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Providing insight into the world of surveillance

David Lyon receives national award from SSHRC for his research that has changed the way academics, government officials and the public regard personal data. 

A world leader in the field of surveillance studies, Professor David Lyon (Sociology) was honoured on Nov. 16 with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Award.

David Lyon addresses the audience during the SSHRC Impact Awards ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 16. (Image credit: SSHRC)

The Insight Award, one of five awards under the Impact Awards portfolio, recognizes an individual or team whose research has made significant contribution to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. Additionally, the research must have a demonstrable impact both within the academic community and in the broader public. The award is amongst the highest accolades given annually by SSHRC. 

“The research we’ve conducted has increasingly been team-based, and this award really recognizes the work of everyone at the Surveillance Studies Centre and the broader team,” says Dr. Lyon. “I find it gratifying and very affirming that our work has flourished and is been recognized for its timeliness and relevance to every day life as well as to the field of surveillance studies.”

Dr. Lyon, Director of the Surveillance Studies Centre and Queen's Research Chair in Surveillance Studies, was nominated for his work as one of the world’s leading thinkers on surveillance and personal data collection.

“Dr. Lyon’s research has made tremendous contributions to the field of surveillance studies and has helped to change the way academics, government officials and the public look at personal data,” says Dr. Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “This national honour from SSHRC is indicative of the impact of Dr. Lyon’s research nationally and internationally, and furthers Lyon’s belief that concerns about security and civil liberties belong together.”

With the funding from the Impact Award, Dr. Lyon will lead the development of the world’s first open-access online course on surveillance. Ideas put forth in the open-access book Transparent Lives: Surveillance in Canada/Vivre à nu: la surveillance au Canada, and accompanying website, will be converted into a free, online course for the public. This course will show how key surveillance trends produce outcomes that require care in the handling of personal data, drawing attention to the need for privacy, fairness and justice.

For more information on the Impact Awards, please visit the SSHRC website.