Next Generation Society: Technological and Legal Issues

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Recent developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have paved a world of advanced communication, intelligent information processing, and ubiquitous access to information and services. The ability to work, communicate, interact, conduct business, and enjoy digital entertainment virtually anywhere, is rapidly becoming common place due to a multitude of small devices, ranging from mobile phones and PDAs to RFID tags and wearable computers. The increasing number of connected devices and the proliferation of networks, provide no indication of a slowdown in this tendency. On the negative side, misuse of this same technology entails serious risks in various aspects, such as privacy violations, advanced electronic crime, cyber terrorism, and even enlargement of the digital divide. In extreme cases it may even threaten basic principles and human rights.

The aforementioned issues raise an important question: Is our society ready to adopt the technological advances in ubiquitous networking, next generation Internet, and pervasive computing?To what extent will it manage to evolve promptly and efficiently to a Next Generation Society, adopting the forthcoming ICT challenges?

The e-Democracy 2009 conference (23-25 September 2009, Athens, Greece) is dedicated to this issue. Through a comprehensive list of thematic areas under the title “Next Generation Society: Technological and Legal issues”, the 2009 conference will try to stimulate discussions, create awareness, and provide information on the technological, ethical, legal, and political challenges ahead of us.