8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (IV). Fundamental rights

Notes from the 8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Challenges and Opportunities of Online Entertainment, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 9-10 July 2012. More notes on this event: idp2012.

Communications on fundamental rights
Chairs: Miquel Peguera. Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Political Science (UOC).

Constitution 2.0 and Rule of Law: on the Iceland Constitution.
Pere Simón Castellano, Derecho Constitucional de la Universitat de Girona.

Even if everyone has to obey the law, it is also true that theory and practice of Law are somewhat different things. ICTs may have also helped in this dichotomy from theory to practice, affecting the rule of Law.

Transparency and participation have, on the other hand, also changed the landscape of law enforcement and its efficiency.

The case of the Iceland Constitution is a very good example of this change of paradigm. The whole process, all the debates and conversations were either streamed or published online.

But can the Iceland case be extrapolated to other places with more population? Does it scale? Is the citizenry ready for more doses of democracy? Will people be eager or able to participate more intensely?

Redefining the isegory: open data citizens.
Helena Nadal Sánchez, Departamento de Derecho Público de la Universidad de Burgos; Javier de la Cueva González-Cotera, Abogado.

Why isegory? Our actual challenges are very much like the challenges that had to face our ancestors. Technologies might be a little bit different, but they are technologies anyway. Open data is a new way of understanding freedom of expression, the capability to participate and engage in citizenship.

The initiative Adopt a Senator showed that citizens are usually more careful and efficient in providing good data on public issues. They work better for democracy through transparency.

The principle of demarcation: data traceability should be under certain criteria, like validity: that is, truth may not be necessary, but formal rigour is absolutely a must. Coherence of data. A heuristic in 4 stages has been drawn so that validity can be assessed depending on its traceability.

Isegory breaks with hierarchy and the deterministic approach to history. Citizenship is liquid and it is on a daily basis, on doing, that institutions are built. Permissions have to be dealt with under the light of freedom of expression, not intellectual property.

Data preservation and illicit actions in matters of intellectual property: a constitutional vision of the Directive 2006/24.
María Concepción Torres Díaz, Profesora de Derecho Constitucional, Universidad de Alicante.

What is the possibility and/or the impact on law that ISP reveal personal data in case of infraction of intellectual property rights? What are the rights affected? Privacy, data protection, secret of communications, intellectual property rights. Which is the priority? And in case where priorities were fixed on whether the crime is felony, how do we describe what constitutes felony?

In principle, personal date have to be available for research purposes, and detection and prosecution of serious crime.

Thus, depending on each specific case, it has to be accurately assessed the purpose of disclosing personal data. In any case, the Court of Justice of the European Union allows the disclosure of personal data if the national law (in this case in Sweden) also allows this disclosure.

The balance between intellectual property and data protection: on the changing weight of a new law.
Gloria González Fuster, Researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Research Group on Law Science Technology & Society (LSTS) (Belgium).

SABAM (the Belgian authors association) in Scarlett Extended vs. SABAM and SABAM vs. Netlog asked for content filtering because of copyright infringement. Both cases have been partly cited as good examples for voting against ACTA.

Historically, the Court of Justice of the European Union has been inconsistent and changing on the way it has approached data protection when the later has been confronted against intellectual property rights. The problem has always been finding the correct balance between data protection or privacy and intellectual property rights.

In the cases of Scarlett Extended and Netlog, the Court of Justice of the European Union states that imposing filtering systems does not respect the fair balance between intellectual property rights and the right of personal data protection.

The “Ley Sinde”: a lost opportunity to regulate online entertainment in Spain.
Ercilia García Álvarez, Catedrática Facultad de Economía y Empresa Universidad Rovira i Virgili; Jordi López Sintas, Profesor Titular de Universidad Facultad de Economía y Empresa Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona; Sheila Sánchez Bergara, Estudiante de Doctorado de la Universidad Rovira i Virgili.

Recently, there have been new practices in online entertainment that carry with them new legal tensions and legal answers to these tensions (both at the academic and legislator levels). But these answers have not really fit reality or practice. History has shown that there is an unbalance or bias towards intellectual property right holders, and users are usually last in line.

The Spanish “Ley Sinde” has not solved any of these problems. There are neither changes in consumption or practices nor in business models.


8th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2012)

EduDretTIC2012: Planning teaching through ICTs

Communications session on Planning teaching through ICTs. Chairs: Patricia Escribano, School of Law and Political Science, UOC

Teaching methodologies to stimulate the interest in a subject with the help of ICTs
Antoni Carreras Casanovas, Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

This is an experience with undergrad (Labour Law, Journalism) students of Constitutional Law, that has been running for 4 years.

There is a mix of theory and practice. The practical part requires writing collaboratively an essay/dossier and presenting it in public, normally taped in video. Another practice consists in online debates on current issues that appear in the news. Last, a final test is performed on the topics that have appeared in each online debate.

Results: the assessment of the experience has been valued by the students with 8/10 for all the experiences (presentations, debates, news). The final marks have also increased in circa 15%.

More information

A proposal for teaching Law Philosophy with technology: interdependence knowledge-learning in thinking skills
Nuria Belloso Martín & Helena Nadal Sánchez, Universidad de Burgos.

We support the idea that ICTs should be used to enrich the traditional lecture, instead of substitute it. The problem of the traditional lecture is that the knowledge that is transmitted cannot be examined, the student cannot have a bound with that knowledge. Thus, the goal of this experience is to enhance participation.

During the first part of the lecture, the lecture is done as usual but a document is handled to the student with references and further reading. Then, a second document is handled with assignments that the student has to complete — normally assignments that require some browsing on the Internet.

Methodology and electronic resources to design and develop a subject in the area of Financial and Tributary Law in offline and online mode
Amable Corcuera Torres, Universidad de Burgos.

Use of Moodle not to make a difference between students that choose to attend classes and students that choose not to or just cannot attend classes.

Traditional lectures are also taped on video and then uploaded to the University repository, and linked from the class space on Moodle.

More information


Ismael Peña-López: where is the line that separates engagement and overwhelming the student with workload? Antoni Carreras: a first thing to take into account is that the topics have to be attractive and useful to the student. Having the news as a source of topics is usually a good idea to find out attractive and interesting topics. On the other hand, what the students have to do is just keep with the pace of the schedule. Assignments always deal with the most recent lecture, so that they are about reinforcing, with a little bit of effort, what has just been covered in the class. So, it is not a lot of burden, but what the student should otherwise do to review and study the latest lesson of the subject.

Q: should the use of ICTs be fostered on an cost-savings basis? Corcuera, Nadal: of course knowledge should be open and free, but the use of ICTs should be pedagogy-led and not economy-led.

Q: does taping conditions in any sense the way the lecture is imparted? Amable Corcuera: no, it does not.

Q: how does the syllabus change or is adapted to a different way of assessing the students? Antoni Carreras: there is no problem in adapting the syllabus to the new platforms or whatever.


3rd Conference on Law Education and Information and Communication Technologies (2012)

7th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (IV). Net Neutrality: communications

Notes from the 7th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Net Neutrality and other challenges for the future of the Internet, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 11-12 July 2011. More notes on this event: idp2011.

Track on Net Neutrality
Chairs: Rodolfo Tesone Mendizabal, President of the SDTIC (Information and Communication Technology Law Section at the Barcelona Bar Association)

Helena Nadal Sánchez
Without Net Neutrality, where then the universal logic of innovation?

Postmodernism is based on neo-liberal ideologies that do not acknowledge the lockean concept of (necessary, public) control, or the habermassian concept of the agora, the place to meet and share insights and knowledge.

A sustainable development of the Internet should be agreed. Knowledge societies cannot be built if knowledge does not flow freely. The basis of innovation is not only talent, but the exchange of knowledge.

David Arjones Giráldez
Net Neutrality from the perspective of its layer-based architecture: from public carriers to content managers?

The layer-approach to define the Internet is based on splitting it in different layers, at least three: physical layer, logic layer, content and services layer. There are three principles:

  • Each layer must be fully regulated in its own.
  • An agent in a layer must not operate in any other layer.

  • Regulation must be layer-aimed. A specific rule can apply to many of them, but they should not be designed with this goal in mind.

Within this framework, the problem of Net Neutrality can be approached different than usual.

For instance, if operators are tampering on content or services, they are going against the rule where agents cannot operate in but one layer.

Thus, the saturation of the network can be solved with a layer-based new pricing model, but without altering the rest of the layers.

Cristina Cullell March
Net Neutrality and freedoms in the telecommunications reform in the European Union: are they present in whole Europe?

The La Rue report (PDF, 140Kb) for the United Nations (May, 2011) states that access to the Internet should be as a fundamental right. How is Europe treating this right?

Key aspects of Net Neutrality that the EU has already include in their directives:

  • Freedom of choice.
  • Transparency.
  • Quality of service.

European institutions before Net Neutrality:

  • The European Commission thinks an open Internet is a major concern. Indeed, it guarantees the “freedoms on the Internet” of the European citizens, and informs the Council and the Parliament.
  • European Parliament links Net Neutrality with Digital Rights.
  • ORECE: member states are responsible for guaranteeing the neutrality in their territories. Guarantees the normative coherence and harmonization in the European Union. It publicizes good practices.

Does the EU require a complementary regulation on Net Neutrality? Surely we have to work harder on defining transparency and in setting a minimum threshold for quality of service.

José Manuel Pérez Marzabal
Open Internet, Net Neutrality and defence of the competence

There is some overlapping, a symmetry between antitrust regulation and the telcos regulation. And even if maybe the debate around Net Neutrality is not be a debate on the telecommunications’ market competition, more market competition undoubtedly favours major degrees of neutrality.

Clara Marsan Raventós
The Net as a public space: Is Net-neutrality necessary to preserve on-line freedom of expression?

It’s increasingly difficult to think about things one cannot do on the Internet. As a space, people are used to meet in that “space” regardless on who is actually providing the technological platform, only aiming at not being banned or filtered on that public space.

So, as a public space, the Internet becomes more important and the management of the information that populates is becomes a crucial aspect for the society.

Of course there are limits operating on the Internet, as public morality… as anything that already operates in the physical world. The problem being that while the Internet is truly global, such a thing as public morality is exclusively local, cultural, social.

The, which are the actors that can control the Internet and who can say whether public morality should or should not be an issue in the Internet?

There already is a vast array of tools that can be used for censoring content on the Net. And worst of all, those are tools that are decentralized and can be applied at different levels of the chain of content transmission. As tools are widespread, so are the different actors that can apply them in their processes.

Negotiation must then be a multistakeholder one.


7th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2011)