M.R. (Michelle) Cayford


Michelle Cayford began her PhD research in the context of the EU FP7 Surveille project, related to the effectiveness of surveillance technology. She obtained her Master’s degree in International Security from Sciences Po in Paris, and her Bachelor’s degree in History and French from the University of Washington in Seattle. Her professional experience includes work at NATO in the Secretary General’s Policy Planning Unit, and as a lead criminal intelligence analyst in a U.S. government counter-narcotic trafficking unit.


Michelle’s research is focused on the evaluation of the effectiveness of surveillance technology in intelligence work. Effectiveness here refers to the achievement of the security goal. This includes empirical work on how intelligence practitioners speak about evaluating the effectiveness of surveillance technology and how oversight bodies assess such effectiveness. How cost and proportionality are considered and weighed against effectiveness is also analysed.

  • Cayford, M., Van Gulijk, C., Van Gelder, P.H.A.J.M., 2015. “All swept up: An initial classification of NSA surveillance technology.” Safety and Reliability: Methodology and Applications - Proceedings of the European Safety and Reliability Conference, ESREL 2014, pp. 643–650

More publications

Michelle Cayford

PhD Candidate

Values, Technology and Innovation

Safety & Security Science

Astrid Pinzger-van Staalduinen

Research interests:
Responsible risk management
Effectiveness of surveillance technology
Intelligence agencies and evaluation
International security

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