Assistant Professor

Postdoctoral Fellow, Surveillance Studies Centre, (Queen’s University)
PhD Political Science, Cultural Social and Political Thought (University of Victoria)
MA Sociology (University of Victoria)
BA Sociology and Political Science (York University)

Research and Teaching Areas

Technology, Surveillance, Security, Policing, Intelligence, Governance/Governmentality

Current research

Surveillance, Policy, and Civil Liberties

I investigate the emergence of new surveillance technologies and investigative techniques in practices of law enforcement and security intelligence, and consider the implications for civil liberties, security, privacy, accountability, and social inequalities. I’m also interested the politics of socio-legal and technology-driven regulatory approaches in the field of policing and security. Often, through comparative inquiry into techniques and policies of surveillance in Canada and Australia, I have examined a range of developments including lawful access and encryption policy, government use of computer network operations, police use of unmanned aerial vehicles, and government surveillance reporting and accountability. As former Vice-Chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, much of this work has fed directly into submissions to government and Parliamentary consultations. More recently, I’ve completed two interdisciplinary projects on the use, risks, and regulation of consumer spyware in Australia (Co-Investigator with Diarmaid Harkin at Deakin University and funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network) and in Canada (Co-Investigator with Christopher Parsons and Ronald J. Deibert at the 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). More information can be found below on my research interests and publications.

Technology, Liberalism, and the Politics of Regulation

A significant part of my research seeks to understand the relationship between uses of technology in security and policing, governance, and the politics of knowledge. Through this work, I draw on problem-oriented empirical studies and critical social and political theories to attempt to account for the limits of regulatory responses within a liberal democratic polity. I am especially interested in how knowledge practices that shape the use of technologies as a tool for crime control intersect with law and policy. As part of this research, I’ve examined the strengths and limits of practices of accountability reporting and ‘privacy’ as dominant narratives through which to interpret and address surveillance-related harms.

Security Governance and Policing

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. As part of these projects, I either have (or continue to) examine security governance and security intelligence practices, public order policing, cybersecurity governance, militarization, major political and sporting events, as well as education and training in security and policing organizations.

I am keen 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, including the use of technical / digital research methods.

Selected Publications

A more complete list of Adam’s academic publications, government reports, and media publications can be found on his Google Scholar Profile


  • Molnar, A. and Warren, I., 2020. Governing liberty through accountability: Surveillance reporting as technologies of Governmentality. Critical Criminology, Online First: pp.1-14.


  • 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.
  • Harkin, D. Molnar, A. and Vowles, E. 2019. The commodification of mobile phone surveillance: an analysis of the consumer spyware industry, Crime, Media, Culture.
  • 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 Society29(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 Criminology59(1), pp.107-125.

  • Whelan, C. and Molnar, A. 2018. Securing Mega-Events: Strategies, Organisation and Legacies. Crime Prevention and Security Management Series, New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.

  • 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.  


  • 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 Crime18(3), pp.176-197.


  • Monaghan, J. and Molnar, A., 2016. Radicalisation theories, policing practices, and “the future of terrorism?”. Critical studies on terrorism9(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 geohistorical legacies of urban security governance and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. The Geographical Journal181(3), pp.235-241.
University of Waterloo

Profiles by type