Cyberpsychologist Prof Mary Aiken awarded Freedom of Dublin

13 Jun 2022

Prof Mary Aiken, Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland, Kellie Harrington and Ailbhe Smyth. Image: Fennell Photography

Aiken said her award highlights ‘the science and work focused on creating a safer and more secure cyberspace’.

Prof Mary Aiken has received the honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin for her work in the areas of cyberpsychology and online safety.

The award is the highest honour that the city can give to an individual. Aiken was conferred at a ceremony on Saturday (11 June) alongside Olympic champion boxer Kellie Harrington and activist Ailbhe Smyth.

The Cork-born cyberpsychologist moved to Dublin at a young age. She is now internationally renowned for her work and routinely advises on policy debates at the intersection of technology and human behaviour.

Aiken holds senior academic posts in Ireland, the US and other international locations. She is a member of the Interpol Global Cybercrime Expert Group and is an academic adviser to Europol’s European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3).

In 2014, Aiken was listed in’s 100 top women in the STEM knowledge economy. In 2017, she was inducted into the Infosecurity Europe Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution to the information and cybersecurity sector.

She co-led the Irish ‘digital age of consent’ campaign and now advises on the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill while advocating a safer online environment for young people in Ireland.

As recipients of the Freedom of the City, Aiken, Harrington and Smyth join a list of less than 100 past honourees.

The award has been given to 83 people, including past presidents, sportspeople and activists. One of the most recent awardees was outgoing chief medical officer Prof Tony Holohan, who was conferred in June 2021.

Aiken said that she was honoured to be considered “in the same roll call as JFK, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa”.

“I am equally honoured to be in the company of strong, pioneering female representatives of Ireland’s recent past, present and future,” she added.

“However, I don’t view this as an award for personal endeavour. I am delighted that it highlights the science and work focused on creating a safer and more secure cyberspace.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.