photo: (c)

It is our great pleasure to announce that on 26 January 2016 the VUB-LSTS will be hosting the 10th-anniversarity edition International Conference on the Interaction of Knowledge Rights, Data Protection and Communication KnowRight 2016.

KnowRight conferences have been held since 1995; KnowRight 2016 is already the 10th. It will focus on the interaction between data protection, intellectual property rights, ethical issues, civil society and information technology. Due to its origins as an Intellectual Property (IP) and privacy conference of a computing society, technological solutions to legal challenges are a main aim.

KnowRight is a platform between business, civil society and administration organised and mediated by academia, for discussing and finding solutions on the new challenges for rights on information and knowledge, taking into account new technologies in the context of the Knowledge and Network Society and a progressively digital market and environment. The main topic of KnowRight2016 is: Data Protection in Practice.

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DSC_7983edCredAntonin Margier (Université de Lille 1) and Lucas Melgaço (LSTS, VUB) have launched a call for articles for a themed issues of Urban Environment (2016):

Today, the ‘right to the city’ has become a key concept, a motto, in both academic circles and in social movements and public policies. The so-called accessibility of the city for all has become a fundamental concern to institutions dealing with citizens’ movements that reclaim urban space. In developing the concept of the ‘right to the city’, Lefebvre (1968) referred to a reappropriation of the decision process and the city’s production facilities by its inhabitants. The affirmation and participation of citizens in the future of the city should reduce the gaps between citizens, should limit segregation and foster the emergence of a more inclusive and democratic city.

Now, more than 40 years after the publication of the ‘Right to the City’, it is clear that inequalities, conflicts and injustices in public spaces have not declined. An important part of the global urban population, north and south, continues to be sidelined for urban amenities. Logics of enclosure and exclusivity (Donzelot, 2004) tend to direct the production of the urban into a multitude of enclaves, classifying individuals according to their social status. Some minorities have ever less access to public spaces, whether they are the homeless (Smith, 1996; Mitchell, 1997), street vendors (Crossa, 2009), prostitutes (Hubbard, 2004) or youth (Malone, 2002). Moreover, the idea of being a citizen has made way for that of being a consumer, as pointed out by Santos (1987).

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phaedra1_book_krk_cover_page_smallIt is with great pleasure that we announce that the PHAEDRA I project (Improving Practical and Helpful cooperAtion betweEn Data Protection Authorities, 2013-2015) has produced its final publication, constituting also Deliverable D5.3. The project’s final book, titled ‘Enforcing privacy: lessons from current implementations and perspectives for the future‘ and edited by VUB-LSTS researches Prof. Dr. Paul De Hert and Dariusz Kloza, LLM as well as GIODO‘s Paweł Makowski, was released on 6 October 2015. It is an open access publication to be downloaded here.

This book is composed of selected interventions made at the final conference of the PHAEDRA project, held on 12 December 2014 in Kraków, Poland. These contributions are preceded by invited comments written by the experts in the field. Each of these papers – in one way or another touching upon various aspects of cooperation between supervisory authorities – contributes to the unambiguous conclusion that the efficiency of such cooperation is an essential element of the effective protection of the fundamental rights to privacy and personal data protection‘ – wrote the editors in the Introduction.

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picture by Darren Johnson / IDJ Photography (@flickr)

Lucas Melgaço (CRiS-VUB) and Jeffrey Monaghan (University of Ottawa) have launched a call for chapters for a book on protests in the information age. Potential authors are invited to sumbit paper proposals on topics such as, yet not limited to: surveillance of public demonstrations (including technologies like CCTV, body cams, drones and so on; the increasing monitoring of spaces of protest; social networking sites and protest mobilizations; the use of smartphones by demonstrators; sousveillance (e.g. the use of surveillance technologies to record police brutality in protests); resistance; mainstream and alternative media coverage of protests (including real time broadcasting of protests through apps like Periscope or Meerkat); police use of information technologies in the control of crowds and riots; the reemergence of the Black Bloc tactics and negotiations of (in)visibility in public spaces; political profiling of demonstrators, databanks and security intelligence; Big data; geolocation technologies and demonstrations; transnational flows of security practices and information; policy transfers related to information and protest control; usage of digital technologies in the regulation of public spaces; the right to protest at risk; theoretical and methodological developments on the relationships between social movements and the digital. Deadline for submissions is 20 November 2015. For all the details, see the call for chapters.

Danger Smart Meters

picture by Environmental Illness Network (via Flickr; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

On 21 October 2015 in Vienna, Austria, LSTS researchers Dr Niels van Dijk and Dariusz Kloza will give an opening lecture at the Cybersecurity Lecture Series 2015, organised by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Technische Universität Wien.

The lecture, titled “Seven deadly sins against privacy and personal data protection in the (European) smart grids roll-out“, will be based on a recently published book chapter by Dariusz Kloza, Niels van Dijk and Paul De Hert, printed as “Assessing the European Approach to Privacy and Data Protection in Smart Grids. Lessons for Emerging Technologies” in “Smart Grid Security. Innovative Solutions for a Modernized Grid“, edited by Florian Skopik and Paul Smith (Elsevier, 2015).

The authors argue that smart grids offer novel means of energy governance and promise an adequate response to environmental, societal and technical developments of the 21st century. Yet, at the same time, they are capable of invading the sacrosanctity of the most privacy-sensitive place – the home. This lecture will sketch several societal challenges that smart grids pose and amongst these the threat of abusive surveillance practices. It will next overview and critically assess the “light” regulatory approach that the European Union (EU) has taken as a response thereto. By pointing out the seven major drawbacks of this “light” approach, it will argue that its core element, i.e. a data protection impact assessment (DPIA) framework, is rather a missed opportunity. In conclusion, impact assessments of emerging technologies must be inclusive, easy to use and flexible, satisfying certain quality criteria.

More information as well as the registration form can be found here.

picture by France1978 (@flickr)

The LIBE Committee of the European Parliament has just published the study “Big Data and Smart Devices and their Impact on Privacy“, authored by LSTS researcher Gloria González Fuster and Amandine Scherrer, under the coordination of the Centre d’Etudes sur les Conflits, Liberté et Sécurité (CCLS) and the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Download it here (pdf).