Versione italiana

A 1-page description of the Nexa Center is available here.

The last Annual Report of the Nexa Center is available here.

The Internet considered in a wide sense - and therefore including topics such as Big Data, Internet of Things, Factory 4.0, Online privacy, and Computer Ethics - is a powerful technology. A technology at the same time disruptive, generative, pervasive and constantly changing. 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 (2006-2013), COMMUNIA, the European Commission-funded thematic network of 50 partners aimed at studying the digital public domain (2007-2011), Neubot, a software project on network neutrality (2008-present), and LAPSI, the European thematic network on legal aspects of public sector information funded by the European Commission (2010-2012).

The Nexa Center cooperates with international partners for the development of joint interdisciplinary research projects and initiatives. From October 2014 to October 2016, the Nexa Center took the role of coordinator of the Global Network of Internet & Society Research Centers (NoC); launched by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University in December 2012, the Network supports the cooperation among the main Internet & society research centers worldwide. The Nexa Center has partnership agreements with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University (2011). In 2013 the Nexa Center has become part of the Global Network Initiative (GNI), a multi-stakeholder international group devoted to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector.

Since December 2016, the Nexa Centre has been involved in two projects funded by the European Union: DECODE (H2020), which provides tools that put individuals in control of whether they keep their personal data private or share it for the public good; the project ended in December 2019. EDU-HACK (Erasmus +), a capacity-building programme for university educators who wish to learn how to produce digitally-supported learning experiences, experimenting with innovative approaches and tools, which ended in August 2020.
In 2018 Nexa Center has collaborated to the writing of the White Paper, released by AgID (Agency for Digital Italy). The aim of this document is to analyze the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on our society and, specifically, how these technologies can be used by Public Administration (PA) to improve services for citizens and businesses.
Since March 2018, the Nexa Center has been involved in the project funded by the European Union STRATEGYHACK, in order to support the priorities of the Digital Education Plan, focuses on capacity building on mid-level institutional leaders. Since June 2021, the center has also been collaborating in another EU-funded project, CLIKC, which intends to experiment with an innovative way to effectively train unemployed people, in an attempt to shorten the duration of the unemployment period and allow the active labor market system to focus on weaker categories.

In April 2012, the Nexa Center has launched the “Digital Revolution” undergraduate course at the Politecnico di Torino, the first full-scale teaching activity entirely planned by a member of the Nexa Center (Nexa co-director Juan Carlos De Martin), focused on Internet & Society, and involving several members of the staff of the Center, as well as prestigious guest lecturers. The course ended in 2020.
Starting from March 2019, the Nexa Center co-director Juan Carlos De Martin activated the course “Tecnologie Digitali e Società" (Digital Technologies and Society) in the context of the Master’s degree programmes in Computer Engineering and Electronic Engineering at Politecnico di Torino. The course aims at providing the students with a critical reflection on the mutual influence between society and information technologies and on the forces shaping the latter, with an interdisciplinary approach.
In the 2019/2020 academic year, the Politecnico di Torino master course "Data Ethics and Protection" (Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering) was activated. The course aims at giving students an increased awareness of the role of data scientists and data experts in society, and a better understanding of the main challenges that they face in developing innovative data-driven products and services. The course is held by Alessandro Mantelero (coordinator and lecturer), Juan Carlos De Martin (lecturer) and Antonio Vetrò (lecturer).
Starting in March 2022, the new “Great Challenges” curricular course was inaugurated. The course was proposed by the Politecnico di Torino as compulsory training for all engineering students: six "great challenges" of our contemporary times, each articulated in four different directions, for a total of 24 courses of around 150 students each, co-taught by as many pairs of lecturers, one with a technical background and one from the world of human and social sciences. A general introduction was given by the well-known philosopher of science Telmo Pievani. As part of the Digital Challenge, Nexa Centrer co-founder and co-director Juan Carlos De Martin, with the support of Nexa Center staff, held the course “Politics and Technology”, to explore aspects of politics in its relationship with technology. The course was co-taught by philosopher Massimo Cuono, associate professor at the University of Turin.

On the basis of such experiences, the Nexa Center wishes to become a point of reference for Internet research in Europe (and beyond), 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, co-founder and co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and other renown scholars and thinkers, 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.

The Nexa Center is a research center of the Department of Control and Computer Engineering of the Politecnico di Torino.

Contact information available here.