picture by daniele civello (@flickr)

The Centre for Direct Democracy Studies (CDDS), University of Białystok, Poland (UwB), together with the Research Group on Law, Science, Technology & Society (LSTS), Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium (VUB) and the Centre for Commercial Law (CCL), Bond University, Australia, are pleased to announce a call for papers for the upcoming fourth volume in the European Integration and Democracy series, devoted to transatlantic data privacy relationships as a challenge for democracy. Deadline for extended abstracts is 30 October 2015. Download the full call for papers here (pdf).

picture by john & mel kots (@flickr)

The Brussels Centre for Urban Studies (BCUS) has published a call for visiting fellows, aiming to promote exemplary interdisciplinary research in urban studies and to increase the international visibility of urban research at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The BCUS is an interdisciplinary research centre that brings together researchers from various disciplines and research groups, including the Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) Research Group. Deadline for applications is 15 September 2015. More information can be found here.

On Monday 29 June 2015 the Brussels Privacy Hub will organize the first in a series of workshops on data protection and humanitarian action. The workshop, attendance at which is by invitation only, will examine the interaction between data protection law and the work of international humanitarian organizations. Attendees will include individuals from EU institutions, international humanitarian organizations, data protection authorities, the private sector, NGOs, and academiaDSC01248. The discussion will cover issues such as determining the legal basis for processing personal data in the context of humanitarian action; the use of consent; and transferring data across national borders. It will conclude with a discussion of new data protection challenges for humanitarian action, such as the use of mobile phones to deliver monetary assistance; the use of drones in humanitarian action; biometrics; the impact of cloud solutions for data collection; data analytics; and the use of open source data. The agenda for the workshop is available here.

The Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities (SVT) at the University of Bergen (UiB), Norway, will host a mini-seminar on impact assessments between law and regulation on Monday, 15 June 2015.

victorian risk assessment cartoon

picture by johnbullas (@flickr)

This mini-seminar will deal with new uses of impact assessments, for instance dealing with risks to rights and freedoms posed by new digital technologies. It will pose the question of who should get to perform such assessments, drawing upon whose expertise, and how interdisciplinary teams should come together in the making of assessments of future risks. It especially targetes the domains between law and regulatory activities, and asks whether the two are increasingly becoming conflated. The mini-seminar will proceed by brief presentations followed by questions and discussions.

The presentations will draw upon the recently finished EPINET project (Integrated Assessment of Societal Impacts of Emerging Science and Technology from within Epistemic Networks; 2012-2015), of which Kjetil Rommetveit was the lead investigator, and VUB-LSTS researcher Dariusz Kloza’s recently co-authored book on Smart Grid Security.


13:00 – 13:15: Introduction
13:15 – 14:00: Dariusz Kloza (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB): Doing impact assessments in H2020 research projects
14:15 – 15:00: Kjetil Rommetveit (SVT) and Dariusz Kloza (VUB): Data protection impact assessments and the EU’s Better Regulations Package

Further information: http://www.uib.no/en/svt/89368/impact-assessments-between-law-and-regulation

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-06 om 14.26.38Last month my new book was published with Edward Elgar: have a look at the online version and download the appetizers (the Prefatory Remarks and the first Chapter) here.

The book moves into the implications of the data-driven agency that mushrooms all around us, suggesting this indicates and requires what I have called ‘a new animism’. It describes the threats of pre-emptive infrastructures that function as a unity of action and perception, feeding on our behavioral data aggregated in a distributed non-homogeneous Big Data Space that in turn nurtures an emerging Digital Unconscious. The book ventures into the upcoming onlife world, where the difference between online and offline becomes increasingly artificial. It also reserves a chapter for the Japanese tradition and the way it deals with both privacy and nonhuman agency, suggesting that we have much to learn of other ways of dealing with both. Finally, the books discusses the ends of law, inquiring into its modes of existence, arguing that we cannot take current legal protection for granted, inviting legal scholars to engage with the architects of our new life world: computer scientists, human-machine-interaction designers and developers of new business models.

Looking forward to your comments and reflections! Text by Mireille Hildebrandt