NETSO Research project 2010–2013

Name of the responsible leader:  Ahti Saarenpää, professor of Private Law
Title of the research project: Network Society as a Paradigm for Legal and Societal Thinking (NETSO)
Site of research: University of Lapland, Institute for Law and Informatics

The NETSO project aims to generate basic knowledge of the theoretical foundations and context of the network society development and to discover the subsequent changes in the legal, communicational and societal aspects of the process. The project deals especially with the foundational thinking behind the fashionable talk about ubiquitous information society.  This will be linked to the modern constitutional rights.

NETSO aims at discovering the changes in the network society, particularly in light of legal and sociological research, with several thematic foci. The research questions depicting the main themes can be listed as a number of How’s:

1.   How has information society as a concept evolved internationally and in Finland, both in scientific thinking and political discourses?

2.   How is the nature of legal regulation changing in the network society, while strengthening the role of  constitutional rights and the rule of law state? What is the role of watchdog  organizations in this development?

3.   How is individual privacy protected in the network society and in the information administration?

4.   How is the role of a consumer changing in the network society?

5.   How is e-governance changing everyday life and citizenship? Which are the new risks?

6.   How is the nature of IT business changing in the network society?

7.   How does the paradigm of network society challenge the conventional disciplines of law, sociology, media, art, computer and information systems, with new interdisciplinary approaches?

Project members

Members of the research team

The research team is composed of scholars in five Finnish university towns and abroad in six countries. The Finnish team members are listed below with links to personal websites when available. Their relevant (selected) publications are included in the Bibliography at the end. Those whom salary is applied for are given in italics, with the length of total amount of person months applied in brackets.

In Rovaniemi

  • Professor Ahti Saarenpää, University of Lapland, Institute of Law and Informatics
  • Professor Mauri Ylä-Kotola, University of Lapland, Department of Media Studies
  • Post-doc researcher Jari Råman, University of Lapland, Institute of Law and Informatics (1 year)
  • Doctoral student Johanna Tornberg, University of Lapland, Institute of Law and Informatics
  • Doctoral student Anneli Kourilehto, University of Lapland, Institute of Law and

In Helsinki

  • Professor Hannu Nieminen, University of Helsinki, Department of Communication
  • Professor Mika Pantzar, National Consumer Research Centre
  • LLD h.c. Reijo Aarnio, Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman
  • Post-doc researcher Marko Ampuja, University of Helsinki, Department of Communication

In Tampere

  • Professor Kaarle Nordenstreng, University of Tampere, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Post-doc researcher Juha Koivisto, University of Tampere, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Professor Harri Melin, University of Tampere, Department of Social Research
  • Doctoral student Ari Hautaniemi, University of Tampere, Department of Social Research 

In Oulu

  • Post-doc researcher Juhani Warsta, University of Oulu, Department of Information Processing Science

Outside Finland

  • Professor Lorena Donoso (Chile, University of Chile, Faculty of Law) is the Director of the Institute for Law and Informatics at University of Chile and possesses extensive experience in the relationships between law and information technology.

  • Professor Dr Wolfgang Mincke (Germany) is a legal theorist with experience in the evaluation of Finnish legal scholarship and legal education. He has also acted as a part time professor of legal informatics.

  • Adjunct Professor Mercedes Ortuño (Spain) is Legal Advisor in the Ministry of the Presidency. Formerly she was Head of the International Area of the Spanish Data Protection Agency. She also teaches European Data Protection in Georgetown University Law Centre (US).

  • LLD Irini Vassilaki (Greece/Germany) is an expert in computer crime and associated procedural questions. She has been a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the EU and teaches in several German universities.

  • Professor Gerald Quirchmayr (Austria, University of Vienna, Faculty of Computer Science, Department of Distributed and Multimedia Systems) holds doctoral degrees both in computer science and in law. He has held a chair in computer and information systems at the University of South Australia

  • Professor Peter Wahlgren (Sweden, Stockholm University, Faculty of Law, Swedish Law and Informatics Research Institute) is an expert of legal theory and legal information. He focuses on legal risk analysis and legislative techniques

  • Professor Frank Webster (UK, London City University, Department of Sociology) is a leading scholar on theories of IS. He is an adjunct professor of the University of Tampere too.