In Memoriam: Arthur "Art" Cockfield

In Memoriam Art Cockfield

We were shocked to hear of Art’s sudden death on January 9 2022. Art has been a trusted friend of the Surveillance Studies Centre for many years, serving on the Executive Board, as a co-investigator in several large-scale SSHRC-funded research projects, as a liaison with the Faculty of Law and as a facilitator of joint events between the SSC and the Law Faculty. He brought valuable perspectives and insights to our collaborative work, along with his cheery disposition, fine sense of humour, and respect for all involved, from students and support staff to senior faculty.

I first met Art virtually, while he was still at Stanford, completing his doctoral studies. We corresponded about his interest in technology-and-society, with particular reference to computers and the vexed questions of privacy in the contemporary world. So when he was appointed at Queens’ in 2001, it made sense for him to join the work of what was then the Surveillance Project—precursor to the SSC. He collaborated on projects on surveillance in the so-called “New Economy,” the Globalization of Personal Data and several others, as well as in research with the SSC in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Contributions Program.

Art will be remembered, not only for his full and generous participation in all these projects, but also for his willing and faithful attendance at meetings, his wholehearted involvement in social and celebratory events, his helpful and illuminating explanations of legal lore, and his openness to learning new perspectives from the varied views and backgrounds of those who participate in the work of the SSC, from Canada and around the world. He also advocated for the SSC within the Faculty of Law, pressing for the appointment of other scholars engaged in legal research on surveillance and privacy. To say that he will be missed is to seriously understate the case.
On behalf of SSC colleagues, we offer sincere sympathies to Art’s grieving family members at this wrenching time. Art was a worthy academic colleague, but it’s as a very personable friend with a memorably honest and heartfelt smile that we shall bring him to mind.

--Professor Emeritus David Lyon