European Forum Alpbach: How Much Liberty Does a Society Need?

How much liberty do societies need? What degree of security is necessary to protect individuals on the one hand and ensure public order on the other? Are liberty and security opposites or are they mutually dependent in various areas of society? We will discuss these questions with experts from a variety ofam fields, touching aspects of criminal and social security law, network neutrality, access to resources and ethics in research.

For more information click here >>

Date: 23. August 2019 13:15
Location: Forum Alpbach, Hotel Böglerhof


Security Research Event 2018

The Security Research Event 2018 takes place under the theme "Making Europe a safer place: demonstrating the impact of EU-funded security research". SRE 2018 will gather 800 participants representing a wide range of security stakeholders, from researchers, industry representatives, public security providers and practitioners to policymakers from across Europe. Veronika Hofinger will participate in a panel discussion on "Radicalisation". More information can be found here.

Date: 06. December 2018 11:00
Location: Square - Brussels Meeting Centre, rue Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels


Confronting dilemmas of pre-trial detention

is the titel of the final international conference of the project funded by the Euopean Commission Towards pre-trial detention as ultima ratio (DETOUR). Besides the presentation of project results, well respected international experts will give key notes on the topic (Christine Morgenstern of Greifswald University and  Kristel Beyens of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels to be confirmed).

Date: 06. November 2017 10:00
Location: Ministry of Justice, Museumstraße 7, 1070 Wien


Daesh and the “new” terror recruits

50 years of terrorism research has failed to identify a terrorist profile. Research in this field has pointed out the incredible variety of individual psychology and socio-demographic features. More than anything, we have thus far believed that terrorists are not crazy, are usually idealists who end up using violence in pursuit of their political goals. Emerging data on the Daesh recruits in Europe seem to contradict these conventional assumptions in that: many of them have criminal backgrounds, little ideological and religious knowledge, come from disadvantaged socio-economic groups and some seem to suffer from psychological problems. Are we dealing with a paradigm shift? Or is it a regional specificity? After all, some studies have observed clear differences among European countries with regard to socio-economic background. What are the profiles and the drivers of jihadists and terrorists here in Austria and in our immediate vicinity? What are the connections between the scenes? 

Veronika Hofinger and Thomas Schmidinger will present findings of their recent study on "Deradicalisation in Austrian Prisons". 

Date: 29. March 2017 18:00
Location: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip), Berggasse 7, 1090 Vienna


Desistance and Restorative Justice

Veronika Hofinger will present the findings of a European reseearch project on Desistance and Restorative Justice at the final conference of the MARGIN project that will be held in Budapest (Hungary) from the 3rd to the 5th of April 2017.

Date: 04. April 2017 09:30
Location: Budapest


IRISS Press Conference

Surveillance techniques and their (un-)intended risks and side effects. To explore how those are used and exploited by state and industry and the social implications is the aim of IRISS.

Der Standard: Netizens, Netzzombies und Nacktscanner > Forscher nehmen Überwachung unter die Lupe >

Die Presse: Neue Konzepte gegen den Überwachungsstaat >
Wiener Zeitung: Big Brother's Feigenblatt >

Working Paper

New Working Paper: Juvenile Competency Adjudication

Michael W. Hanley (Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law) examines an empirical case study of a juvenile defendant tried in adult criminal court. The issue litigated before a 12-member jury was whether the particularjuvenile defendant was “competent” to stand trial in adult court. The findings were first presented in a work shop (18. May 2012 in Vienna) held by Aaron V. Cicourel and Michael W. Hanley.


Join the "ASSERT Database of Experts in Societal Security"


The European Commission funded ASSERT project is looking to recruit experts in ‘societal security’ to a new expert database.

Membership of the database is free and provides experts with opportunities to keep up to date with latest developments in societal security, to interact and share knowledge with other experts in societal security, and to participate in a fully funded certified ‘Masterclass in Societal Security’.

Information about how to join the ASSERT database can be found on the ASSERT Database of Experts in Societal Security >

Please note that to join the ASSERT database you are required to read the ASSERT Data Processing Statement >


Working Paper

IRISS-Press Release: “European responses to the Snowden revelations”

IRISS project discusses European responses to the Snowden revelations

A European research consortium has prepared a discussion paper on European responses to the revelations that have been emerging from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the contractor to the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The discussion paper reviews the institutional responses to the Snowden revelations, the judicial and legal consequences, the societal, economic, media responses as well as the positive impacts of the revelations.

It draws various conclusions related to the failure of oversight, the privacy-security trade-off paradigm, the breakdown of open democracy, resilience in a surveillance society and protecting privacy in a surveillance society.

The discussion paper is available for download on the IRISS website. IRISS is the acronym for Increasing Resilience in a Surveillance Society, which comprises 16 partners from nine EU countries. The project, which began in February 2012, analyses the spread of surveillance systems and technologies in public and private sectors from the perspective of their impact on the fabric of a democratic society. The project aims to explore options for increasing social, economic and institutional resilience and strengthening democratic processes and public discourse about appropriate reactions towards threats against open democratic societies. The EU provided the three-year IRISS project with a grant of € 2.6 million.

The discussion paper identifies several positive impacts of the Snowden revelations. They have helped immeasurably to raise society’s awareness of the pervasiveness of surveillance. The revelations have placed surveillance high on the political agenda. The issue of accountability is now being discussed. Until the revelations began, it appeared that there was minimal or no accountability of the NSA and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK counterpart to the NSA, to their elected officials. Some of the companies subject to surveillance intrusions have increased their security to make it more difficult for governments to surveil their networks. The NSA revelations seem to have had a salutary effect on the public’s paying more attention to their privacy. A Harris poll released 13 November 2013 showed that four out of five people have changed the privacy settings of their social media accounts, and most have made changes in the previous six months.

The discussion paper refers to the bane of the privacy-security trade-off paradigm. When politicians such as President Obama say that they welcome a discussion of the trade-offs between security and civil liberties, the public should be on guard. In striking a balance between collective security and individual privacy, the latter almost always loses out. However, the authors note that many experts and academics have discredited the trade-off paradigm. It is possible to have both privacy and security, without reducing one or the other. A better paradigm is to create what could be called a “balanced risk awareness. This requires the socially responsible management of risks, i.e., to identify risks to privacy and security, either separately or together, and, preferably in consultation with stakeholders, to identify ways of overcoming those risks with no or minimal negative impacts on privacy and/or security.  The discussion examines these issues and more and can be found here.

The IRISS consortium is led by the Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology (IRKS, Austria). The other partners include Trilateral Research & Consulting (UK), the University of Stirling (UK), the University of Edinburgh (UK), the Eotvos Karoly Policy Institute (Hungary), the Institute of Technology Assessment (Austria), the University of Sheffield (UK), the University of Hamburg (Germany), Vrije University of Brussel (Belgium), Open University (UK), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V (Germany), the Peace Research Institute Oslo (Norway), the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy), Comenius University Bratislava (Slovakia) and the Universität der Bundeswehr München (Germany).

For more information, contact:

David Wright or Reinhard Kreissl.

Call for Papers

Beyond Crime: Pathways to Desistance, Social Justice, and Peacebuilding

The European Forum for Restorative Justice invites practitioners, researchers, legal professionals, and policy makers to submit proposals for a paper presentation, training session, panel discussion, dialogue session, or a movie/documentary screening for its 8th international conference:

11-14 June 2014, Belfast