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Postdoctoral Fellow, Surveillance Studies Centre, (Queen’s University)
PhD Political Science, Cultural Social and Political Thought (University of Victoria)
MA Sociology, Cultural Social and Political Thought (University of Victoria)
BA Sociology and Political Science (York University)
Research and Teaching Areas
Technology, Surveillance, Security, Policing, Intelligence, Governance/Governmentality
Interdisciplinary Inquiries into Surveillance and Mobile Applications
I am currently the primary investigator on a five-year SSHRC-funded project, “Understanding the Risks and Regulation of Workplace Surveillance in Canada’s Digital Economy,” with Co-investigator Dr. Urs Hengartner (Associate Professor, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo). The project explores employee monitoring apps, which have become increasingly affordable and accessible, and provide a powerful degree of surveillance about workers: keystroke logging, location monitoring, browser monitoring, and even webcam usage. However, as homes have become offices, and laptops and smartphones are used for business, school, and entertainment, the increasing surveillance of 'remote workplaces' complicates boundaries between work and personal spaces.
The project draws together an innovative interdisciplinary team of academics across Sociology, Law, Computer Science, and Surveillance Studies, expert practitioners in employment and human rights law, as well as union and civil rights organizations (the British Columbia Government and Services Employees Union and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association).
Using critical social theory, and techniques that blend qualitative, computer science, and legal methods, the research merges novel data sets to critically assess the coalescence of new workplace monitoring technologies and shifting labour conditions. Chiefly, it addresses whether Canada’s traditional legal and regulatory approaches adequately protect individuals' privacy, security, and the separation of their personal and professional lives from employer surveillance. It also explores the full ramifications of claims that employee monitoring maintains productivity and cybersecurity by exploring how workplace monitoring apps reshape the wage labour relation, the social organization of work, and the quality of privacy and cybersecurity for businesses and employees alike.
I’ve recently completed two similar interdisciplinary projects on the use, risks, and regulation of consumer spyware (sometimes referred to as ‘stalkerware’). In Australia with Co-Investigator Diarmaid Harkin (Deakin University) and funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, and in Canada with Co-Investigators Christopher Parsons and Ronald J. Deibert (Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto) and funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Overall, these research contributions have helped to define an innovative interdisciplinary methodology for the critical exploration of the implications of emerging digital technologies more broadly.
Surveillance, Policing, (in)Security, and The Politics of Regulation
I also investigate the emergence of new surveillance technologies and analyse techniques in practices of law enforcement and security intelligence. This research inquiry illuminates/reveals/explores the implications of these developments for civil liberties, security, privacy, accountability, and social inequalities. Generally, this work pursues a comparative inquiry into the techniques and policies of surveillance in Canada and Australia, including topics such as police use of network investigative techniques, police use of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the associated ‘politics of regulation’. As former Vice-Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, much of this work has fed directly into submissions to government and Parliamentary consultations.
I also have a range of ongoing studies that fall under the general rubric of ‘security governance projects’ within security intelligence, policing organizations, and cybersecurity.
I am currently Co-Investigator of a five-year SSHRC Partnership Grant entitled ‘The Human-Centric Cybersecurity Partnership’ with PI Benoît Dupont (Université de Montréal). I am also developing a research program on the dynamic role and impacts of private authority in digital policing and cybersecurity with Diarmaid Harkin (Deakin University).
In addition to these projects, I continue to examine security governance and security intelligence practices, public order policing, the privatization of cybersecurity governance, police militarization, major political and sporting events, as well as education and training in security and policing organizations.
Graduate Supervision and Student Opportunities
I am happy to serve on supervisory committees for graduate committees and honours student research in the following areas: surveillance, technology-mediated practices of policing, cybersecurity governance, privacy, accountability, civil liberties, security intelligence, sociology of law, information politics, social theory, governmentality studies, and qualitative research strategies, particularly those including the use of technical/digital research methods.
- Harkin, D. and Molnar, A. 2021. Operating-system design and its implications for victims of family violence: the comparative threat of smart phone spyware for Android versus iPhone users. Violence against women, 27(6-7), 851-875.
- Molnar, A. and Warren, I., 2020. Governing liberty through accountability: Surveillance reporting as technologies of Governmentality. Critical Criminology, Online First: pp.1-14.
- Harkin, D. Molnar, A. and Vowles, E. 2019. The commodification of mobile phone surveillance: an analysis of the consumer spyware industry, Crime, Media, Culture.
- Heemsbergen, L., & Molnar, A. 2020. VPNs as boundary objects of the internet:(Mis) trust in the translation (s). Internet Policy Review, 9(4), 1-19.
- Warren, I., Mann, M., & Molnar, A. 2020. Lawful Illegality: Authorizing Extraterritorial Police Surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 18(3), 357-369.
- Mann, M., Daly, A., & Molnar, A. (2020). Regulatory arbitrage and transnational surveillance: Australia's extraterritorial assistance to access encrypted communications. Internet Policy Review, 9(3), 1-20.
- Whelan, C. and Molnar, A. 2019. Securing Mega-Events: Strategies, Organisation and Legacies. Crime Prevention and Security Management Series, New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
- Molnar, A. and Harkin, D. 2019. The Consumer Spyware Industry: An Australian-based analysis of the consumer spyware industry. Report prepared for the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). August 19.
- Parsons, C., Molnar, A., Dalek, J., Knockel, J., Kenyon, M., Haselton, B., Khoo, C. The Predator in Your Pocket: A Multidisciplinary Assessment of the Stalkerware Application Industry. Citizen Lab, University of Toronto. June 2019.
- Whelan, C. and Molnar, A., 2019. Policing political mega-events through ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ tactics: reflections on local and organisational tensions in public order policing. Policing and Society, 29(1), pp.85-99.
- Molnar, A., Whelan, C. and Boyle, P.J., 2018. Securing the Brisbane 2014 G20 in the wake of the Toronto 2010 G20: ‘Failure-inspired’ learning in public order policing. The British Journal of Criminology, 59(1), pp.107-125.
- Fullenwieder, L., and Molnar, A. 2018. Settler Colonial Governance and Privacy: Canada’s Indian Residential School Agreement, ‘Reconciliation’, and the Mediation of State-based Violence, Special Issue: Privacy at the Margins, (eds. danah boyd and Alice Marwick). International Journal of Communication.
- Parsons, C., & Molnar, A. 2018. Government surveillance accountability: The failures of contemporary canadian interception reports. Canadian journal of law and technology, 16(1), 4.
- Molnar, A. 2017. Technology, Law, and the Formation of (il)liberal Democracy?. Surveillance & Society, 15(3/4), pp. 381-388.
- Molnar, A., Parsons, C. and Zouave, E. 2017. Computer Network Operations and Rule-with-Law in Australia. Internet Policy Review, 6(1), pp. 1-14.
- Whelan, C. and Molnar, A., 2017. Managing flows during mega-events: taking account of internal and external flows in public order policing operations. Global Crime, 18(3), pp.176-197.
- Monaghan, J. and Molnar, A., 2016. Radicalisation theories, policing practices, and “the future of terrorism?”. Critical studies on terrorism, 9(3), pp.393-413.
- Molnar, A. and Parsons, C., 2016. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Law Enforcement in Australia and Canada: Governance Through ‘Privacy’ in an Era of Counter-Law?. In National Security, Surveillance and Terror (pp. 225-247). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
- Molnar, A., 2015. The geo‐historical legacies of urban security governance and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The Geographical