The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

Data Vultures Destroying Democracy?

Image of blurred lines of code on a screen - FoP 2022 Twitter card for Data Vultures Destroying Democracy?

Saturday 13 August 2022, at the Scottish Parliament


Our phones and laptops harvest information on everything from our habits to our likes and medical issues. Information is collected and shared without our awareness or permission by data gathering companies and so-called ‘data vultures’?

Who is regulating this mass surveillance and how can we protect our privacy and democracy from a trend that is undermining equality?

This event, which took place as part of the Scottish Parliament’s 2022 Festival of Politics, explored the increasing role of data collection and use in our society.

In an open question-and-answer session, the expert panel reflected on technological innovation and its impact on us as individuals. They also explored the challenges of public understanding and regulation, as well as the implications for democracy.

Listen to the event

Festival of Politics: Data vultures destroying democracy Podcasts By The Scottish Parliament


Professor Ewa Luger, Co-Director of the Institute of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. Professor Luger works with the World Economic Forum on issues of data and trust.

Dr Sam Fowles, a barrister specialising in public and constitutional law and author of the book “Overruled: Confronting Our Vanishing Democracy in 8 Cases”.

Professor Charles Raab, a Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and a Director of the Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy.


Close-up of Esther Roberton, Director of Scotland's Futures Forum

Esther Roberton is on the board of directors of Scotland’s Futures Forum. She is currently the chair of Fife Cultural Trust and a Director of the Fife Housing Group.

Esther was actively involved in the campaign to secure Scotland’s Parliament, as Co-ordinator of the Scottish Constitutional Convention and as a member of the Consultative Steering Group that developed the standing orders for the Parliament.