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26 January 2023 at 16:00 CEST - Online

How to configure Identity and Freedom
in a Digital Society



How to configure Identity and Freedom in a Digital Society.

Riccardo Genghini’s research on a natural law for a digital society, tries to find new answers to old problems that arise every time the human society shifts from one communication medium to another.

Social unrest (and war) have ensued during the transition from oral tradition to literacy; with the invention of the printing press, of the radio, of the cinema, of the television and now with internet and social media. But also individual and mass transportation have had an important role in changing human society.

The instinctive reaction, has always been, to see the new medium as (part of) the problem and to try tu curb it with censorship, limitations on personal freedom, in particular the freedom of movement and other police measures.

On the other hand today nobody would doubt, that each improvement in the technology for storing and communicating information (form handwritten documents, to printing press, radio, cinema, television) have been relevant cultural and social phenomena, that have significantly extended the access to knowledge, and transformed language, politics and society.

If only half a century ago some intellectuals dreamed of a society where only printed books would provide “good knowledge”, today nobody dreams of reversing our society into a cultural XIX Century.

Still, we see that mass communication (and in particular social media) are nagging at the fabric of our open pluralistic democratic societies.

What can be done, to reinforce pluralistic democracy in a digital world? 

We need new principles of natural law for a digital society that are the digital equivalent of "Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”: this is the Digital New Deal.

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About the host

Riccardo Genghini, first with CEN, now with ETSI, steers the European standardisation on PKI and trust services since 1999.  

Since 2003 he has researched the legal and social meaning of identity in a digital society. 

His  findings on a natural law for a digital society have been influenced in particular by Galgano, Popper, Sebeok, Rawls, Ong, Irti, Searle and Ferraris.

As professor at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano (2007-2017), his lessons on commercial law focussed on the comparison between the law merchant of the Middle Ages and the commercial practices of today’s IT companies, such as Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

His book "Digital New Deal: the Quest for a Natural Law in a Digital Society" discusses the legal principles and the technical means, that are necessary for upholding the values of open liberal societies in a digital world.

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