Etic Lab

General Research

Of all the questions we get asked about our work, the most terrifying is also the simplest: “What exactly is it that you do?” The problem isn’t that it’s hard to come up with an answer – quite the reverse. We design and build data analytics, machine learning and online communications applications. We offer consultancy to businesses, governments, civil society organisations, and political campaigns. We conduct original research and run experiments. We engage in project work that combines all of the above. We write and publish essays, reports and books. We create works of art. We spin off subsidiaries providing groundbreaking digital products and services. Each of these examples represents one facet of our activities, but even taken together they don’t capture the full range of pies into which our fingers have been thrust down the years. 

Take a moment to explore our archive, and you’ll experience the breadth of what we’ve been up over the past few years. This variety reflects the diverse skills and interests of the people who’ve been involved with Etic Lab throughout this period. We also hope that it expresses a general ethos which runs through all our endeavours, regardless of how heterogeneous they may seem. Our commitment is to pursue work that:

  • We find intellectually and politically compelling
  • Requires collaboration with people whose expertise and experiences differ from our own
  • Gives us the chance to learn new things and push ourselves beyond our individual and collective comfort zones
  • Offers the chance to bring systemic change to the target sector

We hope these ideals are evident in everything we’ve done in the past as well as all we will do in the future.

The posts in this category cover reports on past projects as well as more general essays, research papers or opinion pieces on various topics. Not sure where to start? Why not try “Introduction to Digital Fingerprinting”, which introduces some of our past work on the mechanics of the adtech industry, or “Nascent: A New Contemporary Art Platform”, which outlines a proposal for a new digital insights platform for the art market. If you come across something that piques your interest, please get in touch!


Looking for where to start? Here’s a snippet from one of our articles relating to our work with General Research:

Introduction to Digital Fingerprinting
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Introduction to Digital Fingerprinting

Inspired by an everyday experience of online re-targeting, Tom introduces the Etic Lab Fingerprinting Tool – an application which checks websites for signs that they are fingerprinting their visitors.

Not Surprised

So I had been thinking about getting a Polaroid camera. Probably mentioned it to friends and family… specifically in rants at amateur photographers snapping endless reels of selfies that remain buried in the depths of their iCloud for none to see. Anyhow around the time of my last birthday I began seeing online adverts for polaroid cameras popping up on Not thinking much of it, perhaps I’d googled them previously and been picked up by a re-targeting pixel. Come my birthday, lo and behold I received…

Got a research project you’d like to explore?