Who are we?

We set up “The Online Privacy Foundation” so that we could do something useful for society on a topic that we’re passionate about. Click on the About tab to discover our Charter.

This is who we are.

Core Team

Matthew Shearing, Co-Founder & Chair

Matthew is Chair of the OPF’s Board of Directors and has a career history at the interface between official statistics and domestic and international politics. Working at the heart of the UK and global statistical systems, with policy-makers in the UK, EU, OECD, and UN, Matthew is passionate about the potential of the social sciences to improve people’s lives. Matthew is not on Facebook, yet.

Chris Sumner, Research Director & Co-founder

Chris Sumner is the research director and co-founder of the not-for-profit Online Privacy Foundation, who contribute to the field of online behavioural research. He has authored papers and spoken on this and related topics at leading security, psychology, artificial intelligence and machine learning conferences.

Chris has background in cyber security and is a senior cyber security strategist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), where he has a 18-year track record of building security programs, processes and services in large-scale multinational enterprise organizations.

Chris additionally serves on the call-for-papers review board for the world’s largest annual hacker convention, DEF CON and has provided subject matter expertise for television documentaries and printed media articles.

Gill Empringham, Co-Founder & HR Advisor

Gill has been working in International Human Resources for over 15 years, most recently Gill was a Regional Human Resources Director for a Fortune100 company. She left in late 2010 to start her own Human Resources interim consultancy, balancing her work life with her young family. Gill has extensive employee relations experience, including the use of the internet and data privacy, and has advised many organisations on steps to take with employees and use of Social Media as well as looking at potential data privacy breaches.A keen tweeter, facebooker and linkediner, Gil is part of a HR focus group that is focusing on how organisatons can use Social Media to their advantage.Closely linked to this, Gill is keen to raise awareness among the general public around how organisations are beginning to use social media and what informed choices they can make about their use of social media, particularly in regard to potential damage to their reputations (on and offline). Gill is a member of the OPF Board of Trustees.

Alison Byers, Chief Statistician

Alison is a Civil Servant and statistician with a keen interest in privacy issues. Having spent time working for the Defence and the Health sectors, she is fully aware of the power of information and the steps that should be taken to care for individual level data. With a degree in Experimental Psychology, she also has a keen interest in human behaviour and is fascinated by the effects of culture, religion, emotion, authority, genetics and social norms on people and their actions, thoughts and beliefs.


Gregory Park, Research Psychologist

Gregory is a research psychologist with interests in personality, well-being, and quantitative methods. He is particularly interested in how behavior including our use of social media reveals our psychological traits, states, and other seemingly private information.

Paul Jackson, Legal & Data Protection Advisor

Paul is a former teacher and now civil servant dealing with data protection, freedom of information and privacy matters. He has a particular interest in how the internet and social media could transform the conventional classroom.

Chris Byrne, Public Policy Advisor

Chris is a Public servant and researcher with a passion for government policy analysis. A graduate of History he has an extensive knowledge of modern policy procedures within the UK and internationally. A big technophile Chris is driven to see increasing critical analysis of developments within the digital arena discussed more openly within the public sphere. His other interests include the role of the ‘digital age’ on globalisation, national governments and modern media.

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