18, under the category: Advisor of the Year Award, and the UEA Student Law Society award in the category: ‘Lecturer who makes me want to attend a 9am lecture!,’ in the academic year 2015-16.  She also received a UEA Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012-2013.

She was also  nominated for an OUP Law Teacher of the Year Award in 2019, and a Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Salford in 2008 and 2011.  

Teaching Pedagogy

Karen contributed as executive member of BILETA to the development of a Lecture Recording Policy, and to the development of JISC's National Centre for AI development of a report  A Pathway to responsible, ethical AI, and contributed to the development of UEA's Lecture Capture Policy. 

Karen conducted a pilot study on the use of films and documentaries to teach Internet law during the academic year 2016-17.  She disseminated the findings of her study in three different ways: a poster at the University’s Learning & Teaching Conference in May 2017 and at the BILETA conference 2018, and article in the University’s Learning Highlights Magazine (Spring edition).

She also conducted a study on the use of ‘clicker quizzes’ to improve interaction and engagement in Lectures and as a formative assessment tool in 2011. She presented the findings of the clicker study at the 6th annual Education in a Changing Environment Conference where the paper was shortlisted for a prize. She also disseminated the findings of the action study in the journal: Practice and Evidence of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.  


Administrative Posts

MAHEP Evaluative Conversation Assessor (2019-)

Course Director, LLM Media Law Policy & Practice (2016-20)

Member of PG Teaching & Learning Committee (2016-20)

Member of UG Teaching & Learning Committee (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15)

Member of Staff Student Liaison Committee (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16)

Deputy Senior Adviser (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16)

Personal Adviser (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16)

Year One Co-ordinator (2012-13) 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

… → 2023

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Manchester

… → 2012

Master of Science, University of Manchester

… → 2004

Media Expertise

  • Law
  • Technology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or