Dr. Sandra Wachter
Postdoctoral Researcher and MSc Alumna, Oxford Internet Institute

Dr. Sandra Wachter

Dr. Sandra Wachter is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Data Ethics and Algorithms at the Oxford Internet Institute and a member of the Ethics and Philosophy of Information research cluster. Her research focuses on the legal and ethical implications of Big Data, AI, and robotics as well as governmental surveillance, predictive policing, and human rights online. Prior to joining the OII, Sandra worked at the Alan Turing Institute and the Royal Academy of Engineering on topics such as connectivity, AI, and autonomous systems. She serves as a policy advisor for governments and NGO’s around the world on regulatory and ethical questions concerning emerging technologies. She is also a member of the Affect- and Psychotechnology Studies Network and the Law Committee of the IEEE.

Her immediate research focuses on ethical design of algorithms, including the development of standards and methods to ensure fairness, accountability, transparency, interpretability, and group privacy in complex algorithmic systems. Her most recent paper “Why a Right to Explanation of Automated Decision-Making Does Not Exist in the General Data Protection Regulation” explains the lack of transparency and accountability mechanisms in the GDPR and provides guidance on how to improve Europe’s Digital Market Strategy.

Sandra’s research also addresses legal and ethical aspects of robotics (e.g. surgical, domestic and social robots) and autonomous systems (e.g. autonomous and connected cars), including liability, accountability, and privacy issues as well as international policies and regulatory responses to the social and ethical consequences of automation.

Sandra holds a Master’s and PhD in law specialising on European, International, and human rights law as well as technology and data protection law. In her PhD, she explored the concept of democracy according to the European Court of Human Rights and tested whether democracy is compatible with mass surveillance methods such as the European Data Retention Directive. Sandra also holds a Master’s of Science from the Oxford Internet Institute. Her thesis looked at tensions between freedom of speech and the right to privacy on social networks.

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