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Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Law Science Technology & Society (LSTS)

The interdisciplinary Research Group on Law Science Technology & Society or LSTS is a research centre at the department of meta-juridica at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, with Serge Gutwirth as its founder and director. It was founded in November 2003 and is devoted to analytical, theoretical and prospective research into the relationships between law, science, technology and society. LSTS focuses on the integration of legal perspectives in current Science Technology and Society (STS)-research. Starting point is that notions or principles such as legal mediation between rights and interests, democratic participation, rule of law, transparency, accountability, public interest, human rights and individual freedom should form a part of the constraints of scientific work. Crucial for LSTS is the challenge of conceiving scientific practices in such way that they respond to the demands of the democratic constitutional state. LSTS is the successor of the former Centre for the Interaction Law & Technology (CIRT), which carried out research in the field of computer law (privacy and data protection, EDI, computer crime, intellectual property, …), criminal investigation and police law, environmental law, the relationships between law and psychiatry, etc. When this research is continued by LSTS, today, however, the objective has significantly changed and broadened. As a result of broadening the scope, the monodisciplinary legal research is moving towards an explicit interdisciplinary undertaking. That is why, since its foundation, LSTS comprises some researchers of the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLWF) covering disciplines such as philosophy, philosophy of science, mathematics and logic. LSTS participates in a number of European research projects (notably SWAMI, FIDIS, REFGOV, PRITIUS and INEX) contributing to the study of future and emerging technologies from other than purely technical perspectives, notably investigating potential implications for the legal framework of constitutional democracy. Mireille Hildebrandt, a legal philosopher and workpackage leader of profiling technologies in the FIDIS network, works as a senior researcher in LSTS, focusing on the link between profiling technologies, human identity and legal subjectivity.   

LSTS senior members also teach in different disciplines and different universities both at graduate and post-graduate level (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Leiden University, Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Katholieke Universiteit Brussel, etc.)

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