Ermes, the European Research Centre on Media for E-Society), is born in the University of Naples Federico II and it aims to foster a European space for the intercultural learning in fields which move from the E-Technology to the E-Society thanks to the lasting and continuous dialogue and exchange between jurists and engineers.

The spreading and the continuous development of the Internet have erased many distinction of the academic tradition. Have merged the knowledge, promoted new ways of international cooperation in the field of the research and have designed a new kind of teaching from remote united to the live ones. Therefore, allowing interaction and exchanges between people and things which were unthinkable.

   Ermes develops an idea: the study of the Law and the one of the Technique have become coessential the one for the other. If the law controls the technique this one is the starting point of the regulative process. The law cannot allow itself to under-look and underestimate the way of working of the Networks, which have become actual means for the exercise of both individual and collective liberties; and additionally, the technology is able to narrow, the distances between people only if it is guided by the law to arrange equally the ones who start from diverse initial fortunes.

   Ermes, collects therefore, jurists and engineers around a method: in the awareness that there is no incompatibility between innovation and legislative boundaries, the research must merge both the horizons and the capabilities to answer to the reality. The informatics' evolution  threatens the liberties if it is used to elude the existing juridical guarantees, but on the other hand, can enhance the rights if it is guided by the principles of social substantial equality and legality. The disciplines, do not stop the development, but they keep it close to its essence: merging to the man's wellbeing. If the Technique requires the rule, the rule cannot ignore the technique.

    - One of the primary objectives of Ermes is to find a way of a “sustainable development” of the communications: the legality and the constitutional values must be guidelines and not obstacles for the progress. Internet improves the capabilities of relation of each and every one of us, multiplies the grounds for the exercise of fundamental liberties and economical rights but is also the new social space for the performance of duties of solidarity. If benefits only who already holds a position of dominance, increasing it, the network divide, not unite, and becomes an instrument of subjugation, not of  freedom. 

   Ermes, despite the diversity of beliefs and sensibilities of its fellows researchers, looks to the Internet as the new resource to complete the project of substantive equality, that Article 3, paragraph 2, of our Constitution has entrusted to those who would come later. 

The Centre therefore, aims to offer its own research work as a backup and to support to internal policies and European, in the scenario created by the repeated interventions of the policy decision-maker body inside (now with the Italian Digital Agenda), from the continuous dialogue with Europe. This is proving to be more careful, even with its own contradictions, with the reality of electronic communications, which have become the occasion for social inclusion, drivers of economic growth and missed chances in the international competition. The purpose of the supranational regulation is to draw with regards to the field of  information and communications a framework of rule, certain, clear in the applied technology and aimed to the equally widespread welfare and responsible involvement of the person in the democratic process. 

    The European Commission intends to work in order to reorganize  its own  regulatory corpus, which has been formed by additional layers which are now no longer in line with the objectives mentioned previously; with regards to that Europe has asked the contribution of juridical knowledge, those of technical nature and  the expertise of the stakeholders (public institutions, associations, private). The Center Ermes intends to answer to this call with his technical-legal skills, that should be inspired by the logic of interdisciplinary, which belongs since the beginning to the cultural Heritage of the Centre.

The Centre, not for mere chance, agrees with the “Commission for the Rights and Duties of the internet” established from President of the Chamber of  the Deputies, on. Laura Boldrini, the same ground of survey, while not ruling out any solutions other than the ones delivered draft “Declaration of the Rights of the Internet” disegned by the Commission.


- Specifically, the object of the research is divided at least four main areas, but the matter is impatient to the definitional schematics and then the list below has only an indicative meaning, therefore not binding for the future developments of the research, which may well investigate a fifth area at the time not yet emerged.
Enucleating the areas:

    a) The fundamental Freedoms, in principle favored by the Internet because they see duplicate their area of exercise, may instead be damaged if the absence of rules in the network puts the mediation between the values opposed to private groups of interest. But also a discipline significantly biased in favor of economic freedoms to the detriment of the values of the person can compromise; as well as the situation of the Internet, despite its borderless  and bounder-free nature, broken up into many segments, as many as the legislating states. Hence the questions underlying the research of the Centre: the freedoms are reliable to the hetero-legislation or the uncontrolled autonomy of the private?
Or a third way, which is to draw composite systems that in a logic proper division of labor, rely on public hands as it is inherent to the common good and to the soft law more complementary profiles and accessories? And again, this Legislator, necessarily supranational, which nature may have? The Nature of The Government or of  the People or the network? Or even in this case it moves forward its hybrid nature?

    b) The online communications. This sector is at the center of the public debate. To the question of is and how the Internet must be regulated, it is added the one, not less relevant, inherent to the choice of the policy of investment (public or private) which is more suitable to the New Generation Networks (NGN), taking into account the balance sheet bonds and the social vocation of the networks themselves. These last ones represent a reality which is under a path definition, not always linear and straight, even because the separation and division of competences puts them under diverse regulatory contributions which come from many public subjects. At the moment is in itinere (ongoing) the draw of the asymmetrical means, of the technical ways of the building of the NGN, of the networks' provider and not less important, of the online security: the researchers of the Center will be dedicated to all this promising questions;

    c) The audiovisual media services. Here to the eternal questions about the identity of the public provider and of its mission are added the unknown ones, which are born thanks to the use of the new platforms for the transmission of the online data contents. And if on the one hand, this crowded market place of ideas is an undoubted multiplication of information for the online citizen, on the other hand it is at the same time, source of new individual dangers and of raising social tensions; among them, just to indicate one of them the difficult co-existence between security and fundamental liberties. To them the regulator must give a well-balanced answer, meanwhile, we, the fellow researchers must investigate them with open eyes.

    e) the E-Government. This Copernican revolution of the new millennium is also an occasion for the Administration to comply with forgotten constitutional duties: impartiality, good trend, accountability, responsibility and transparence. However, with regards to this aim is necessary that must be pinpointed the most helpful technological means and created the juridical mechanisms that will make their involvement in compliance with the aim already pointed out. Consider, among the others, to all the projects which are related to the theme of the smart cities, which is the new kind of framework of management of the urban territory, which is intended to make the quality of life of the citizens better, by taking advantage of the new technologies of communication and of information (for example, free wi-fi networks, open sources, open data etc). However, its own realization assume the full coverage of the territory and the knowledge of the new disposals, only at this minimal condition the E-administration would have made the life of each and every one of us better.

The cross nature of this fields of interests will require the mutual integration of specialist technical juridical knowledge which Ermes will intend to make available even to the internal and European regulatory activity with ideas, solutions, which of course only the political discretionary choice of the Legislator will decide whether or not assuming them.

- The Centre aims to carry out an activity which apart of being theoretical have also actual practical involvement in the privileged fields of research. Ermes is born with a vocation to the innovation, coming firstly from the scientific method, which starts from the concrete reality, and then from the juridical method, which has the capability to offer porous and full-balanced answers to the social needs of the man and the woman of the new millennium. Therefore, the Centre is interested in realize forms of co-operation with public and private subjects and national and international, and to be a candidate to multi-level programmes of research and development.

The following things are programmed:

  1. continuing educational programs of studies, meticulous in the method and innovative in the means
  2. participation to national and foreign programs of research
  3. organization of postgraduate master programs, course of studies and of specialization in the environment of University Federico II
  4. void educational formation and update for the Public Administration workers and for private subjects
  5. find money support for funding scholarship and internship of research
  6. promotion of cultural and professional exchanges of its own researchers both at foreign and European institutions
  7. welcoming of experts and foreign experts for the development of studies and research's activities
  8. welcoming thesis' writers
  9. welcoming internship project participants
  10. organization of events, congresses, workshops with sector operators and stakeholders
  11. co-operation with other Universities, Faculties, P.A. and sector Authorities
  12. expert advice to stakeholders
  13. scientific publications
  14. creation and management of a website of the Centre in open source modality, with sections dedicated to the news, to the activity of the Centre and to the publication of periodical reports and reviews.
  15. realization of a scientific book series
  16. seminars and laboratory activities held in English language as well as the one offered in Italian. The bi-lingual proposal must be read even under the light of internationalization, intended in a bidirectional way.

In the performance of its activities Ermes welcomes the challenge, common to the University Federico II and to entire Italian University: let that the more expert researchers must be provoked in their own beliefs by the youngest ones, and offer to the latters concrete opportunities for a path which is characterized by a full freedom of thought.


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