Network of Excellence in Internet Science

Politecnico di Torino (Nexa Center)

Founded in November 2006, the NEXA Research Center for Internet and Society at the Politecnico of Torino is an independent research center, focusing on quantitative and interdisciplinary analysis of the force of the Internet and of its impact on society. A force that can produce radical changes in the way reality is lived, perceived, organized, as well as trigger extraordinary opportunities for development. As usual when facing new phenomena, the novelty and complexity of these changes, of their dynamics and of their interactions with development opportunities beg significant efforts in order to revise concepts and methodologies of research. Understanding the Internet, its limitations and potential not only deserves such effort, but it is an indispensable course of action to ensure economic, technical, scientific, cultural and social development for the years to come. The NEXA Center for Internet & Society is born from the activities of an initially informal interdisciplinary group – with expertise in technology, law and economics – that grew up in Torino from 2003 and that has conceived, designed and implemented a number of initiatives: Creative Commons Italia (2003-present), CyberLaw Torino 2004, Harvard Internet Law Program Torino (2005), SeLiLi – free legal advice on open licenses for creators and programmers (2006-present), COMMUNIA, the European Commission-funded thematic network of 50 partners aimed at studying the digital public domain (2007-2011) and LAPSI, the European thematic network on legal aspects of public sector information (2010-2012). On the basis of such experiences, the NEXA Center, although young, is already becoming apoint of reference in Europe, interacting with the European Commission, regulators, local and national governments, as well as with business and other institutions – careful at preserving its academic and intellectual independence and with a special attention to the policy implications of its activities. The Trustees of the NEXA Center – among which prof. Charles Nesson and prof. Yochai Benkler, co-directors of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and other renown scholars and thinkers, such as prof. Stefano Rodotà – meet in Torino at least once a year to hear about the activities of the previous twelve months and to give the NEXA staff the benefit of their judgment regarding both past activities and the priorities for the following year.