Rocco Bellanova

Senior Researcher

Rocco Bellanova
Work phone: +47 22547782
Twitter: @ikkibop

Research Interests

​Rocco Bellanova's research focuses on questions of privacy and data protection as applied to security and surveillance practices and technologies.

Rocco has recently completed a PhD in Brussels, at the Centre de Recherche en Science Politique (CReSPo) of the Université Saint-Louis and at the Law, Science, Technology and Society (LSTS) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His doctorate analyzes the powers and politics of data protection, in particular in relation to the deployment of security technologies based on passenger data. His focus is mostly on the so-called Area of Freedom, Security and Justice of the European Union, and on its external dimension in relation to the United States. He has published on topics such as the body scanners, the EUROSUR project, the connection of DNA databases, the data retention directive.​

At PRIO, Rocco is currently working on three EU FP7 funded projects: IRISS (on surveillance and resilience in democratic societies); ETTIS (on European security trends and threats); PACT (on public perception of privacy and security).

He is also member of the Scientific Committee of the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection - CPDP international conferences, and he has been part of its Programming Committee for five years.





English, French, Spanish and Italian



2010-2014: PhD on the Politics of Data Protection, at the Université Saint-Louis and at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

2006: Research Master in Political Science of International Relations - Sciences Po Paris, France

2005: Laurea Specialistica in International Relations - Università di Bologna, Italy

2004 (one semester): Overseas exchange program at the Université de Montréal, Canada

2002-2003: Erasmus at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Lyon, France



PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.


A complete list of publications is available at

Recent publications

Kloza, Dariusz (Darek) ; Stine Bergersen; Rocco Bellanova; & Ida Rødningen (2016) Monitoring report on emerging ethical challenges and current societal debates (Deliverable D2.2), LASIE Deliverables, 2. Rome: EU FP7 LASIE Project.

All publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Bellanova, Rocco (2015) Nurturing Ob-Scene Politics: Surveillance Between In/Visibility and Dis-Appearance, Surveillance & Society 13(3): 512–527.
Wright, David; Rowena Rodrigues; Charles Raab; Richard Jones; Ivan Szekely; Kirstie Ball; Rocco Bellanova & Stine Bergersen (2015) Questioning Surveillance, Computer Law & Security Review 31(2): 280–292.
Bellanova, Rocco (2014) Data Protection, with Love, International Political Sociology 8(1): 112–115.
Duez, Denis & Rocco Bellanova (2013) Le citoyen face aux nouvelles pratiques sécuritaires de l'Union Européenne : enjeux démocratiques d’une sécurité par les fichiers [Building Security on Citizens' Data: Democratic Issues of New European Security Practices], Espace Populations Sociétés 349–62.
Bellanova, Rocco (2013) Politics of disappearance: scanners and (unobserved) bodies as mediators of security practices, International Political Sociology 7(2): 188–209.
Vermeulen, Mathias; & Rocco Bellanova (2012) European ‘Smart’ Surveillance: What’s at Stake for Data Protection, Privacy and Non-Discrimination?, Security and Human Rights 23(4): 297–311.
Bellanova, Rocco & Denis Duez (2012) A Different View on the 'Making' of European Security: The EU Passenger Name Record System as a Socio-Technical Assemblage, European Foreign Affairs Review 17(2): 109–124.

Book Chapter

Duez, Denis & Rocco Bellanova (2014) Humains et non-humains dans la fabrique des frontières de l’Europe: une approche in medias res de l’européanisation [Humans and Non-Humans in the making of European Borders: A Proposal for a 'In Medias Res' Approach of Europeanization], in Denis Duez, ed., L'européanisation - Sciences Humaines Et Nouveaux Enjeux. Bruxelles: Bruylant (223–247).
Bellanova, Rocco & Paul De Hert (2014) Practices and Modes of Transatlantic Data-Processing. From Sorting Countries to Sorting Individuals?, in The Routledge Handbook of European Criminology. London: Routledge (514–535).

Conference Paper

Bellanova, Rocco (2016) What can Robocop(s) teach to critical security studies? An “amateur” reading of surveillance, (dis)order, and critique, presented at 7th Biennal Surveillance & Society Conference, Barcelona - Spain, 20–23 April 2016.
Bellanova, Rocco & Ann Rudinow Sætnan (2015) A Bird(er)'s-Eye View of Surveillance: Expanding Surveillance Studies' Metaphor Vocabulary, presented at Annual Meeting of Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), Denver, CO, 11.11.15 – 15.11.15.

Report - Other

Kloza, Dariusz (Darek) ; Stine Bergersen; Rocco Bellanova; & Ida Rødningen (2016) Monitoring report on emerging ethical challenges and current societal debates (Deliverable D2.2), LASIE Deliverables, 2. Rome: EU FP7 LASIE Project.

Report - External Series

Sondergaard, Susanne; Giacomo Persi Paoli; Kate Robertson; Richard Warnes; Lindsay Clutterbuck; Rocco Bellanova; Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert; Ingrid Solberg; & Joanna Pilner (2015) TACTICS: Policy and strategic impacts, implications and recommendations, Research Reports. London: RAND.

Blog Posts

From the House of Cards to House of Data?

Posted by Rocco Bellanova on Thursday, 10 March 2016

The fourth season of the Netflix series House of Cards was released worldwide on the 4th March. Which is to say, the week-end when many International Relations (IR) researchers are still rushing to finalize their conference paper for the annual convention of the International Studies Association (ISA). And, if you are reading this post, you are probably feeling guilty for having spent the weekend binge-watching the series, instead of reworking your draft one more time. I certainly do. However, as the series teaches us again and again, we should not let guilt rule us. Better run ahead, even if this ...

The Discreet Charm of Passenger Data: Big Data Surveillance Coming Home

Posted by Rocco Bellanova on Thursday, 14 January 2016

Several governments see in the mass-surveillance of passenger data the key tool of counter-terrorism. These data are generally known as PNR – Passenger Name Records, and their potential for law enforcement has been discussed at least since the 1990s. Now European Union (EU) debates about the creation of a European PNR scheme seem settled once and for all. Others have already provided legal analyses of the measure to come. Here the goal is different: I aim to show how urgent it is to start researching the political dimensions of this security program right when all politics fade away. While PNR ...

Edward Snowden: the last Big Brother?

Posted by Rocco Bellanova & Gloria González Fuster on Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Following last year’s revelations, Edward Snowden seems to be trapped in a role ironically reminiscent of another famous character – George Orwell’s Big Brother. You are being watched. This classical surveillance slogan hides a subtler, and more insidious message: you must believe you are always being watched, and you probably are, but you will never be certain of that, or get the full picture of how. That is the logic behind the motto. And on this logic relies the functioning of surveillance’s ghostly dynamics: a logic of uncertainty and fear…. Read more in the original article that was published 13 May 2014 ...

Give Us Your Phone and We May Grant You Asylum

Posted by Rocco Bellanova, Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert & Raphael Gellert on Monday, 17 October 2016

Images of refugees using smartphones have now become common in the Western media landscape, and everybody seems to have learned that refugees and migrants, too, use smartphones. Indicative of this awareness, European governments are now looking into how to make use of these assets in their identity checks and in the processing of asylum seekers’ demands. As such, smartphones are not just a key tool for surviving long and dangerous journeys, but also an asset that makes anyone using it more vulnerable to digital surveillance. In this blog post, we discuss how smartphones are becoming the new best and worst ...

Get to Know Your Data Double!

Posted by Stine Bergersen, Marit Moe-Pryce & Rocco Bellanova on Wednesday, 23 November 2016

We all have a “data double”. But how well do you really know this other aspect of your identity? Unless you know what your entirely digital identity looks like, you should take responsibility for finding out and, at the same time, contribute to a digital drive to ensure that we all gain better control over our online, digital, lives. Very often it is our data doubles, not our physical selves, that will be assessed by the future employers, new flames, or benefits officers who make decisions about us. A data Picasso? A large number of businesses, public sector bodies, and ...

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