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The CRIDS is divided into seven units, ensuring quality supervision of junior researchers by senior ones.

Liberties and Information Society Unit

The ‘Liberties’ Unit studies how fundamental rights and liberties can be protected in the ever-changing Information Society.

The main research topics are:
  • E-health, including products services and devices,
  • Cybercrime, including hacking,
  • Video surveillance, including e.g. steady cameras, pan-tilt-zoom (ptz) cameras in both open and private spaces and drones,
  • Radio-frequency identification (RFID),
  • Employee monitoring on the workplace,
  • Reuse of data, including open data.
These topics are tackled sometimes separately and sometimes together as they can be deeply connected.
The research unit conducts both fundamental and applied research and aims to be in phase with the field thanks to its junior and senior researchers as well of its academic members.

Intellectual Property Unit

The digital environment offers new opportunities for creators to achieve and disseminate their works, but it raises the challenge of effective protection of their rights. The Intellectual Property Unit studies copyright, trademarks and patents, in their interactions with information and communication technologies.

The main research topics are:
  • Enforcement of copyright on social networks,
  • Adaptation of economic rights, exceptions and limitations specifically for the Information Society
  • e-learning,
  • Open source and open access licenses,
  • Competition law and collective management,
  • Cloud computing,
  • Digital rights management,
  • 3D printing and additive manufacturing
  • Organization of the commons in Intellectual Property, including development of a legal regime to preserve the intellectual commons
  • Digital libraries and orphan works
  • Intellectual property on plants, plant biotechnology and plant databases
  • Relationship between IP and biodiversity food security issues.

eCommerce Unit

The eCommerce unit studies private law questions raised by the development of information technology and digital networks.

The main research topics are :
  • Electronic identification and trust services, such as electronic archiving, electronic signature, time stamping,
  • IT contracts such as private and public contracts for the acquisition of computer-related goods, including the question of (free) software licenses,
  • eMarketing: advertising and direct marketing on the Internet, whether by e-mail or new kinds of processes, including with regard to the protection of minors,
  • Electronic evidence and contracts concluded by electronic means,
  • Consumer protection and market practices for IT contracts,
  • eInvoicing and ePayments,
  • The liability of Internet intermediaries,
  • eCommerce platforms such as online auction websites and crowdfunding platforms,
  • International private Law questions on the foregoing topics.

Electronic Communications Unit

Electronic communications or telecommunications cover networks, services and terminal equipment used for the transmission of signals, and they constitute the backbone the information society. A regulation that is efficient, adaptable to technology evolution and applied in a proactive and transparent way by independent and competent authorities is of crucial importance for the European Union.

The main research topics of the Electronic Communications Unit are:
  • The relationship between Telecommunications operators and Over-The-Top (OTT) players,
  • The protection of end-user interests, including nNetwork neutrality,
  • The promotion of investments in broadband infrastructures,
  • The regulation of market power in the information society,
  • Universal services and public service media,
  • The role and characteristics of independent regulatory authorities,
  • The Belgian division of competences in the field of electronic communications.

Communication and Internet Unit

The Communication and Internet Unit is specialized in information and communication sciences and using various approaches: semio-pragmatics, cognitive semiotics, narrato-pragmatics, biographical approach, socio-cognitive approach, etc. At the crossroads of these approaches, the research of the Communication and Internet Unit is focused on the analysis, assessment and popularization of the phenomena that make up the Web: uses it generates, contents it produces, attitudes it supports or constrains, techniques which are used and modified by users, societal changes it induces and rules it creates.

The main research topics include:
  • Digital identities
  • New forms of self-narratives
  • Internet communication and private life
  • Internet addictions
  • Digital media education
  • Digital and media literacy
  • Internet knowledge learning
  • The virtual work environment and distant co-working
  • New forms of collaboration and sharing
  • Interactive and narrative gaming
  • Digital media and transmedia designing
  • Digital rumours
  • Social representations of digital media
  • Citizen participation in a 'digital society'

Technologies & Society Unit

The Technology and Society Unit (TSU) is composed of sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers and historians dealing with the roles, the uses and the social impacts of ICT. These researchers all share the same vision of technology and its relationship to nature and society: technology is never neutral, in the sense that only the societal effects would be capable of being evaluated and brought into question. On the basis of this assumption, the TSU carries out – among others – sociological assessments such as a social acceptability analysis or an ethical analysis and assessment, always taking into account a broader view of the contexts of technological artefacts as well as ‘usages studies’ of recent technologies.

eGovernment Unit

The e-Government Unit studies public law questions raised by the use of information technology and digital networks in the public sector and in companies in the private sector working with governmental bodies.

The main research topics are :
  • Open data and reuse of data
  • Transparency of governmental bodies
  • Electronic identification
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Cloud computing
  • Profiling
  • Public-private partnership
  • Legal status and accountability of specific authorities (Privacy Commission, the social security registry authority (Crossroads Bank for Social Security), etc. )
  • Legal obligations and accountability of governmental bodies and citizens in the specific context of e-government