About Me

Compassion, to be effective, requires detailed knowledge and understanding of how society works. Any social system in turn requires men and women in it of imagination and goodwill. What would be fatal would be for those with exceptional human insight and concern to concentrate on ministering to individuals, whilst those accepting responsibility for the design and management of organisations were left to become technocrats. What is important is that institutions and their administration be constantly tested against human values, and that those who are concerned about these values be prepared to grapple with the complex realities of modern society as it is.Grigor McClelland, 1976

My name is Heather Burns and I am a tech policy and regulation specialist. I advocate for an open web built around international standards of human rights, privacy, accessibility, and freedom of expression.

Since October 2020 I’ve been employed full-time by Open Rights Group, though this is very much my personal site, and one which does not reflect the opinions of my employer. (That also means, of course, that I’m no longer taking on freelance or consultancy clients.) This site will remain up as an archive of my past work, and as a home for the occasional personal blog post.

Current side projects

Current interests

  • Intermediary liability, particularly in an international context
  • Privacy privilege in law and academia
  • Ethics washing, as is apparent in the post-Brexit legislative context
  • Legal endogeneity, e.g. when the interpretation of internet legislation drafted without practicioner involvement is, nevertheless, delegated to them

In August 2018 I was flattered to be named as Smashing Magazine’s Person of the Week for my work on GDPR and privacy. Photo taken by some Geordie in a Belgrade dive bar run by two refugees from Reading ’94.

Past work

  • 2015 – 2020: Freelance tech policy and regulation specialist for clients across the startup, digital rights, privacy, digital agency, and games sectors
  • 2007 – 2015: Full-time web designer and developer
  • 2000 – 2005: Worked in international relations and community development

Past side projects

Contact information

Location: Glasgow, Scotland, Europe

Email: contact at webdevlaw.uk for me, heather at openrightsgroup.org for work

Press enquiries: contact press at openrightsgroup.org first

Social: LinkedIn // Twitter: @webdevlaw // Zuckervegan (I’m not on FB, IG, or WhatsApp)

Work: Open Rights Group

Listed on Brookings Tech Policy Sourcelist

Portrait photography © Julie Broadfoot – www.juliebee.co.uk