Full Professor emeritus

Jan Smits

Department / Institute
Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences


Jan Smits is a Full Professor and Chair of Law and Technology in the Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences department at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). His areas of expertise include telecommunication engineering, interdisciplinary branches of law and political science.  

During the first fifteen years of his appointment, Jan Smits’ research mainly focused on (mobile) telecommunication and digital TV. In the last decade, the focus has been on privacy protection and information security. He found that non-technical disciplines have a difficult time at a Technical University, because they are not core disciplines for an engineer. However, it is precisely the humanities and social sciences that can provide colour and richness to the engineering programs. Technology and Law touch each other in many places in society: self-driving cars, smartphones, cloud services and medical equipment, for example. But in the area of technical standardization that not lawyers, but engineers make 'laws'.

Being able to reach into the bright minds of young people has been my most rewarding experience.”


Jan Smits received his law degree from the University of Tiburg in 1982. After working as an assistant professor at the Legal Faculty of the University of Nijmegen for three years, he joined the faculty of Legal Informatics at the Utrecht University as a lecturer. In Utrecht, he was a member of a research group, which developed a methodology for the construction of legal knowledge systems, using techniques from artificial intelligence (various publications resulted from this research). At this time, he became involved in both national and international telecommunication law. This resulted in his PhD thesis in 1990, entitled ‘Legal aspects of implementing international telecommunication links; institutions, regulations and instruments’. 

In the Eindhoven Brainport region municipalities, Jan built fibre optic networks for all citizens. He also co-founded Brainport Center for Technology and Law, in order to show engineers that where the law is often perceived as an obstacle, it is also possible to see it as a design tool. Jan is a member of a foundation that regulates premium rate numbers Stichting Informatiediensten code (Stic). He has been a member of the SURF Foundation Scientific Technical Council (WTR). He is also an independent telecom consultant and (co-)founder of 2knowit BV and has published several books.

Ancillary Activities

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