21 July 2022,
by Juraj Sikra, University Strathclyde
“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” Bertrand Russell
The aim of my visit was to work on developing a research comparison between the cybercrime reporting situation in Scotland vs. Italy. My application as a visiting researcher was accepted by Prof Stefano Chessa from the Department of Informatics at the University of Pisa and supported by Dr Federica Casarosa from the European University Institute.
This visit proved enriching in several ways and brought benefits to my home institution (University of Strathclyde) and Scotland in general beyond what was anticipated.
Firstly, from the perspective of improving cybercrime reporting it was revealed that, in Italy, people frequently report cybercrime to private solicitors, which suggests an important role of the private sector. This points to an important cultural distinction in the notion of responsibilisation, which refers to the shifting of responsibility for policing cybercrime from the government onto its citizens. The full extent of my findings in Pisa shall be integrated into a paper alongside publicly available statistics and interviews with practicing Italian lawyers. In conclusion, responsibilisation is present in Scotland and in Italy albeit with differing manifestations. Therefore, it is important to continue this cooperation so that international learning can take place for the purposes of improving cybercrime reporting.
Secondly, from the perspective of broader international alignment, it was revealed that Italy shares important overlaps in core civic values with Scotland. Namely, after meeting the workgroup of Prof Paolo Barsocchi (from the National Research Council of Italy) I was captivated by their determination to use cutting edge technology to improve health and social care services in Italian care homes. In particular, the work group is developing sensors as a part of an EU project to measure the positions of residents when they sleep. The purpose of this is, among others, to prevent skin abrasion development in less mobile residents. In conclusion, the National Research Council in Italy is determined to support projects that make Italy a more compassionate country centred around the needs of the most vulnerable. Therefore, it is important to develop new forms of cooperation to exploit this unexpected know-how. The benefits of this will manifest in the sharing of expertise that can be used to improve the lives of people dependent from health and social care services in both countries.
Finally, it is important to emphasise that these kinds of exchanges do not happen in a relational vacuum. It is hard to imagine that good quality research can be the product of anything other than good quality relationships. Hence, I was especially keen to understand and learn about the historical, cultural, and contemporary political context of Tuscany in particular, and Italy more generally, to show genuine respect for my hosts’ outstanding hospitality.
Looking back, I feel that I arrived in Pisa armed with a mere desire to learn and left with many warm friendships, happy memories, and a firm determination to enhance the research integration of University of Strathclyde with the University of Pisa in order to tackle shared challenges.