Dr Joe Purshouse has spent more than a decade in academia, his PhD thesis is titled Safeguarding Privacy from Criminal Process and he is currently a Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law and Justice at the University of Sheffield.

Joe’s research focuses on the disruptive impact of innovations in technology on the law. His work has been published in leading journals such as Legal Studies, the Journal of Law and Society, the Modern Law Review, Public Law, and Criminal Law Review. His research has contributed to policy debates on the application of law to new technologies in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Joe is also an editor of Privacy, Technology, and the Criminal Process, has written extensively for legal publications and has been quoted widely in the media on issues of privacy and technology.


  • Roberts, J. Purshouse and J. Bosland (eds.) Privacy, Technology and Criminal Justice (Contracted edited collection with Routledge for 2023).
  • Purshouse and L. Campbell, ‘Automated Facial Recognition and Criminal Justice: A Bridge Too Far?’ (2021) 42 Legal Studies 209.
  • Purshouse, ‘Paedophile Hunters, Criminal Procedure and Fundamental Human Rights’ (2020) 47 Journal of Law and Society 384.
  • Purshouse and L. Campbell, ‘Privacy, Crime Control and Police Use of Automated Facial Recognition Technology’ [2019] Criminal Law Review 188.
  • Purshouse, ‘Non-Conviction Disclosure as Part of an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate: Assessing the Legal Framework from a Fundamental Human Rights Perspective’ [2018] Public Law 668.
  • Purshouse, ‘Article 8 and the Retention of Non-Conviction DNA and Fingerprint Data in England and Wales’ [2017] Criminal Law Review 253.
Case Notes
  • Purshouse, ‘The Reasonable Expectation of Privacy and the Criminal Suspect’ (2016) 76 Modern Law Review 871.
Book Reviews
  • Purshouse, ‘Review: ‘Trials of the State’ by Jonathan Sumption’ (2020) 83 Modern Law Review 1366.
  • Purshouse, ‘Review: Privacy Revisited’ by Ronald Krotoszynski (2017) 76 Cambridge Law Journal 449.
  • Purshouse, ‘R (on the application of Catt) and R (on the application of T) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis: Police powers to retain personal data relating to criminal activities’ (2015) 79 The Journal of Criminal Law 242-245.
  • Purshouse, ‘Review: Genetics, Crime, and Justice’ by Debra Wilson (2015) 10 Criminal Law Review 837.
  • Purshouse, ‘Review: The Privilege Against Self-Incrimination and Criminal Justice’ by Andrew Choo’ (2014) 73 Cambridge Law Journal 646.
  • Lynch, L. Campbell, J. Purshouse, M. Betkier, The Use of Facial Recognition Technology in New Zealand (Law Foundation of New Zealand Report Series, 2021).
  • Lynch, L. Campbell, J. Purshouse, M. Betkier, ‘Facial Recognition Technology: Legal and Ethical Parameters’ (Discussion paper, University of Wellington, Workshop on the Regulation of Facial Recognition Technology, 2019).
Written Evidence
    1. Purshouse, N. Lynch, L. Campbell, and M. Betkier, Written Evidence on New Technologies and the Application of Law (House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee, 2021).
    2. Purshouse, Name Suppression and the Criminal Process (Law Commission Consultation, July 2021)
    3. Purshouse and D. Mead, Written Evidence on The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights, 2020).
    4. Mead and J. Purshouse, Written Evidence on The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (UK Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights, 2020).
    5. Purshouse, L. Campbell, N. Lynch, and M. Betkier, Facial Recognition Technology Inquiry (Sub-Justice Committee on Policing for the Scottish Parliament, 2019).
    6. Purshouse, Written Evidence on the work of the Biometrics Commissioner and the Forensic Science Regulator (UK Parliament Science and Technology Select Committee, 2019).

Joe has also peer reviewed publications for several internationally recognised publishers and journals, including: Modern Law Review, Public Law, Routledge, Hart Publications, and Forensic Science International; and Criminal Justice Studies.

Media Contributions

Through blogs, articles and comments, Joe has informed public debate in the media on a variety of topics including online child abuse activist gangs, facial recognition technology and self-defence law.

Joe has appeared in coverage across the globe including Canada, New Zealand and Australia as well as the UK and Ireland.

Online Child Abuse Activist Groups
  • ‘Vigilante ‘paedophile hunters’ prevent police from focusing on dangerous targets’ The Telegraph, 21 February 2021. Also covered in France 24, Yahoo! UK, Yahoo! Canada, MSN New Zealand. Quoted.
  • ‘Paedophile Hunters “could jeopardise criminal proceedings”, study warns’ The Independent, 18 June 2020. Quoted. Also covered in MSN, Yahoo, BBC Radio Norfolk, BBC Radio Suffolk
  • ‘TikTok removes Australian account purporting to hunt paedophiles’ Guardian Australia, 1 March 2020. Quoted.
  • ‘Paedophile Hunters: how citizen-led policing is putting lives at risk’ The Conversation. 5 January 2019. Republished in Scroll. Blog post.
Facial Recognition Technology
  • ‘Regulation Gap for facial recognition technology, law expert says’ Radio New Zealand, 3 December 2020. Quoted for article and radio broadcast.
  • ‘Police Should Pause Use of Facial recognition Technology’ The Times, 16 January 2020. Article.
  • ‘Scots Flag Concerns Over Facial Recognition’ The Sunday Times, 3 November 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘Government should recommend a moratorium on use of facial recognition in Scotland, academics say’ The Scotsman, 2 November 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘Matthew Gudgin Show’, BBC Radio Norfolk, 20 May 2019. Comment on facial recognition regulation.
  • ‘Facial recognition technology violates privacy, claims campaigner’, Financial Times, 21 May 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘Police use of ‘intrusive’ and ‘inaccurate’ facial recognition tech challenged in UK court’, The Mirror, 20 May 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘Police use of ‘intrusive’ and ‘inaccurate’ facial recognition tech challenged in UK court’, MSN News, 20 May 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘Before facial recognition tech can be used, it needs to be limited’, The Conversation, 21 February 2019. Blog Post with Prof. Liz Campbell. Republished by The Independent and Yahoo News.
  • ‘Police facial recognition ‘could violate human rights’’ Eastern Daily Press, 9 February 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘Police are using facial recognition in a ‘legal vacuum and should face regulation’, The Telegraph, 8 February 2019. Quoted.
  • ‘News at Six’, BBC TV East Midlands, 8 February 2019. Comment on facial recognition article.
  • ‘Heart Norwich’, Heart East Anglia Radio, 8 February 2019. Quoted.
Other Criminal Law Topics
  • ‘Jason Mohammad Show’, BBC Radio Wales, 23 October 2019. Comment on self-defence law.
  • ‘Breakfast Show’, BBC Radio Norfolk, 20 August 2019. Comment on self-defence law.
  • ‘Privacy needs protection from the police’ The Times. 1 August 2018. Article.
  • ‘Police disclosures that cost a man two jobs set a dangerous precedent’ The Times. 1 December 2017. Article.
  • ‘Anonymity and the Undercover Policing Inquiry’, Information, Society, Policy @UEA, April 2017. Blog Post.
  • ‘Acid attacks: Are tougher sentences the answer?’ Eastern Daily Press, 18 July 2019. Article.
  • ‘After Kerri McAuley, is the government finally taking domestic abuse seriously?’, Eastern Daily Press, 4 July 2017. Article.


Joe is regularly invited to, and attends seminars, workshops and other events.

  • Public debate: Is there a legitimate role for facial recognition in policing and law enforcement? (London School of Economics, 14 June 2022)
  • Criminal Law Reform Now Network September (Online, September 2021)
  • Research in Practice: Responding to OCAG event (July 2021, Online).
  • Dragon Hall Debates: Surveillance (The National Centre for Writing, February 2021).
  • Legal Hackers Sheffield (November 2020, online)
  • Online Child Abuse Activism National Symposium (Cambridgeshire Constabulary, November 2020).
  • Ada Lovelace Facial Recognition Dinner (Royal Society, January 2020).
  • ‘Facial Recognition Technology and the Limits of Law’, Public Panel on the
  • Legal and Ethical Implications of Facial Recognition Technology (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, October 2019).
  • ‘The regulation of facial recognition surveillance in a UK context’, Stakeholder workshop on the regulation of FRT (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, October 2019).
  • ‘Privacy, Crime Control and Police Use of Automated Facial Recognition Technology’, Policing and Technology Workshop (Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, March 2019).
  • University of Nottingham PhD Research Presentation Day (University of Nottingham, February 2019).
  • ‘Non-Conviction Criminal Record Disclosure and Citizenship’ (University of Sheffield, April 2017).
  • Medsin: Decriminalisation of Drugs Debate (University of East Anglia, October 2016).
  • Modern Law Review Seminar on Obstacles to Fairness in Criminal Proceedings (University of Nottingham, September 2016).
  • Policing, Protest and Human Rights Seminar (Sheffield Hallam University, March 2016).


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