Paul Bernal

Paul Bernal


  • 0.15 Earlham Hall

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Personal profile


Paul Bernal is Associate Professor in Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law in the UEA School of Law. His background is unusual for a legal academic. His first degree was in mathematics, at Cambridge University, 20 years ago, and he is a qualified Chartered Accountant. For over 20 years he worked as an auditor, in finance for big companies in the City, done pioneering work in the early days of the internet, including setting up and running the first online real-time education system for children to operate in the UK, and been finance director of a charity dealing with mental health and criminal justice.

That lead him to the study of human rights law - his PhD at the LSE concerned the interaction between human rights and internet privacy and in particular, the commercial gathering and use of personal data - particularly by organisations like Google and Facebook - and how that use affects our lives, and will increasingly affect our lives in the future. This has become his speciality - he has published three books (two monographs with Cambridge University Press, and a short, accessible book with Sage) as well as many articles on all aspect of the subject.

External Activities

  • Paul has a strong media profile, appearing on local, national and international TV and radio, as well as contributing to newspapers, magazines and online on a regular basis. He is a prolific tweeter and a successful blogger, covering not just law and privacy but politics and related matters. . He has written pieces for Index on Censorship and the Open Rights Group and appeared on both local and national radio. He is a memner of the advisory council for the Open Rights Group and of the National Police Chiefs' Council's Independent Digital Eithics Panel for Policing.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Paul’s current research centres around internet related issues: privacy, surveillance, freedom of expression and other human rights. He looks at the role of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and how the law deals with our interactions with each other, with businesses and with authorities. His three books: Internet Privacy Rights: Rights to Protect Autonomy (CUP, 2014), The Internet, Warts and All: Free Speech, Privacy and Truth (CUP, 2018) and What Do We Know And What Should We Do About Internet Privacy (Sage, 2020) cover various aspects of this subject. Paul's work also covers such subjects as trolling, fake news and other online harms.


IT law; the internet and human rights; privacy and data protection; social networking and online identity.

Areas Of Expertise


Teaching Interests

  • Paul’s teaching includes elements of Internet Law and Media Law for undergraduates, and he is the course organiser for the postgraduate course The Protection and Management of Privacy and Reputation. Paul is also the course director for the LLM in Media Law, Policy and Practice. Paul also does work with other schools: he represents the Law School in the multidisciplinary course ‘Media and Society’, and teaches on  ‘Essential Law and Public Affairs for Journalists’ for students on the Broadcast Journalism MA.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment 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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions