About me

I am a Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in Computer Science, with a focus on Cyber Security, at the Department of Informatics at King’s College London (KCL). Prior to joining King’s in December 2021, I was an academic track research fellow (2017-2021) and prior to that a postdoc, both at Newcastle University, UK.

My research is at the intersection of privacy, security, human-computer interaction and AI. I employ evidence-based methods, with a track record of qualitative, quantitative, experimental and social science computational methods, to investigate the human’s perceptions, attitudes and experiences including interactional and emotional aspects of privacy, security and AI.

I am particularly interested in technology (-facilitated, -use) disparities in vulnerable and marginalised communities that lead to unequal real life and societal outcomes. I further seek to develop accessible/inclusive solutions for safe and equitable online experiences, while working with technology, policy and community stakeholders. My current research topics can be summarised under:

  • equity and digital divides in relation to privacy and security (and online harm experiences)
  • issues of intersectionality, privacy for vulnerable, minority and minoritised communities,
    • particular focus on gender and young people
    • user agency within smarthomes
  • usage and interaction dynamics with privacy-enhancing technologies
  • social and collaborative security and privacy
  • online harms and revictimisation

My research has been published at top-tier privacy and security venues such as ACM Computer and Communications Security (ACM CCS), Usenix Security and Privacy-Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PoPETS 1,2), as well as ACM Conf on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (ACM FAccT).

I am recruiting PhD students to join me at King’s College London. Get in touch if you are interested in researching for a PhD in human-centric privacy/security, with connections to disadvantaged communities. Current available opportunities:

  • a full studentship for a candidate eligible for U.K. fees
  • studentships across the King’s-China Scholarship Council programme for candidates from China - to be decided via an application process.

If you are interested in these PhD opportunities, drop me a line at kovila.coopamootoo@kcl.ac.uk

News (2022)

  • Nov’22: AGENCY project - we had our first interdisciplinary research scoping workshop for the Smarthome case-study. Fantastic inter-project workshop, and hearing from and meeting AGENCY Co-Is, postdocs and PhD students!
  • Nov’22: I have been selected as a Global Public Voices Fellow at the Centre for International Studies, Cornell University.
  • Nov’22: Our 2 papers have passed through to ACM CHI’s second round. Encouraging :)
  • Sep’22: Started teaching Security Management, masters’s level module at King’s.
  • Sep’22: AGENCY project kick-off! Exciting research times ahead!
  • Sep’22: Gave an invited talk at Brave Inc.
  • Aug’22: Traveled & attended SOUPS’22 and USENIX Security’22, presented my paper at Usenix’22, Link to presentation and paper here
  • Jul’22: Enjoyed a couple days of engaging and constructive networking at REPHRAIN Allhands workshop in Edinburgh.
  • Jun’22: Attended the U.K. NCSC ACE-CSR conference.

Current funded projects (Co-Investigator)

  1. EPSRC / AGENCY £ 3.5 M, from Sep’22 - Aug’25: Assuring Citizen Agency in a World with Complex Online Harms, where my focus is on the lived experiences of online harms and harm reduction mechanisms among marginalised communities, across contexts of Smarthomes, Femtech, Online Abuse and Digital Identities. AGENCY is a research consortium including colleagues from various disciplines based at Birmingham, Newcastle, Durham Universities, Royal Holloway University of London and King’s College London.

Recently completed projects (Co-Investigator)

  1. EPSRC / Fintrust: Trust Engineering for the Financial Industry, where I focus on human-centred trust in AI. I worked closely with 3 postdocs to scope research and design user studies, as well as analyse and report data. (see postdoc section below).
  2. Digital Technologies Power and Control, where I looked into how marginalised communities in the UK experience security, privacy, trustworthy and identity technologies. Funded by SPRITE+ Network. I worked with social science colleagues from the Open University and Sheffield University on exporatory work and conducted a few user and stakeholder workshops.
  3. Revealing Young Learners’ Mental Models of Online Sludge, where I focused on young learners’ mental models of dark partterns online and inverventions to dispel misconceptions. Funded by SPRITE+ Network. Amongst various contributions, I particularly developed an analysis framework for analysing drawings from our participants, and contributed/co-led to the analysis/coding. I worked with colleagues from Strathclyde, Bath, Brunel, Bournemouth and Middlesex Universities.

PostDocs I worked closely with

  1. Dr Rui Huan, Newcastle University (2022, Fintrust, Topic: Privacy Transparency in Chatbots, Methods: experimental and design work)
  2. Dr Jie Deng, Newcastle University (2022, Fintrust, Topic: Trust in FinTech / AI, Method: large scale quantitative work)
  3. Dr Magdalene Ng, Newcastle University (2019 - 2021, Fintrust, Topic: Private, Secure, Trustworthy AI; Cybercrime experience, Method: research scoping, qualitative and quantitative user study designs)

PhD Students

  1. Mousa Jari, Newcastle University (2018~, Topic: Human-centred aspects of phishing)
  2. Uchechi Nwadike, Newcastle University (2015-2019, Topic: How emotions impact privacy) Second Supervisor

Publications (2020-2022)

  1. Kovila P.L Coopamootoo, Maryam Merhnezhad, Ehsan Toreini. “I feel invaded, annoyed, anxious and I may protect myself”: Individuals’ Feelings about Online Tracking and their Protective Behaviour across Gender and Country, Usenix Security, 2022. Link This work found a privacy gender gap, that is, although women feel more strongly (violation, anxiety, anger) towards online tracking, they are less likely to take protective actions/engage with PETs compared to men. UK participants reported similar patterns compared to those from Germany and France.
  2. Maryam Merhnezhad, Kovila P.L. Coopamootoo, Ehsan Toreini. How can and would people protect from online tracking?, Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PoPETS), 2022. Link
  3. Magdalene Ng, Kovila P.L. Coopamootoo, Tasos Spiliotopoulous, Dave Horsfall, Mhairi Aitken, Ehsan Toreini, Karen Elliott, Aad van Moorsel. In Private, Secure & Conversational FinBots We Trust, CHI Workshop on Conversational User Interfaces, 2021. Link
  4. Tasos Spiliotopoulos, Dave Horsfall, Magdalene Ng, Kovila P.L. Coopamootoo, Aad van Moorsel, Karen Elliott. Identifying and Supporting Financially Vulnerable Consumers in a Privacy-Preserving Manner: A Use Case Using Decentralised Identifiers and Verifiable Credentials, CHI Workshop on Designing for New Forms of Vulnerability, 2021. Link
  5. Karen Elliott, Rob Price, Patricia Shaw, Tasos Spiliotopoulos, Magdalene Ng, Kovila Coopamootoo, Aad van Moorsel. Towards an Equitable Digital Society: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR), Society Journal, 2021. Link
  6. Kovila P.L Coopamootoo. Usage Patterns of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies, ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 2020. Link
  7. Kovila P.L. Coopamootoo. Dis-Empowerment Online: An Investigation of Privacy-Sharing Perceptions and Method Preferences, USEC Workshop at Financial Cryptography and Data Security, 2020. Link
  8. Ehsan Toreini, Mhairi Aitken, Kovila Coopamootoo, Karen Elliott, Carlos Gonzalez Zelaya, Aad Van Moorsel. The relationship between trust in AI and trustworthy machine learning technologies, ACM Conference on Fairness Accountability and Transparency, 2020. Link
  9. Magdalene Ng, Kovila PL Coopamootoo, Ehsan Toreini, Mhairi Aitken, Karen Elliot, Aad van Moorsel. Simulating the Effects of Social Presence on Trust, Privacy Concerns & Usage Intentions in Automated Bots for Finance, EuroUSEC Workshop at IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2020. Link
  10. Mhairi Aitken, Magdalene Ng, Ehsan Toreini, Aad van Moorsel, Kovila PL Coopamootoo, Karen Elliott. Keeping it Human: A Focus Group Study of Public Attitudes Towards AI in Banking, DETIPS Workshop at ESORICS, 2020. Link
  11. Ehsan Toreini, Mhairi Aitken, Kovila P.L. Coopamootoo, Karen Elliott, Vladimiro Gonzalez Zelaya, Paolo Missier, Magdalene Ng, Aad van Moorsel. Technologies for Trustworthy Machine Learning: A Survey in a Socio-Technical Context, 2020. Link