A website explains in simple and clear terms what the European “General Data Protection Regulation” GDPR is and why it is indeed the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years.

We designed this website with my students to make a simple and clear description (with videos and graphs) of the key privacy values now established by law in Europe for Data Privacy. This is a monumental accomplishment for the EU that will have a huge positive impact on IT related technological development and design. A huge step towards the elaboration of innovation processes that embed ethical values and considerations in the development of new technologies.


New Book (Feb 2017 Elgar). Research Methods in Service Innovation. By Flemming Sørensen and Francesco Lapenta

this is our forthcoming book edited together with Flemming Sørensen, you can read more about it here

Research Methods in Service Innovation – Edward Elgar Publishing



9. Using technology-oriented scenario analysis for innovation research

New Book: Data Ethics – The New Competitive Advantage.

About the book: Data Ethics – The New Competitive Advantage by Gry Hasselbalch and Pernille Tranberg. (editor: francesco lapenta)
data-ethics-cover    Respect for privacy and the right to control one’s own data are becoming key parameters to gain a competitive edge in today’s business world. Companies, organisations and authorities which view data ethics as a social responsibility, giving it the same importance as environmental awareness and respect for human rights, are tomorrow’s winners. The book combines broad trend analyses with more than 50 cases of companies which use data ethics to varying degrees. The authors make the case that citizens and consumers are no longer just concerned about a lack of control over their data, but they also have begun to act, they describe alternative business models, advances in technology and new regulations, all of which combine to foster a growing market for data-ethical products and services.
or on Amazon & iBooks
More about the book: www.dataethics.eu/book

by Gry Hasselbalch and Pernille Tranberg. Editor: Francesco Lapenta

Mediated Life after Virtualization. A Critical Look at the Scenarios Forecast by New Wearable Augmented Reality Visualization Technologies.

My presentation at RE:PUBLICA13 in Berlin 7th of may.

If, as Thomas and Cook state, ‘visual representations and digital visualization techniques take advantage of the human eye’s broad bandwidth pathway into the mind to allow users to see, explore, and understand large amounts of information at once’ what are the consequences of a technology that does not pretend anymore to “simulate” reality or its visualization but now “naturally” creates the way we see the world and experience it?

What will follow the inevitable technological peak and demise of old communication technologies such as the mobile and the screen? If the mobile embodied the newly acquired freedom from the constrained spaces of earlier mediated communications. And the screen, the frame, the partition that for a long time both connected and divided reality from its representation. The “SixthSense” and “Project Glass” both represent the early steps in the final technological, cognitive and cultural evolution that will finally embrace media transparency and invisibility (Project Glass), and welcome media anthropomorphization (SixthSense) in the illusion of a new “unmediated” and “augmented” life. Mobiles and the screen will not disappear, at first, but new “seamless” and “immersive” technological evolutions will acquire social, cultural and market dominance while cannibalizing previous technological milestones very much like television did with photography, radio and cinema, and the computer did with them all.

A must read article on mediamocracy.org “Privacy is innovation”

and I quote: “Social Privacy is the innovative background idea here. A form of privacy which is not an obstacle to sharing, but rather one that goes hand in hand with the creation of social relations and communications. It’s not a clear cut block of personal data, but a diverse kind of privacy, where users are in control of what they share with who, under which circumstances and in which situations. These services are evolutions of our online social spheres moving beyond the idea of the social medium to a more advanced idea about digital media as tools for human social relations. And they are actually moving in on old giants of social networking such as Facebook stealing their market shares. Privacy is in fact innovation. The lack of it can dampen creativity and suppress freedom of speech (and thus thought). And more of it may entice consumers to pay more and choose a specific service studies show. The only reason the default is public is that we were not innovative enough to think privacy by design from the beginning empowering users with a choice.

link to the full article HERE


Understanding the Future of Augmented Humans.

My keynote speech at the forthcoming “Insafe” (Internet Safety) meeting in Budapest, October 2012. The European Union’s Insafe network comprises 27 countries that regularly meet as part of The European Commission  “Safer Internet Program”. The title of the key-note is:

Understanding the Future of Augmented Humans.Technologies have traditionally been approached as ancillary tools in the history of mankind. Means used to master nature and our environment, or tools used to enhance creativity and communication. This once clear distinction between us humans, the technologies we use and the environments we live in, have been gradually eroding in the past few decades. What we see today cannot be characterised anymore as further evolution in a long process of technological development. Current technological evolutions are better understood as first steps in a complex redefinition of what it means to be human. Individuals, organisations, governments and industries, just like children, are evolving, changing, learning, internalising technology and socialising with an ever-changing reality where the distinction between who we are and what technology allows us to be, is becoming more and more blurred. To understand this evolution requires good judgement, a sense of history, and above all a sense of purpose.

Just published “”Geomedia-Based Methods and Visual Research” in “Advances in Visual Methodology”

Lapenta F. 2012, “Geomedia-Based Methods and Visual Research. Exploring the Theoretical Tenets of the Localization and Visualization of Mediated Social Relations with Direct Visualization Techniques” in “Advances in Visual Methodologies” Ed Sarah Pink 2012, SAGE

In this chapter I discuss how contemporary shift towards patterns of relocalization of mediated interactions and the emergence of new heterogeneous time and space dimensions, is constructed by and intertwined with new location-based communications technologies. In doing so, I examine how these shifts imply new contexts; new topics; and themes of investigation in, and subsequently advances in, research methodologies for contemporary visual researchers. My central focus is on digital mapping and the electronic and technological bases through which these visualization systems are engaged . I suggest that these new electronic architectures and visualization software and applications frame a context where both new topics and techniques of (visual) sociological research are emerging.

The book, edited by Sarah PInk, explores how new practice-based, theoretical and methodological engagements are developing and emerging in research practice; the impact new approaches are having on the types of knowledge visual research produces and critiques; the ways visual research intersect with new media; and the implications of this for social and cultural research, scholarship and intervention.

order here   AMAZON LINK or here SAGE

Obama “no track” button a BIG misleading MESS

So you all have heard the story Obama today suggested that he has reached an agreement with some major internet companies to implement a “no track” button that will allow users to decide if to be tracked or not when browsing the internet. Or so it would seem given the denomination of the “button”. This “no track” button is said to be inspired by a long awaited extension of the principles of the “bill of rights” to the legislation that should regulate and protect users in their activities online. This however is a very misleading formulation, because the “no track” button will NOT stop tracking or guarantee privacy when surfing the net, but only communicate to the host service that the user does not want to receive targeted advertising based on that tracking. This is very confusing and misleading, and far from the implementation of the principles of “privacy by design” (Privacy by Design means that privacy and data protection are embedded throughout the entire life cycle of technologies from the early design stage to their deployment, use and ultimate disposal) that would actually be an equivalent, fair and inspired evolution of the “bill of rights”. This “button” and its actual function will in the end cause more damage than the problems it tries to fix giving ammunition to some politicians to explain and sustain with the misinformed that the law is already working on a reinterpretation of the bill of rights, and that the us has already achieved or working on guaranteeing these principles when it is really actually not. A big mess that has the only positive of creating a precedent that might inspire more serious revisions and extension of the laws of humans to the laws of post humans.

“Re-visualizing the City” Call for papers for the IVSA 2012 International Conference, 9th to 11th July 2012, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York

54052351-Lapenta-2011-Geomedia-on-Location-Based-MediaI am co-organizing the “Re-visualizing the City” international conference. An in depth look at the latest trends and visions of the smart cities of the future. Please redistribute to your departments and friends: Call for papers  “Re-Visualizing the City”, 9th to 11th July 2012, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, New York

link to ivsacall2012 with full details:




SMART or NOT! …. the closing of megavideo and megaupload and the lies of SOPA

This is like saying that becasue on that high street there is someone selling counterfeited goods instead of going after the limited illegal selling of counterfeited goods they shut down the entire street or any other street where “even one” illegal copy of something is sold.

If it were true that data should be compared to real physical commodities or that by that principle they should share the same identical values and economic principles open that “SECOND HAND file exchange website” already, because sure enough if I bought and own it I can TRADE, EXCHANGE or RE SELL IT when I want ….. or not?

One more proof that people does not have yet a sense that virtual and real are forever connected and that common sense and the law should not be able to undo what decades of social struggles and civil rights evolution have accomplished.

STOP SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act)

I guess you don’t know about SOPA although you should. I guess most do not care about SOPA although they should. There is something fundamentally wrong about the way SOPA is formulated and as we have seen more and more in the past few years there is a profound alteration of the correct balance  between the right to protect copyrighted material and the legal consequences faced by individuals who download or exchange such material for non economic purposes. These contradictions are often reflected in the very practices of the same corporations and lobbies that push for this legislation. This video explains some of these contradictions, He might be a big crude in his explanations but he makes a point.

or more seriously “why SOPA is a bed idea” clay shirky


The Infosphere, the Geosphere and the Mirror: The Geomedia-Based Normative Renegotiations of Body and Place, Francesco Lapenta, new article out now:

my new article out now: The Infosphere, the Geosphere and the Mirror: The Geomedia-Based Normative Renegotiations of Body and Place Francesco Lapenta in Mobile Technology and Place<a link amazon link Edited by Rowan Wilken, Gerard Goggin in Series: Routledge Studies in New Media and Cyberculture

The Infosphere, the Geosphere and the Mirror. The Geomedia Based Normative Renegotiation of Body and Place.

First there are the utopias. Utopias are sites with no real place. They are sites that have a general relation of direct or inverted analogy with the real space of Society.  They present society itself in a perfected form, or else society turned upside down (…). There are also, in every culture, in every civilization, real places – places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia  in which the real sites (…) are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. I believe that between utopias and these quite other sites, these heterotopias, there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which would be the mirror.  Focault


EU court says ISPs can’t be forced to monitor users

a new ruling by the European Court of JUstice (ECJ) stated today that Internet service providers cannot be forced to block their users from downloading songs illegally, as such an order would breach EU rules, Europe’s highest court said on Thursday in a ruling welcomed by a consumer group.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its verdict in a case involving Belgian music royalty collecting society SABAM and Belgian telecom operator Belgacom unit Scarlet.

SABAM asked a Belgian court to order Scarlet to install a device to prevent its users from downloading copyrighted works. The court ruled in SABAM’s favor and order Scarlet to install such a device. However, Scarlet then challenged the ruling, prompting the Belgian court to seek advice from the ECJ.
“EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files,” the ECJ said.
“The filtering system would also be liable to infringe the fundamental rights of its (Scarlet’s) customers, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their right to receive or impart information,” the Luxembourg court said.