Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Ana Pop Stefanija


Personal Description

We spend most of our waking hours scrolling and gazing at digital devices and displays. But what happens behind the screen? What happens with the personal and behavioural data we leave behind? How is this data used, who has access to it, who uses it, for what purposes? How much of the automated decisions are personalised, and how does this impact individuals and even society? These were the driving questions that lead me to start investigating the issues of digital privacy, data protection and algorithmic decision-making & transparency.

After few years of wandering around the methodological and technological landscape and affordances for studying algorithms, this interest culminated with my master thesis research. Focusing on datafication practices and algorithmic identity, I was both looking at methodologies to investigate algorithmic workings without opening the “black box”, and to assess and map the datafication and profiling “industry” around a user. This earned me a masters degree in Digital Communication, Policy and Innovation (2019) from Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Salzburg, adding to my masters degree in Communication (2012) from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University. At SMIT I work as a PhD researcher in Social sciences and AI, as part of the DELICIOS project, focusing on the socio-technological research and aspects regarding trust requirements for behavioural design of autonomous software agents.