Core Team

Find out more about our Advisory Board

Dr Daragh Murray

Principal Investigator

Daragh Murray is a Senior Lecturer and IHSS Fellow, based at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London. Daragh’s research expertise is in international human rights law and the law of armed conflict. He has a PhD in Law from the University of Essex, an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, and an MSc in Computer Security & Forensics from Dublin City University, and a BA(mod) in Computer Science from Trinity College, Dublin.

Daragh has a specific interest in artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies, and in using human rights law to more effectively inform ex ante decision-making processes.

Daragh’s research has been covered by BBC Newsnight, BBC PM, PBS Newshour (US), The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, The Financial Times, La Repubblica, Le Monde, BBC Radio 4 and other national news outlets across the world. 

Sarah Zarmsky

Research Assistant

​Sarah Zarmsky is a PhD Candidate and Assistant Lecturer with the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex. Her research focuses on accountability for online harm under international criminal law. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Sarah received her LLM in Public International Law from Leiden University and her BA in Psychology, Legal Studies, and French from Brandeis University.

Sarah has written multiple publications on the intersections between international law, human rights, and new and emerging technologies. In addition to working with the AI & Human Rights Project, Sarah previously served as a Research Assistant to the Human Rights, Big Data, and Technology Project hosted at the University of Essex. In her spare time, she is involved with the Essex Digital Verification Unit, and has previously volunteered as an open-source researcher for the Cameroon Database of Atrocities and Bellingcat.

Sarah also serves as Deputy Managing Editor for the international legal blog OpinioJuris

Dr Ronit Matar

Research Assistant

Ronit is an assistant lecturer at the University of Essex School of Law. Her PhD introduced the emerging right to individual self-determination as a new framework for international human rights law theory and litigation.

Her perspective as a researcher is informed by a strong foundation of critical approaches to international human rights law. Ronit has been involved in various research projects including on reproductive rights, the role of amicus curiae in strategic litigation and incitement to violence during conflict.

She is particularly excited about working in this project as it allows her to explore the right to identity and identity-formation-processes within international human rights law in relation to participation in democracy and mass surveillance. All of which closely resonate with her own PhD research on the right to individual self-determination. 

Previous Members

Niclas Rautenberg

Research Assistant

Niclas works on objective and subjective theories of flourishing to ethically and philosophically ground a human rights framework on the proper use of AI technology. In particular, he analyses L.W. Sumner’s life satisfaction approach, virtue ethics (e.g., Foot, Hursthouse), Sen’s and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach, and Rasmussen’s and Den Uyl’s rights-based approach to flourishing.

Niclas is also a doctoral student in philosophy at the University of Essex, jointly supervised by Jörg Schaub and Fabian Freyenhagen. In his dissertation, he critically discusses existing theories to conflict in the literature of political philosophy. A particular emphasis rests on the phenomenology of conflict experience, appreciating the complexity and diversity of conflict in modern polities. To this end, he conducts interviews with actors from various political milieus. His interests lie somewhere between political and social philosophy, phenomenology, metaethics, and moral psychology. His research is fully funded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation) and the Consortium for the Arts and Humanities South-East England (CHASE).

Previously, Niclas studied philosophy, political science, economics, and psychology at the Free University of Berlin, the University of Tours, and the University of Hamburg.

Ashton Wellsbury

Research Assistant

Ashton is currently writing his PhD thesis, tentatively titled: ‘Thought, Time, and the Other: “Earnestness” and Ethical Subjectivity in Kierkegaard’. His work explores Søren Kierkegaard’s account of ethical life, focusing on the roles of reflection, action, and our relations to others in constituting ethical identity. Outside of his thesis, Ashton also works as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Essex.

For the project, Ashton worked on a paper concerning how individuals’ ethical identities are vulnerable to disruption. Drawing on Kierkegaard’s delineation of the character of public life, the paper provides a philosophical account of how our ethical vulnerability manifests in the public sphere. Understanding this vulnerability in a public context prompts a reconsideration of our current conception of human rights, and whether current human rights law is sufficiently responsive to developments in artificial intelligence and methods of surveillance.

Ashton received both his MA in Philosophy (2020) and BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (2019) from the University of Essex.

Wallace Fan

Research Assistant

Wallace is studying LLM International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex. His dissertation examines the loss of potential evidence of serious human rights and humanitarian violations in content takedowns on social media and the applicability of states’ obligation to investigate in that issue.

His work focuses on open source investigation into human rights abuses. He has been managing teams of student investigators as part of Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps at two different universities since 2019. He is currently working on an article on how the rules governing expert evidence in international criminal proceedings are challenged by the increased use of digital open-source information.