pop AI first online workshop on AI in support of Civil Security: mapping functionalities and controversies



On 15th March 2022, pop AI project has organised its first online workshop (webinar) presenting the preliminary findings regarding AI functionalities in support of Civil Security and controversies mapping.


pop AI project is a 24-month Coordination and Support Action (CSA) funded by Horizon 2020 and coordinated by the National for Scientific Research Demokritos (NCSRD), based in Athens. The core vision of the project is to boost trust in AI by increasing awareness and current social engagement, consolidating distinct spheres of knowledge, and delivering a unified European view and recommendations, creating an ecosystem and the structural basis for a sustainable and inclusive European AI hub for Law Enforcement. Among key results, pop AI will provide the pandect of recommendations for the ethical use of AI by LEAs together with short-term foresight scenarios on AI ethics controversies and a long-term roadmap for 2040 with risks, mitigation and policy strategies to get there.


The objectives of the workshop were (i) to present and discuss the preliminary findings of the project (ii) discuss on AI scenario prioritisation, complementarity and synergies within the SU-AI cluster (ALIGNER, pop AI and STARLIGHT) and (iii) to provide entry to the platform for an inclusive stakeholders’ community engagement around the ethical development and application of AI in LEAs. The workshop included 50 attendees including 10 practitioners from Law Enforcement Authorities (20%) and a 40% participation from external experts: members of the pop AI Stakeholder Advisory Board, EC Officers, representatives from the sibling projects, ALIGNER and STARLIGHT as well as other projects of the extended AI research cluster.


In the context of pop AI results this first webinar illustrated the work carried out within two different tasks: the taxonomy of AI functionalities in the security domain (led by NCSRD), and the mapping of on controversy ecosystem of AI application in civil security domain (led by Trilateral Research Enterprise).


The first part of the webinar and after a short pop AI project overview by the Coordinator, provided an overview of the use of AI in different areas of application in civil security in Europe namely, i) crime prevention, ii) crime investigation, iii) cyber operations, iv) migration, asylum and border control, and v) administration of justice. Controversial cases were presented to discuss and identify the relevant legal, ethical, social and organisational issues, the potentials and the concerns of AI application in these areas as well as the stakeholders involved from the development and employment to the policy-making of the technologies; including civil society organizations, local and national authorities, MEPs. The discussion of the findings and among the partners showed that there is a need for multi-disciplinary collaboration to address issues that emerge from diverse levels; technological limitations (i.e. poor design decisions, biases in datasets), problematic employment of technology (i.e. lack of training), lack of policies and transparency at an organizational level and lack of unified and harmonized legal frameworks which the Artificial Intelligence Act aims to cover. This exercise led to the mapping of the AI innovation in civil security controversy ecosystem allowing the identification and inclusion of stakeholders beyond innovators and technologists.


The second part of the webinar explained the theoretical approach for building a taxonomy on AI-related LEAs functionalities. This activity is of outmost importance to guide upcoming activities in the project (e.g.  the definition of a practical Ethics toolbox for the use of AI by LEAs, as well as the delivery of roadmaps and future scenarios) but also to serve as a common ground to align discussions and work with the sibling projects. The proposed approach is to catalogue the AI technologies based on their functionalities (e.g. recognition, communication, data-analytics, surveillance) and, for each of them, identify the related ethical and legal issues, technological maturity level and relation with other functionalities.


In the third session, the floor was given to the representatives of sibling projects ALIGNER and STARLIGHT, which address topics of identified synergy and complementarity and are engaged in defining research roadmaps and outlining possible pilot or future scenarios for the use of AI technologies in LEAs activities.


Within the ALIGNER project, work began in October 2021 on the development of an ‘archetypical scenario’ and the associated framework for the forthcoming scenario narratives. This led to the recognition that AI technology in the context of policing and law enforcement has a dual nature, where it is both a crime and security threat and yet it is also utilised in the service of police and law enforcement agencies (P&LEA). From the perspective of ALIGNER scenarios, there is a need for them to reflect this duality and hence ALIGNER will produce ‘AI crime and security threat scenarios’ and ‘P&LEA AI use-case scenarios’. A framework to support the scenario narratives for both of these types has been developed from two typologies based on the large (and increasing) number of examples and case studies as they come to light. It is envisaged that this process of discovery will continue throughout the life of the project, generating insights and modifications that can in turn be incorporated into the iterations of the ALIGNER research roadmap document.

During ALIGNER session, there were a lot of synergies identified with pop AI. Both look at ethical aspects of the use of AI by law enforcement, both will develop scenarios for the use of AI by law enforcement agencies and police, and both will categorize AI technologies. Both projects have engaged with each other to find the specific synergies within these areas and explore in more detail how to leverage each other’s results. For example, while the technology watch approach by ALIGNER looks in detail at a limited selection of relevant AI technologies, pop AI will provide an exhaustive taxonomy mapping of AI functionalities. These approaches can and will build on each other. Similarly, ALIGNER the taxonomy of AI support crime might be relevant for pop AI. Although, the initial version of the ALIGNER taxonomy is only planned for release in September 2023, timeline discrepancies are already well identified and early engagement is planned between the projects.


Regarding the use of scenarios, the workshop has made clear that the technological and ‘business’ aspects of AI technologies need to be assessed in a cross-disciplinary approach, including the societal implications of AI (mis)use. This is identified as another area of exchange between pop AI and ALIGNER.


The workshop concluded with the STARLIGHT session. The project’s main ambitions include: (i) implementing human-centric AI based solutions with a coherent data strategy for the safety and security of our society and (ii) Building a community that can promote a human-centric approach to AI for security that is: responsible, explainable, trustworthy and accountable.

Early draft of Use Cases was presented and an alignment discussion within the cluster of SU-AI projects took place. The following tasks of the project were identified and discussed in the context of synergy with pop AI: Privacy & Security by design – Data Handling Support and Comparative Study on Data Access; Ethics by Design – Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Algorithmic Bias; LEAs Acceptance: Ethical and Socio-Economic Aspects; Fundamental Rights, Law and Security Research; Impact Assessment Cycle. Finally, STARLIGHT explained the project’s Ethical and Legal Observatory (ELO) platform and a timeline was discussed for follow-up actions and participation to the next ELO meeting.


The webinar was conducted in the spirit of fruitful cooperation and allowed gathering food for thought for pop AI partners and external experts while showing opportunities for further joint activities with the other sibling projects and their networks.




Summary compiled by pop AI [Paola Fratantoni, Dimitris Kyriazanos and Pinelopi Troullinou] with contributions from ALIGNER (Lindsay Clutterbuck and Daniel Lückerath) and STARLIGHT (Dieter Decraene)

pop AI, ALIGNER and STARLIGHT are funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union for Research and Innovation. GA number: 101022001, 101020574 and 101021797 respectively.

Ing. Zanasi has been invited to present at the IX Moscow Conference on International Security, opened by the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

The President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin opened the IX Moscow Conference on International Security held on June 22-24, 2021. The conference is organized by The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and is devoted to discussing issues of strategic stability, global and regional security. The central topics for discussion are contemporary threats and challenges to security in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as arms control, cybersecurity, and information warfare.

At the invitation of the General of the Army, Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu, more than 150 worldwide experts coming from the US, Russia, China, and other countries of South America, Europe, and Asia joined the forum. Formerly Carabinieri officer, IBM researcher, and academician, Ing. Alessandro Zanasi, founder and president of Zanasi & Partners (Z&P), has been invited to give a speech on the opening day talking about “International Security Research in AI and Cyber defence”. During his speech, he exposed the advances of international cooperation in such fields as national security, cybersecurity, fights against international terrorism, and organized crime.

Strengthening international cooperation is currently one of the priorities of the EU strategy to combat cyber threats and organized crime, and the EU is prioritizing the creation of a strategic framework for conflict prevention and stability in cyberspace. Cyberattacks are one of the main global threats of our time, and therefore international cooperation is extremely important. A tremendous impact in achieving a secure international environment is played by the European projects in which Z&P participated, in particular:

  • the PYTHIA project (funded by the EC, awarded by the EDA, and technically coordinated by Z&P), whose objective is to develop an innovative methodology for performing strategic technology foresight in the defence context;


  • the SOLOMON project (funded by the EC, awarded by the EDA, and technically coordinated by Z&P), that aims at outlining the roadmaps for tackling the supply risk of the EU critical systems in a world of changing strategies, emerging technologies, and EU government restrictions;


  • the ECHO project (funded by the EC under Horizon 2020), which will develop a European Cybersecurity ecosystem to support secure cooperation and development, as well as to protect the citizens of the EU against cyber threats and incidents. ECHO is one of the four pilot projects financed under Horizon 2020 aiming to connect and share knowledge across multiple domains, representing the building framework of the European Cybersecurity Competence Center located in Bucharest;


  • the NOTIONES project (funded by the EC under Horizon 2020 and technically coordinated by Z&P), that will focus on building a network of practitioners from security and intelligence services of the EU Member States and Associated Countries, from the Industry, and from the Academia, with the objective to identify emerging technologies and research how they may satisfy the needs of security and public services.


The Moscow conference is attended by a significant number of top officials representing various world regions states. The Forum provides unique conditions for acquaintance with the broadest possible range of expert views on regional challenges and threats, and the opportunity to discuss the issues of greatest importance in the formation of views on international security.

For more information on the conference, please visit this page or watch the video webcast of the presentations (currently available in Russian, a version with English subtitles will be provided after the event).

Progetto PYTHIA – Seconda testing session

MODENA, 16/01/2020 – Il progetto PYTHIA (Predictive methodologY for TecHnology Intelligence Analysis) ha svolto la sua seconda testing session a Bruxelles, presso la sede dell’EDA (European Defence Agency), il 3 e il 4 Dicembre. Il progetto PYTHIA è stato finanziato nel contesto del programma PADR (Preparatory Action on Defence Research), atto a finanziare progetti in grado di incentivare la cooperazione, la competitività e l’innovazione nel campo della difesa europea.

Il consorzio di PYTHIA, guidato dal Project Coordinator Engineering Informatica S.p.A. e dal Technical Coordinator Zanasi & Partners, ha mostrato ai membri dell’EDA e della Commissione Europea presenti l’innovativa metodologia per effettuare previsioni tecnologiche di carattere strategico ed il loro possibile impatto sul modello di difesa dell’Unione Europea e degli Stati membri.

Per maggiori informazioni:


Alessandro ZANASI keynote speaker at the “EU Funding for Defence and Security Projects” conference (Brussels, December 2-3, 2019)

Ing. Alessandro Zanasi will be a keynote speaker at the “EU Funding for Defence and Security” event, organised by the European Academy in Brussels on December 2-3, 2019. On that occasion, Z&P’s President will deliver a presentation on “Strategic Technology Foresight in Defence – Experiences and Outlook 2020”, presenting activities and developments of the EDA-funded PYTHIA and SOLOMON projects (EDA PADR STF-2017/2018). This remarkable achievement comes as a proof of the steady growth of Z&P – only SME invited to deliver a presentation alongside key international actors, such as the European Investment Bank as well as the Greek and Finnish Ministries of Defence. Additional information on the event and the agenda is available at https://euroacad.eu/ev/s2423/

HackIstanbul 2019

Zanasi & Partners officially supports HackIstanbul 2019, an international cybersecurity event which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, in September 2019, within the context of the Teknofest event.

HackIstanbul 2019 CTF (Capture the Flag) contest will gather thousands of hackers from 132 countries worldwide to exhibit their skills.

Hackers’ skills will be pushed to the limits by advanced real-life cyber-attack scenarios prepared under the guidance of the world’s foremost experts. Hackers who succeeded in the preselection stage have gained access to enter the CTF challenge on August 29th. Every stage with different levels of difficulty and complexity will push the hackers to the limits while raising the excitement of the contest to the highest level.

Hackers who have reached August 29th will face a 2nd preselection challenge; the 18 hour CTF challenge will carry only the best hackers to the final round. The top 10 teams who succeed the CTF will be invited to Istanbul for the grand final stage that will be hosted at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on September 21st.

The winning team will be awarded 10.000 USD grand prize, while the 2nd best team will be awarded 6.000 USD and the 3rd team will be awarded 3.000 USD.

The winners will get their prizes from The President of The Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

ECHO project – Kick-off meeting (press release)

MODENA, 27/02/2019 – The ECHO project (European network of Cybersecurity centres and competence Hub for innovation and Operations) is one of four Pilot projects, launched by the European Commission, to establish and operate a Cybersecurity Competence Network. Amid keynote presentations from supporting representatives of EU agencies and industry, the project was officially launched at the Conference Hall of the Royal Military Academy of Belgium, on February 25th, 2019.

The ECHO project will deliver an organized and coordinated approach to strengthen proactive cyber defence in the European Union, through effective and efficient multi-sector collaboration. The project already involves 30 partners from the East to the West of Europe, and is actively engaging new partners interested to contribute to the cybersecurity resilience of the EU and in reaching the collaboration goals.

Through the project, the ECHO partners will develop, model and demonstrate a network of cybersecurity research and competence, with a centre of research and competence at the hub. While technology companies struggle with a fragmented view of security requirements across industrial sectors and fragmented national policies for security test and certification, the ECHO project will contribute an adaptive model for information sharing and collaboration among the network of partners and related agencies.

The main goal of the project is to organize and optimize the currently fragmented cybersecurity efforts across the EU. The Central Competence Hub will serve as the focal point for the ECHO Multi-sector Assessment Framework enabling multi-sector cybersecurity dependencies analysis and management including:

  • Development of cybersecurity technology roadmaps;
  • Creation of an ECHO Cybersecurity Certification Scheme aligned with ongoing EU efforts;
  • Provision of an ECHO Early Warning System;
  • Operation of an ECHO Federation of Cyber Ranges;
  • Delivery of the ECHO Cyberskills Framework, with training materials and training events;
  • Management of an expanding collection of Partner Engagements.


Through a 48-month work plan significant outcomes will contribute to improvements in the state of cybersecurity resilience across the EU. These significant events include:

  • Early outcomes from the ECHO Multi-sector Assessment Framework in early 2020, with identifiable opportunities for cross-sectoral cybersecurity improvement;
  • Deployment of operational demonstrations of the ECHO Early Warning System and ECHO Federated Cyber Range by mid- 2021, providing value added capabilities to partners and associated organizations.
  • Launch of multi-sector scenario demonstrations in mid-2021 involving technology solutions to cybersecurity challenges across primary sectors of Health Care, Maritime Transportation and Energy as a critical infrastructures, and including related sectors;
  • Ongoing evolution, improvement and adaptation of project outcomes throughout 2022.


The ECHO impact will be far-reaching. ECHO offers sustainable governance for a cybersecurity competence network, increasing the cybersecurity of the Digital Single Market across the EU. ECHO provides multi-centre engagement opportunities for new partners from EU agencies, industries and academia. ECHO’s approach will drive the possibilities to ensure resilient capacities to secure the European digital economy, infrastructures, society, and democracy.

Through collaborative information sharing, ECHO will deliver up-to-date knowledge of cybersecurity challenges, potential risks and threats together with forward-looking solution demonstrations that will contribute to improved understanding of the cybersecurity baseline and promote more effective use of the EU’s cybersecurity capabilities. Ultimately, ECHO will enhance the stakeholders’ capacities with better readiness and improved resilience capabilities.

To make the ECHO vision a concrete reality in Europe, ECHO comprises 30 partners from 15 EU member countries plus Ukraine, representing 13 existing cybersecurity competence centres and comprised of five research institutes in the cybesecurity domain; eleven large enterprises; four SME’s; and ten top level universities in cybersecurity including experts in human factors, experts in legal and ethical issues and communication.

The ECHO project is led by the Project Coordinator, Professor Wim Mees of the Royal Military Academy of Belgium. He is supported by a Project Management Board and a set of functional leaders ensuring success of the project. These supporting leaders include a Project Implementation Coordinator (Matteo Merialdo from RHEA Group); a Scientific and Technical Management Coordinator (Dr. Nikolai Stoianov from the Bulgarian Defence Institute); a Multi-sector Innovation and Exploitation Coordinator (Douglas Wiemer from RHEA Group); and a Quality and Data Management Coordinator (Tiago Carvalho from VisionSpace Technologies).


ECHO project

For further information on the ECHO project: https://www.echonetwork.eu/

Zanasi & Partners

Zanasi & Partners (Z&P) is a research and advisory company in the field of security and defence based in Modena. Its expertise includes big data analytics, cyber-security/cyber-defence, social media monitoring, threat, vulnerability and risk assessment. Among its clients, Z&P counts European Commission, ESA, ENISA, FRONTEX, CIRA, Siemens, GEDI Gruppo Editoriale, Booz&Co, as well as several ministries and government agencies falling under European countries and the MENA region.

For further information on Z&P: https://www.zanasi-alessandro.eu

Alessandro ZANASI keynote speaker at the 1st European Conference on EU Funding for Defence and Security Projects (Berlin, 27-28th September 2018)

Zanasi & Partners’ President, Mr. Alessandro ZANASI, will participate as keynote speaker to the “1st European Conference on EU Funding for Defence and Security Projects“, which will take place in Berlin, Germany, on the next 27th and 28th September.



Organised by the European Academy for Taxes, Economics & Law, the event will gather representatives from the EEAS, the defence industry as well as from various European Ministries of Defence (Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Finland), with the aim of discussing the new possibilities and the new challenges related to the European Union’s financing of defence and security actions.


The official brochure of the event can be downloaded here.

HackIstanbul 2018

Zanasi & Partners officially supports HackIstanbul 2018, an international cyber security event which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, in September 2018, within the context of the Teknofest event.



HackIstanbul 2018 CTF (Capture the Flag) contest will gather thousands of hackers from 132 countries worldwide to exhibit their skills. Hackers’ skills will be pushed to the limits by advanced real life cyber-attack scenarios prepared under the guidance of world’s foremost experts.


The deadline to register for the contest is September 6th. Hackers who succeed in the preselection stage on September 7th, will gain access to enter the CTF challenge on September 9th. Every stage with different levels of difficulty and complexity will push the hackers to the limits while raising the excitement of the contest to the highest level. Hackers who reach September 9th will face 6th preselection challenge; the 18 hour CTF challenge will carry only the best hackers to the final round.


The top 10 teams who succeed the CTF will be invited to Istanbul for the grand final stage that will be hosted at world’s one of the biggest airports IGA – Istanbul Grand Airport on September 22nd. The hackers will test their skills on the Anti Drone Command&Control Center Cyber Security Test System under development by ASELSAN. The winning team will be awarded 15,000USD grand prize, while the 2nd best team will be awarded 10,000USD and the 3rd team will be awarded 5,000USD. The winners will get their prizes from The President of The Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In addition, the participants who best performed during the event will receive a job offer from Zanasi & Partners.



Download the flyer of the event: here.

BODEGA project showcase at SDW 2018 (25th-27h June 2018 – London, UK)

On the 25th-27thJune 2018, Zanasi & Partners participated to a showcase of the BODEGA project, organised during the SDW Conference and Exhibition 2018. Hosted at the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Centre, a major conference venue located at the heart of London, the event provided the BODEGA consortium with the opportunity to present project results to stakeholders from government and industry as well as from the side of travellers.




Zanasi & Partners played a key role in organising the event. Mr. Alessandro BONZIO, who represented the company at the SDW 2018, chaired a series of public seminar sessions dedicated to BODEGA. During one of the seminars, he presented the findings of BODEGA’s research into data-driven risk analysis at EU borders, exploring the potential of big data analytics techniques in supporting early detection of high-risk travellers.



In addition to the public seminars, the BODEGA project was presented within a session of the SDW Conference themed “Intelligence and Innovation at the Border” as well as at BODEGA’s own exhibition stand available throughout the SDW 2018.


BODEGA is a research project funded by the European Commission’s under the Horizon 2020 programme, which started in June 2015 and is scheduled to end in September 2018. The aim of the project is to develop an expertise about human factors and border crossing at European level, in order to enhance the efficiency of border control procedures with no negative side effects towards the end-users, both travellers and border guards.


Besides BODEGA, Z&P is currently involved in also another research project in the border control domain, called TRESSPASS, which kicked-off in Athens in early June 2018.