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Tech&Society Conference: Facebookgate, ¿Do I Own My Data?

Espacio Fundación Telefónica
3/05/2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Conferencia Sandy Parakilas_versión2



Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica celebrated a new conference on May 3rd within the Tech & Society cicle with Sandy Parakilas regarding one of the most commented issues these days: social media and the privacy of their users’ data.

Since Cambridge Analytica case, the debate about the true functions and purposes of social media is upon the table. This debate has legal, economic and technologic repercussions.

The case has demonstrated that sometimes companies manage our personal data in unethical ways, but there also exists some responsabilities attached to users: are we aware of the data we share when downloding apps to play games? Do we care about what companies know about us? Do we know our rights on social media and the responsabilities of the companies owners of these social media?

Sandy Parakilas was privacy manager in Facebook from 2011 to 2012 and took key decisions regarding privacy policies and personal data transfers to third party. Since the outbreak of the crisis, Parakilas has become one of the most interviewed persons by international media to understand the case.

Sandy Parakilas (@mixblendr)

Former operations manager at Facebook (2011-2012), he has been one of the most critic insiders with the company privet policy after Cambridge Analytica case. Now he is an advisor in the Center for Human Technology, a company which works for one healthier technology, and a product manager at Uber.

He has managed operation teams in Uber and Facebook, designed social media campaigns for some of the biggest companies wordlwide and created some companies. Parakilas publishes articles and gives conferences about the technology industry. His articles has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post or WIRED.

Alison Wolf_versión1

CaixaBank and Aspen Institute España organized the conference and symposium “Alpha Females and the “Other” Women: How the Female Workforce is Driving Society-Wide Change”
celebrated on May 9th with Alison Wolf, professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London and member of the House of Lords.

The moderator was Lara Rosety, innovation consultant at Innova Partners.

Conference: “The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics”

Círculo de Bellas Artes
10/05/2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Conferencia Mark Lilla_versión4

Aspen Institute España and Debate publising house celebrated a conference with Mark Lilla in which the author presented his lastest book Tech & Society:
“Da Vinci, the innovator”

Walter Isaacson (Debate, 2018).

The conference was celebrated in english and followed in social media under the hashtag #AspenLilla.



Mark Lilla is a professor of humanities at Columbia University and a reowened contributor to the New York Review of Books and publications worldwide.
He is the author of Reckless minds papers (Debate, 2006, 2017); The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (Debate, 2010) and The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction (Debate, 2017). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Tech & Society conference: “Da Vinci, the innovator”

Espacio Fundación Telefónica
5/06/2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Conferencia Isaacson_versión2

Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica celebrated a new conference on June 5th within the Tech & Society cicle with Walter Isaacson, CEO of The Aspen Institute for the past 14 years and author of Leonardo Da Vinci: the biography (Debate, 2014); Einstein, his life and universe (Debate, 2008) or Steve Jobs (Debate, 2011); among others.

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from the conexion between technology, arts and humanities. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper.

Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions -greatly represented in the reproduction of Vitruvian Man- remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it: to be imaginative and to think different.

The conference was held in english and was translated simultaneously.

WALTER ISAACSON (@WalterIsaacson)

Walter Isaacson is a Professor of History at Tulane and an advisory partner at Perella Weinberg, a financial services firm based in New York City. He has been CEO of The Aspen Institute for the past 14 years, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow, and has been the chairman of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

Isaacson’s most recent biography, Leonardo da Vinci (2017), offers new discoveries about Leonardo’s life and work, weaving a narrative that connects his art to his science. He is also the author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014), Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).

He is a host of the show “Amanpour and Company” on PBS and CNN, a contributor to CNBC, and host of the podcast “Trailblazers, from Dell Technologies.”

Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of digital media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.

He is chair emeritus of Teach for America. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held from 2009 to 2012.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the American Philosophical Society. He serves on the board of United Airlines, the New Orleans City Planning Commission, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Society of American Historians, the U.S. Defense Department Innovation Board, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Recommended articles

Adam Grant, From Leonardo da Vinci to Steve Jobs: The Benefits of Being a Misfit, Knowledge@Warton
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators, Talks at Google Video
Walter Isaacson, The Innovators, The Aspen Institute
Walter Isaacson, Innovators of Digital Revolution, NBC “Meet the Press: Press Pass”
Walter Isaacson, The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs, Harvard Business Review
Walter Isaacson, Por qué Steve era distinto, El País


Conference: “Brexit Can Be Stopped”

Auditorio de Uría Menéndez
23/10/2018 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Conferencia Dixon_Invitación


Aspen Institute España organised a new conference on October 23rd with Hugo Dixon, journalist, entrepreneur, Chair of InFacts and Deputy Chair of the People’s Vote campaign, regarding one of the most controversial issues of these days: Brexit issue.

At the conference, celebrated in Uría Menéndez, Hugo Dixon spoke about the real fact of stopping the United Kingdom’s exit of the European Union. He analysed if it will be possible to deal a Good Brexit, Theresa May’s deal and a future possible scenario of general elections. Brexit won’t be completed untill March, 2019 and for Hugo Dixon there is still time to stop it.



Hugo Dixon

Hugo Dixon is a journalist, entrepreneur and campaigner. He is Chair of InFacts and Deputy Chair of the People’s Vote campaign.  He founded Breakingviews in 1999, which he chaired until it was sold to Thomson Reuters in 2009. He began his journalistic career at The Economist and he spent 13 years at Financial Times, the last five as Head Lex Column. He was a Brackenbury Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, where he gained a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He is also author of “The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better” and of the “Penguin Guide to Finance and Finance Just in Time”. Hugo Dixon was named Business Journalist of the Year 2000 in the British Press Awards. In 2008, he won the Decade of Excellence Award at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards.

Tech&Society Conference: “Weapons of Math Destruction”

Espacio Fundación Telefónica
29/10/2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica celebrated a new conference on October 29th within the Tech & Society cicle with Cathy O’Neil, author of “Weapons of maths destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy”.

Big Data makes the difference in many different sectors, increasing companies’ competitiveness or improving their decisions making process. Insurance companies, banks (when granting loans) or human resources departments are example of daily usage of algorithms in pursuit of efficiency.  However, for Cathy O’Neil, the design of these formulas brings important questions to the table: Allow algorithms equal opportunities? Make sense under a democratic system?  Perpetuate inequalities? Big Data evaluates risks, checks our health, assigns profiles and highlights one candidate over others, but why are they not transparent? Are they under some kind of regulation? Welcome to the darkest side of Big Data.

Our guest to this new Tech&Society session, Cathy O’Neil, is a northamerican mathematician, author of blogsite and author of some data science books, the last one, “Weapons of Math Destruction” was nominated for National Book Award 2016.


Cathy O’Neil

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks.

She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.

The conference was held in english and translated simultaneously.


Armas de Destrucción Matemática: Cómo el Big Data aumenta la desigualdad y amenaza la democracia

In colaboration with:

Capitan Swing negro


Conference: “The Worst is Yet to Come? A Warning from Europe”

Fundación Diario de Madrid
23/01/2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm


Aspen Institute España and Editorial Debate have organized a new session on “The Worst is Yet to Come? A Warning from Europe” a conversation between Anne Applebaum, columnist for The Washington Post, associate professor at London School of Economics and author of “Gulag” (Debate) 2004 Pulitzer Prize, and José Ignacio Torreblanca, Director at the office in Madrid and Principal Researcher at ECFR.

The session tittled “The Worst is Yet to Come? A Warning from Europe”, was moderated by Juan Moscoso del Prado, Aspen España Fellow, former Member, Chief of International Relations at CES Spain and professor at Deusto University.

The conversation revolved around the impact of polarization on politics, conspiracy theories, the attacks against freedom press and the obsession with loyalty into our democracies. The arguments exposed by Anne Applebaum in one of her lastest articles for The Atlantic were the starting points for the dialogue. Can a european society revolve against democracy, under an ennabling atmosphere?  Additionaly, the author spoke about her last book “Red Famine / Hambruna Roja” (Debate) about Stalin’s war on Ukraine.

The conversation was held in english.

Anne Applebaum
Anne Applebaum is columnist for The Washington Post, associate professor at the London School of Economics and collaborator at The New York Review of Books. Among her books, it should to be noted, “Gulag” (Debate, 2004) 2004 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction and “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe / El Telón de Acero” (Debate, 2014), Cundill Prize and finalist for the National Book Award. She lives in Poland with her husband, the polish politician Radoslaw Sikorski, and their two children.

José Ignacio Torreblanca
José Ignacio Torreblanca Director at the office in Madrid and Principal Researcher at ECFR. He was the first Director at ECFR in Madrid since the beginings of ECFR in Europe from 2007 to 2016 when he was named Opinion Director at El País. His areas of expertise include the internal affairs of the UE, the raise of populism and the euroscepticism, the institutional reforms, the enlargement and neighbourhood policy. He is Professor of Political Science at UNED in Madrid and member of the Juan March Institute. His latests books in spanish are “Asaltar los cielos” (2015), “¿Quién gobierna en Europa?: reconstruir la democracia, recuperar a la ciudadania (2014) and “La fragmentación del poder europeo (2011). In english he is co-author of “The Eurosceptic surge and how to respond to it” (with Mark Leonard, ECFR 2014) and “What is political union?” (with Sebastian Dullien, ECFR 2012).



Conference Tech & Society: “How To Be a Good Digital Parent”

Espacio Fundación Telefónica
7/03/2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica have celebrated a new session of the Tech & Society Program 2019 on “How To Be a Good Digital Parent” with Stephen Balkam, founder and director of Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and Noelia Amoedo, CEO of Mediamart Mobile, moderator of the debate with the assistants.


The digital environment arouses a logic concern among parents with sons and daughters of all ages. Overexposure of children to screens, not being mature enough to anticipate the dangers or understand the consequences, generate a multitude of questions: What guidelines should be followed by parents in the digital education of their children? What aspects should be paid more attention to? How to help establish a positive and enriching relationship between our children and digital technologies?


Biographies of the speakers

Stephen Balkam has had a wide range of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in the both the US and UK for the past 30 years. He is the Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, DC. FOSI’s mission is to create a “culture of responsibility,” in the online world to make the online world safer for kids and their families. Previously, Stephen was the Founder and CEO of the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), and served on the US Child Online Protection Commission (COPA); in 2001 he was named one of the Top 50 UK Movers and Shakers by Internet magazine. Stephen is a member of the Safety Advisory Board at Facebook as well as the social media app, Skout. For his efforts in online safety, Stephen was given the 1998 Carl Bertelsmann Prize in Gutersloh, Germany, for innovation and responsibility in the information society and was invited to the first and subsequent White House Internet Summits during the Clinton Administration. A native of Washington, DC, Stephen spent many years in the UK. He earned a BA, magna cum laude, in psychology from University College, Cardiff, Wales in 1977. He writes regularly for the Huffington Post, is a LinkedIn Influencer, has appeared on nationally syndicated TV and radio programs such as MSNBC, CNN, NPR and the BBC and has been interviewed by leading media outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has given presentations and spoken in17 countries on 4 continents.


Noelia Amoedo is currently the CEO of Mediasmart Mobile, a technology company in the field of mobile advertising. She is an expert in managing businesses based on mobile technologies, having worked in the industry since 2000. She has gained deep knowledge of the industry across the value chain thanks to her direct experience with multiple business models in more than a dozen international markets. Noelia has taken several executive roles in the past few years, including VP of marketing and business development for webOS in EMEA at Palm – HP’s subsidiary, VP of Mobile at the social network hi5, back when social networks were starting to succeed, and multiple senior positions with the mobile value added service provider Buongiorno, the last one of which was Managing Director of Buongiorno USA. Prior to her life on mobile, Noelia also worked at iPIN Transaction Systems in San Francisco back in 1999, where she first got acquainted with an internet based business. Noelia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics (major in optical communications) by Santiago de Compostela University, and a Master in Electrical Engineering by Stanford University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.


Third edition of the Tech & Society Program

This program, co-organized with Fundación Telefónica, aims to establish a forum for reflection on the issues raised by advances in digital technology and its influence in areas as diverse as human relations, politics, education, the economy or medicine. In each session, an expert on all those areas exhibits his own point of view on how digital technology is influencing our lives.


Tech & Society: The future of Internet: a social contract for the Web

Espacio Fundación Telefónica
20/05/2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Espacio Fundación Telefónica
Monday, May 20th 19:00h
The session will be held in Spanish


Aspen Institute España and Fundación Telefónica celebrate a new session of the Tech&Society Program 2019 on The future of Internet: a social contract for the web with José Manuel Alonso, Director of Strategy and Alliances at Web Foundation. Marta Peirano, is a writer, a journalist and the Deputy Director of the digital newspaper, will moderate the conference.

Descentralization, non-discrimination, collaborative design, or the universal service are some of the concepts over which the web was founded. They had a very clear objective: to make knowledge available to the whole society. Currently, while half of the world population do not have access to Internet, the other half put their privacy, security and fundamental rights at risk.

Within this session we will debate about the continuity of the values that underpinned the Web originally, what the Web is like nowadays and how to redesign it in the future. Could a social contract palliate the risks we are exposed to at the Web?



This event will be interpreted in Spanish Sign Language; held in Spanish and could be followed in social networks with #TechSociety. If you want to come, do not forget to book your ticket.


Biography of the lecturer

José Manuel (@josemalonso) serves as Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the Web Foundation, the organization established by World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee to advance the open web as a public good and a basic right. In providing strategic direction for the Foundation, he benefits from his deep knowledge of the Web and of the organization itself, as its longest-serving team member. He joined in 2011 to lead the Open Data program, later becoming the Director of the Digital Citizenship program. José has extensive experience in the fields of Open Data, eGovernment and Web standards. He has held a number of leadership and advisory roles, working on projects at the local, regional, national and global levels, including the Open Government Partnership, the International Open Data Charter, Open Ownership, Open Contracting, the Open Data Research Network, and the Open Data Initiative in Spain. He has served on United Nations and European Commission expert panels as well as on the Nominating Committee at ICANN, the organisation dedicated to preserving the operational security and stability of the Internet. Prior to joining the Foundation, José held several positions at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web standards-setting organisation, where he established and led the eGovernment Activity. He also launched the Spain country office. Originally a software engineer, José has worked as IT analyst, consultant and trainer, and even founded his own web startup back in 1997.


Biography of the moderator

Credits: Manu Bravo

Marta Peirano (@minipetiteis a writer and journalist and a long time advocate for citizen privacy, government transparency, digital security and community based infrastructure. She has been a member of multidisciplinar collective Elástico, codirector of COPYFIGHT festival and cofounder of CryptoParty Berlín, among others. She works as deputy director at Spanish national daily Her most recent book is The Little Red Book of Online Activism, an essay about the impact of digital surveillance, with a foreword by Edward Snowden. Her TED talk about digital surveillance has been watched more than 2 million times. She is working on a book about digital feudalism and political manipulation online.


Recommended Links

Sarpong, Eleanor, “Half of the world’s people are still offline. How do we connect them as quickly as possible?”, Alliance for Affordable Internet, February 5, 2019

Mattey, Carol, “Next Generation Digital Infrastructure: Promoting Investment, Competition and Consumer Protection”, Chapter 1 Fractured responsibility in a digital age, p 1-5

“Building a Contract for the Web — Next Steps”, Web Foundation, January 30, 2019

Harrison, Dominique, “Civil Rights Violations in the Face of Technological Change”, Aspen Institute EEUU April 22, 2019

“New Technologies and the Global Goals”, Web Foundation, January 10, 2019



Conference “The Light that Failed”

Fundación Diario de Madrid
28/11/2019 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Thursday, November 28 at 19:00h
Fundación Diario de Madrid
(Larra 14, Madrid)

Aspen Institute España, the European Council on Foreign Relations (EFCR) Madrid, and the Harvard Club of Spain co-organized the conference “La luz que se apaga” in collaboration with Editorial Debate, a conversation between Ivan Krastev, political scientist and chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and José Ignacio Torreblanca, head of the Madrid office and senior policy fellow of the EFCR.  The session was moderated by Romana Sadurska, board member of Aspen Institute España, executive vice-president of Fundación Profesor Uría and partner emeritus at Uría Menéndez.  The conference celebrated the publication of Ivan Krastev’s book, co-authored with Stephen Holmes, in Spain, The Light that Failed: A Reckoning (Allen Lane, 2019) – La Luz que se apaga: Cómo Occidente ganó la Guerra Fría pero perdió la paz (Debate, 2019).

Why did the West lose its political equilibrium after the Cold War?  The early nineties witnessed what seemed like an unstoppable expansion of Western democratic values in the East.  Nevertheless, changing geo-political attitudes in Oriental Europe provoked a rejection of what was considered a neo-colonialism veiled as liberalism that swept as far as western Europe itself.

In their latest work, Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes defend that the foretold «End of History» was nothing more than the start of an «Era of Imitation».  Through an extensive study of the last thirty years of geo-political history, the authors try to demonstrate that the wave of populist xenophobia in countries attempting to establish liberal democracies finds its origin in the Occidentalizing imperative that followed the fall of the Berlin wall.

The event was held in English and could be followed on Linkedin and Twitter using the hashtag #Laluzqueseapaga.





Ivan Krastev is a political scientist, permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a widely regarded expert on Balkan and European affairs.  He is the chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, a frequent collaborator at the New York Times and the author of the acclaimed book After Europe (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).



José Ignacio Torreblanca is a senior policy fellow and the head of the Madrid office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).  His areas of expertise include populism in Europe, Euroscepticism, common foreign security and defense policy, and EU domestic politics and institutional reforms.  He is a political science professor at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), where he teaches fundamentals of Political Science, the EU political system and democracy and legitimacy in the EU.  He is a member of the Instituto Juan March de Estudios e Investigaciones, writes the column “Café Steiner” for El Mundo, and is a frequent collaborator at RNE.  He has previously been a Fulbright scholar, a professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C., and a post-doc researched at the European University Institutein Florence.

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