EU-funded researchers with the MAPPING project have developed a new observatory to monitor policies and projects that focus on the social and legal impact of the internet.
The MAPPING observatory will gather, organise and make publicly available information related to issues such as privacy, intellectual property rights and internet governance. By doing so, the observatory will avoid replicating and duplicating existing research work and allow interested parties to reuse this information free of charge.
Run from a dedicated website, it will also monitor relevant policy decisions and trends, such as the EU’s push for obtaining encryption keys from internet firms to counter terrorism.
The tool is a key deliverable of the MAPPING (Managing Alternatives for Privacy, Property and Internet Governance) project, launched in March 2014. The overall objective of the project is to achieve a better understanding of the many economic, social, legal and ethical aspects related to internet development, along with their consequences for the individual and society. The project brings together universities, research institutes, international organisations, NGOs and software companies.
MAPPING also aims to provide stakeholders with a forum for informed discussion on issues ranging from personal data and e-government applications to open innovation. For example, a roundtable event was recently organised covering the topic of ‘Privacy, Personality & Business Models’. Various experts from academia and the private sector shared their views on topics like technical and legal aspects of cryptography, antivirus standards, IT security legislation and new business models.
In the upcoming year the MAPPING consortium plans to pursue further dialogue online and offline, enabling an even wider range of relevant actors and stakeholders to come together in a multidisciplinary environment in order to tackle the most pressing issues of the digital transition.
The next major project event is planned for Autumn 2015, when the consortium will be organising the first General Assembly in Hanover, Germany. The team also hopes to publish the first results of the focus groups shortly.
Finally, MAPPING’s conclusions and recommendations will be compiled in a road map, which the team believes will help shape the future of internet technologies in Europe. For example, in order for the Internet of Things concept to become a reality, the boundaries of internet privacy need to be clearly defined and understood. There are hopes that the Internet of Things – a network of physical objects or ‘things’ embedded with electronics, software and sensors – will create a new world of benefits and market opportunities.