Monthly Archives: December 2011

The MovingLife consultation workshop will be organised on Wednesday the 18th of January 2012 from 10:00-16:00 at the European Commission, Avenue de Beaulieu, Brussels, Building 25, Room 0/S9.

The workshop will take place in the context of the FP7 project MovingLife, which focuses on delivering roadmaps for research, implementation practice and policy support to establish a wide use of mobile eHealth solutions. At this full-day workshop we aim to cover issues of user acceptance, safety, ethics, spectrum allocation, economics and policy frameworks. The participants will be a mix of experts from health care organizations, politics, academia, business and patients organizations from across Europe.

The workshop will be organized by the Research Group on Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

If you are interested in the workshop, please send an e-mail to


Lecture by Prof. Israel Rodríguez-Giralt (Goldsmiths College, University of London, and Open Universtity of Catalonia), 12th December 2011 at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Room 4B302, from 11:00 to 12:30.

How one might conceive the relationship between nonhumans and politics? Although it’s been repeatedly articulated this is an issue which continues to haunt STS and Cultural Geography. Actually, with the appearance of so-called “speculative realism” there has been something of a resurgence of interest in understanding these entanglements of human/nonhuman agency (and the possibility of non-relationship or non-connection between the two) and concomitant relationships between ontology and politics. Drawing on fieldwork conducted around Doñana’s environmental disaster, 1998, a huge toxic spill nearby the most important Natural Parks in southern Europe, this presentation will revisit this issue by analysing the emergence of migratory birds as disruptive and lively “beings” capable of extending and re-connecting through their flight the aftermath of the disaster to new sites, environments and matters of public (and political) concern.

Israel Rodríguez-Giralt is professor of social psychology in the Open University of Catalonia (Barcelona) and Beatriu de Pinós Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Sociology Department of the Goldsmiths College (London). His research aims at connecting two fields of study which have not had much interaction in recent decades: on one hand, the study of social movements, and on the other STS. With this purpose, his PhD thesis (2008) discussed the implications that an Actor-Network Theory approach could have for the analysis of contemporary collective action. His more recent research has been in an ongoing project regarding the techno-scientific controversies and public participation in social care policies in Spain, the objective of which is to analyze the ethical, political and cultural consequences of the technification of care policies and assistance devices.

Privacy International (PI) has (re)launched its big project called ‘Big Brother Incorporated’, which will (inter alia) investigate the sales of surveillance technologies to authoritarian regimes.

The web content is available here and more comprehensively here.

PI has now put online a comprehensive database of companies that sell surveillance products, some opinion pieces about the topic (including one by me on the need to strengthen due dilligence and export licenses for tech companies) and a handy guide to the technical jargon that is being used in the surveillance industry. PI is also in the process of building strategic litigation against some of the Western companies complicit in human rights abuses by governments and intelligence agencies across the Middle East and North Africa.

The Washington Post has just published a big article on this topic here and Wikileaks today has released a bunch of documents (“the Spyfiles“) related to this issue as well.

CPDP will host an open roundtable on this issue in Brussels on the 27th of January 2012 in Bozar (Ravensteinstraat 23). Everybody’s more than welcome.

Don’t be evil – Technology companies’ role in supporting and suppressing human rights activists:
Mathias Vermeulen (VUB – chair)
Marcel Rosenbach (Der Spiegel – moderator)

Marietje Schaake (ALDE Member of the European Parliament)
Ben Roome (Nokia Siemens Network) (tbc)
Jacob Applebaum (ToR)
Ahmed Ghappour (Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights)
Eric King (Privacy International)