LSTS is looking for motivated researchers to join its research units on:

  • human-robot collaboration and personal data protection law (application deadline: 15 July 2018),
  • smart technologies (energy and transport) and personal data protection law (application deadline: 15 July 2018),
  • data protection and privacy impact assessments (application deadline: 15 July 2018),
  • legal informatics in connection with EU private international law (application deadline: 31 August 2018).

In particular, the researchers are expected to carry out work in respective research projects, furthermore to develop a proposal for a doctoral degree (PhD). In addition, the researchers will have the opportunity to take an active role in LSTS contributing to its research agenda, attending and presenting in seminars, assisting in organizing conferences and workshops, and helping the Centre in competing in national and European funding opportunities. The successful candidates will be integrated in a dynamic team, composed of both experienced and early career researchers, working under the guidance of Prof. Paul de Hert and Prof. Serge Gutwirth.

For the criteria of eligibility and further details of the application visit:

http://www.vub.ac.be/LSTS/vacancies/index.shtml

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Ceci est une fake news; Hrag Vartanian 2017 CC BY-ND 2.0 via flickr.com

Hrag Vartanian 2017 CC BY-ND 2.0 via flickr.com

The call for papers for the upcoming 6th volume in European Integration and Democracy series, devoted to challenges for democracy, the rule of law and the respect for fundamental rights, posed by contemporary disinformation practices and digital media, has now been published [PDF 247 KB].

The planned book is a joint endeavour of the Centre for Direct Democracy Studies (CDDS) at the Faculty of Law of the University of Białystok, Poland, the Research Group on Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium and the Department of Media and Communication of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), the Netherlands. The book will be published by Intersentia in mid-2019 under co-editorship of Elżbieta Kużelewska (CDDS), Georgios Terzis (VUB), Daniel Trottier (EUR) and Dariusz Kloza (VUB-LSTS).

This book is motivated, to a large extent, by the recent developments in information, misinformation and disinformation practices. From the beginning of history, various and diverse means or channels of communication have been employed to inform, misinform (unintentionally) and disinform (deliberately); the book will focus mainly on the last of these practices, frequently labelled ‘fake news’. Yet, in recent decades, the emergence and progress of new information and communications technologies (ICT), combined with the ever more increasing digitalisation and globalisation of almost every aspect of modern life, have opened new and uncharted avenues to that end. The 2016 referendum on the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (the so-called ‘Brexit’) and the presidential elections in the United States – and related, alleged disinformation practices – are perhaps the strongest reminder of the importance and power of disinformation in society. These developments, in turn, bring about profound ramifications for the very existence and functioning of a democratic polity. In particular, they affect the values and principles on which the European integration project as well as many other Western democratic polities have been built: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law (Rechtsstaat) and respect for human rights, among others. These democratic polities are only at an early stage of understanding the implications of disinformation practices and digital media. Therefore, the relations between democracy and these practices merit critical analysis and academic attention.

The book will take a broad, interdisciplinary perspective, analysing the subject-matter from the diverse viewpoints of philosophy, ethics, law, history, political science, economy, business management, sociology, psychology, geography, linguistics, computer science, journalism and media studies, science and technology studies (STS), among others. In addition, comparative analyses are strongly encouraged.

The deadline for submitting an extended abstract is 30 June 2018 and, upon acceptance, full submissions will be due by 15 October 2018.

Organised by: Emre Bayamlioglu, Irina Baraliuc, Liisa Janssens, Mireille Hildebrandt

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of ‘Profiling the European Citizen’ (ed. Mireille Hildebrandt and Serge Gutwirth), which brought together lawyers, computer scientists and philosophers around emerging practices of data mining, knowledge discovery in data bases (KDD) and their application in a variety of domains.

The title of the book turns out to have been prophetic, touching upon a series of implications of what has now been coined as the micro targeting of individuals as consumers and citizens, based on machine learning and AB testing.

To celebrate – or even to mourn – the relevance of the volume, LSTS is organizing a seminar to reflect on current affairs and further implications. In two days we will engage with 24 provocations by an awe-inspiring line-up of lawyers, computer scientists, philosophers and social scientists. Focus is on 6 themes that will hopefully induce both deep thinking and a challenging cross-disciplinary conversation:

1. Theories of normativity between law and machine learning
Sylvie Delacroix, Patrick Allo, Seda Guerses, Emre Bayamlioglu
2. Transparency theory for data driven decision making
Karen Yeung, Anton Vedder, Jaap-Henk Hoepman, Gloria Gonzalez Fuster
3. Presumption of innocence in data driven government
Lucia Sommerer, Linnet Taylor, Tobias Blanke, Sabine Gless
4. Legal and political theory in data driven environments
Orla Lynskey, Ben Wagner, Arjen de Vries, Irina Baraliuc
5. Saving machine learning from p-hacking
Antoinette Rouvroy, Felix Stalder, Clare Gollnick, Mireille Hildebrandt
6. The legal and ML status of micro targeting
Bart Custers, Serge Gutwirth, Reuben Binns, Niels van Dijk

Though this is largely an author meets author seminar, some space is open for attendance. Please register with irina.baraliuc@vub.be.

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pic by glgfuster (@flickr)

On Monday 23 April 2018 LSTS researcher Rosamunde van Brakel will publicly defend her PhD thesis ‘Taming The Future: A Rhizomatic Analysis of the Unintended Consequences of Pre-Emptive Surveillance of Children’. The defence will take place in Room D.2.01 (VUB Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering Campus) at 13:00. Please find the official invitation here (pdf).

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pic by evan lavine (@flickr)

Between 25 and 29 June 2018 will take place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) the 3rd European Data Protection Law Summer School, organised by the Brussels Privacy Hub (BPH). Under the title ‘Putting the GDPR into Practice & in Context‘, it will equip participants to adequately tackle the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and prepare them for the many challenges ahead in the field of data protection and e-privacy. Early bird registration is possible until 30 March 2018. More information, including the list of confirmed lecturers, can be found here.

In line with an established tradition that the members of VUB-LSTS partake in the Internationales Rechtsinformatik Symposion IRIS, our Brussels Laboratory for Data Protection & Privacy Impact Assessments (d.pia.lab) will organise – at the upcoming, 21st edition of the IRIS conference – a panel dedicated to the automation of privacy- and data protection impact assessments. The panel will take place on Friday, 23 February 2018 from 16:00 till 17:30 in Salzburg, Austria and will be held in English.

robot! by iwouldificould via flickr.com CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

robot! by iwouldificould

It is well known that the new legal framework for personal data protection in the European Union, applicable from May 2018, brings to the fore a plethora of novel solutions aiming, inter alia, at better safeguarding the interests of individuals whenever their personal data are being handled. One of these novelties is an obligation imposed on data controllers to conduct a data protection impact assessment (DPIA) for those processing operations that could present a “high risk” to the “rights and freedoms of natural persons”. Despite these novelties still posing questions as to their practical application, they already have caused development of dedicated guidance material, templates, tools, etc. – all aimed at making possible and facilitating their usage, including the conduct of a DPIA.

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Screen Shot 2018-02-03 at 20.35.24 The Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) celebrates in 2018 its 15 years of existence. To mark the occasion, we invite all our friends to join us at a special LSTS-café on Tuesday 27th February 2018 at La Tricoterie, from 8:30 pm to 2:00 am, with music selection by DJ Soeur Veillance and DJ Götz Von Berlichingen. The bar will sell drinks. Please find the invitation  here.