Paul Bernal is a Lecturer 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. Over the last 20 years he has 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.
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. A book based in part on his PhD, titled ‘Internet Privacy Rights: rights to protect autonomy’, will be published in early 2014 by Cambridge University Press.