Julia Powles

Director, UWA Tech & Policy Lab, Associate Professor, BSc (Hons) ANU, LLB (Hons) UWA, BCL Oxon., PhD Cantab.

  • The University of Western Australia (M253), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Personal profile


Julia Powles is the Director of the UWA Tech & Policy Lab and Associate Professor of Law and Technology at UWA Law School. Her research focuses on privacy, intellectual property, internet governance, and the law and politics of data, automation, and artificial intelligence.

Known for her unflinching analyses of how tech firms evade and distort regulation, Julia co-led successful public investigations into the infamous NHS/Google DeepMind health data breach and Google affiliate Sidewalk Labs' thwarted smart city project. Current projects tackle civic resistance and political opportunism in Google Wing's ambitions to scale commercial drone delivery, novel responses to the paradox of Big Tech’s small liabilities for systemic misconduct with a focus on Uber and Facebook (Meta), and future-proof governance mechanisms for human monitoring in health and performance contexts. 

Currently, Julia is an expert member of Australia's National Robotics Strategy Advisory Committee, National AI Centre's Responsible AI Think Tank, WA Government's Privacy and Information Sharing (PRIS) Implementation Steering Committee, and PRIS Universities Network (Chair).

Julia studied genetics, biophysics, and law at ANU and UWA, and received her BCL from Oxford and PhD from Cambridge.

Prior to joining UWA, Julia held academic appointments at New York University, Cornell Tech, and the University of Cambridge. She also worked as a Contributing Editor and Policy Fellow for The Guardian, as Speechwriter for the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization, as a Lawyer at MinterEllison, and as a Judicial Associate in the Federal Court of Australia and Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In 2019-20 she balanced her academic role with 12 months as inaugural CEO, Frontier Technology at Minderoo Foundation. In addition to her academic publications, Julia's writing can be found in the Financial Times, New Yorker, Guardian, One Zero, Wired, and Slate.

Roles and responsibilities

  • Director, UWA Tech & Policy Lab, 2020-present
  • Expert Advisory Panel, Inquiry into the Use of Generative Artificial
    Intelligence in the Australian Education System, Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, Parliament of Australia, 2023-24 (appointed by Chair, Hon Lisa Chesters MP)
  • National Robotics Strategy Advisory Committee, Australian Government Department of Industry, Science and Resources, 2022-24 (appointed by Minister Ed Husic MP)
  • Think Tank on Responsible AI, Australian Government National Artificial Intelligence Centre, 2022-24 (appointed by National AI Centre)
  • Co-Chair, International Tech Crimes Summit, Perth, July 2023
  • Independent Expert Member, Privacy and Responsible Information
    Sharing (PRIS) Implementation Steering Committee, Government of
    Western Australia, 2023-25 (appointed by Director General, Department of Premier & Cabinet, Emily Roper)
  • Chair, PRIS Universities Network (Curtin- ECU- Murdoch- Notre Dame-UWA), 2023-25 (Invited by WA Government)
  • Series Editor, Oxford Technology Law and Policy Book Series (Oxford University Press), 2022-ongoing (Invited by OUP)
  • 40 Under 40 Award for Western Australia, 2022
  • Co-Chair, Australian Academy of Science Expert Working Group on Data in Professional Sport, 2020-22
  • Co-Chair, ACM/AAAI International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and Society, New York, February 2020
  • Independent Expert Member, Data Sharing and Linkage Working Group, Government of Western Australia, 2019 (appointed by Director General, Department of Premier & Cabinet, Darren Foster)
  • Inaugural Be Inspired Appointment, UWA Law School, 2019
  • Innovation Fellow, IQX, 2019
  • Leader, Tech & the Public Interest Research Group, 2019-20
  • Expert Member, Data Sharing and Linkage Working Group, Government of Western Australia, 2019
  • Rapporteur, Council of Europe MSI-AUT Committee of Experts on Human Rights Dimensions of Automated Data Processing and Different Forms of Artificial Intelligence, 2018

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy in Law, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 1 Aug 2015

Bachelor of Civil Law (Master's degree), University of Oxford

Award Date: 1 Aug 2009

Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours), The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 1 Dec 2006

Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours), Australian National University

Award Date: 1 Dec 2004

Industry keywords

  • Law
  • Government

Research expertise keywords

  • Public Policy
  • Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Data
  • Bioscience
  • Health
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Intellectual Property
  • Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Internet Governance
  • Political Economy


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