IDP2009: Welcome

This is some sort of a liveblog. I’ll make mistakes, and I’m multitasking, being selective and also working through translation in some cases, so this is an impression rather than a transcript. Enjoy.

Good morning! With all the usual health warnings (I’ve adapted mine above from David Weinberger‘s model – thanks…), I will present (both today and tomorrow) coverage of the fifth annual Internet, Law and Politics (IDP in Catalan and Spanish) conference, at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia). For those attending the conference, you will also see me at the end of each day presenting as rapporteur, and on this blog, I’ll try to post an update in respect of each of the main sessions. You can find the full programme here. The theme of the conference this year is social networking – pros and cons. Coverage also comes from UOC’s own Ismael Peña-López at his ICTlogy website, tagged (as you can too) idp2009 and available here.

We start with introductions: first from Eduard Aibar (VP for Research at UOC), highlighting the links between academic research and broader questions of social relevance, with social networks being a very useful way to explore this. We have our first mention of Obama – the first of many, I am sure! He adds that some of the speakers have travelled a long way. This blogger hasn’t had the longest journey (that prize probably goes to James Grimmelmann, more about him soon), but it is indeed a pleasure to have travelled to Barcelona. The other half of the introduction is given by the director of law and political sciences at the university, Agustí Cerrillo, who picks up the theme of an ‘encounter’ between different perspectives with a common concern regarding the Internet. He gives a summary of past conferences including cybercrime, e-commerce and privacy; social network sites are having a particular impact on society, including particular sectors. There are opportunities but also corresponding risks, for example with the exchange of personal information. It’s important to engage in thorough analysis of the challenge of social networks including from a legal point of view, so as to understand whether the law is fit for purpose. Cerrillo talks us through the programme, which as I say is available right here. He wraps up with a summary of all the technologies and platforms in use – blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, free-licensed journals, and much, much more.

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