Dr. Colin Bennett

Dr. Colin Bennett
Political Science
Office: DTB A336

PhD (1986) (Illinois)

Area of expertise

Comparative politics, public policy, politics of information

Featured publications:

Colin Bennett received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Wales, and his Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 1986 he has taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, where he is now Professor. From 1999-2000, he was a fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In 2007 he was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at University of California, Berkeley. In 2010, he was Visiting Professor at the School of Law, University of New South Wales. In 2013, he was a Visiting Professor with the Law, Science, Technology and Society Centre at the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels.

His research has focused on the social implications of new information technologies, and on the development and implementation of privacy protection policies at the domestic and international levels. In addition to numerous scholarly and newspaper articles, he has authored or edited six books: Regulating Privacy: Data Protection and Public Policy in Europe and the United States (Cornell University Press, 1992); Visions of Privacy: Policy Choices for the Digital Age (University of Toronto Press, 1999, co-edited with Rebecca Grant); The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in the Digital Age (The MIT Press, 2006, co-authored with Charles Raab); The Privacy Advocates: Resisting the Spread of Surveillance (The MIT Press, 2008); Playing the Identity Card: Surveillance, Security and Identification in Global Perspective (Routledge, 2008 co-edited with David Lyon); and Security Games: Surveillance and Control at Mega-Events (Routledge, 2011, co-edited with Kevin Haggerty).

He has completed policy reports on privacy and data protection for the Canadian government, the Canadian Standards Association, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the European Commission, the UK Information Commissioner and others. He is currently the co-investigator of a large Major Collaborative Research Initiative grant entitled, "The New Transparency: Surveillance and Social Sorting." He is also currently working on a comparative research project on the use of personal data by political parties and election campaigns.

  • Comparative politics and public policy (advanced industrial countries)
  • American government and politics
  • Information and communications policy

PhD Fellowships Available

Postgraduate Scholarships at the PhD level are available in the Department of Political Science to work on a project, funded through a SSHRC Partnership Grant, on “Big Data Surveillance” under the supervision of Dr. Colin Bennett.The project is a broad interdisciplinary and comparative analysis of the development and impact of big data analytics in many domains: security, consumer, welfare, electoral, intelligence, employment and others. The project is coordinated through the Surveillance Studies Center at Queens University.

Students with theoretical and empirical interest in surveillance studies, information and communications technology and politics, the politics of the Internet, security and intelligence, and privacy and civil liberties in Canada and internationally are encouraged to apply. I am especially interested in students able to assist with my project on voter surveillance. Students will be funded through a combination of fellowship, research assistance, and teaching assistance funds, to a value of $20,000/year for four years.

In coming to the Department of Political Science at UVIC, doctoral students will be joining a vibrant PhD program based in a Department that values excellence in research and teaching. In addition to regular teaching assistant training and support, students will have other opportunities for professional development, such as research training, support for conference presentations and workshop participation, and field research support. Students also have many opportunities to participate in the activities of the Pacific Center for Technology and Culture: www.pactac.net

Applicants must apply for the PhD program in the Department of Political Science and indicate an interest in working on this project. Informal enquiries should be made to Dr. Colin Bennett: cjb@uvic.ca