My name is Esther Keymolen and I am a full Professor at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society. I also am the Vice Dean of Research of TLS. I have a background in philosophy of technology and postphenomenology. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in pop music. My research focuses on the role of trust, trustworthiness and privacy in networked and smart environments. In particular, I focus on the first-person perspective, so what does trust and trustworthiness mean for a user of an AI application.  In my book Trust on The Line, I developed a conceptual trust model, which I apply to analyze different topical cases, such as: Airbnb, smart cities, smart toys, digital hotel keys, and personalized online advertisement.  My work has also appeared in several newspapers, documentaries, and on Dutch television. Previously, I worked for the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) and at Leiden University (eLaw, Centre for Law and Digital Technology)


With a background in philosophy of technology and data ethics, I analyze the way in which technologies mediate our interactions with ourselves, other people, and the world around us. The starting point of my research is, therefore, that to understand how people go about their privacy in everyday life, we have to examine how they place trust in technologies. My research is multidisciplinary in nature. Methodologically, it relies on case studies and refers to practical problems. Theory-building on experiential aspects of privacy contributes to research in philosophy of technology as well as to socio-legal debate about privacy and data protection. Understanding privacy through the lens of trust leads the discussion in a promising direction, with more attention to data subjects’ expectations, vulnerabilities, and changing values inherent in a mediated trust relation.


I teach in the course Data Ethics and Entrepreneurship (previously called Law, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship) at the master Data Science and Entrepreneurship at JADS,  in Den Bosch. In addition, I am a guest lecturer for many different programmes and organisations (e.g. TIAS, Academie voor Wetgevingsjuristen,  Leiden University, JADS professional learning)



I am a core member of TAISIG (Tilburg Artificial Intelligence Special Interest Group). TAISIG aims to combine, coordinate, and strengthen AI activities at the university and to emerge recognizably as a key player in the regional and national AI domain. In addition, it aims to facilitate and accelerate the development of new research proposals and grant applications. TAISIG is divided into three clusters: AI algorithms and methods, AI applications and concepts, and ELSA (Ethical, Legal, and Societal Aspects of AI). Together with Prof. Ronald Leenes, I chair the ELSA cluster. Feel free to reach out if you want more info on this initiative.


Together with dr. Jurgen Goossens, I co-lead the NWO MVI research project CHAIN. This interdisciplinary, 4 year project investigates how distributed technology - in this case blockchain - combined with smart contracts (rule-based algorithms) can be designed in a transparent and legitimate way, so that citizens can trust the government.

Recent publications

  1. In search of friction - A new postphenomenological lens to analyze hu…

    Keymolen, E. (2021). In search of friction: A new postphenomenological lens to analyze human-smartphone interactions. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 25(3), 354-378.
  2. Handreiking non-discriminatie by design

    van der Sloot, B., Keymolen, E., Noorman, M., Weerts, H., Wagensveld, Y., & Visser, B. (2021). Handreiking non-discriminatie by design. Rijksoverheid.
  3. Onderzoeksrapport non-discriminatie by design

    van der Sloot, B., Keymolen, E., Noorman, M., Weerts, H., Wagensveld, Y., & Visser, B. (2021). Onderzoeksrapport non-discriminatie by design. Rijksoverheid.
  4. Spioneren met hobbydrones en andere technologieën door burgers - Een …

    Galič, M., Noorman, M., van der Sloot, B., Koops, B-J., Cuijpers, C., Gellert, R., Keymolen, E., & van Delden, T. (2020). Spioneren met hobbydrones en andere technologieën door burgers: Een verkenning van de privacyrisico’s en reguleringsmogelijkheden. TILT-Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society.
  5. Gezichtsherkenning in Nederland - Een toekomstperspectief

    Keymolen, E., Noorman, M., & van der Sloot, B. (2020). Gezichtsherkenning in Nederland: Een toekomstperspectief. Tijdschrift voor Internetrecht, 2020(6), 1-15.

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