The plenary panel discussion “Who Rules the Internet?” was the only public event that took place on October 6 at the AoIR2016, with about 600 guests attending. The annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers 2016 was hosted by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the Hans-Bredow-Institut for Media Research in Berlin, Germany, from October 5 - 8. After the opening remarks by Matthias Graf von Kielsmansegg (bmbf), Kate Crawford (Microsoft Research NYC), Fieke Jansen (Tactical Tech) and Carolin Gerlitz (Universität Siegen) discussed power structures and regulatory structures on the Internet. The discussion was chaired by Dr. Cornelius Puschmann, senior researcher at the Hans-Bredow-Institut since the October 1.
Who are the actors both in practices of rule-making and rule-breaking online, what are their motivations and resources, and how can their power relations and communicative figurations be described? How does the Internet influence the proliferation of the values that its platforms, services and infrastructures embody, and what spaces of creative resistance persist? How do various forms of technical, social, and cultural hacking subvert these orders? Drawing on the conference theme, we discussed these important questions with:
Kate Crawford is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York City, a Visiting Professor at MIT’s Center for Civic Media, and a Senior Fellow at NYU’s Information Law Institute. Her research addresses the social impacts of big data, and she’s currently writing a new book on data and power with Yale University Press.
Fieke Jansen researches and writes on the Politics of Data and digital shadows at Tactical Tech. She hopes to bring more transparency to the global data industry. Prior to moving to Berlin, Fieke worked on the intersection of the internet, social change and security, working at Hivos to set up and manage their digital emergency programme for human rights defenders and activists. She also co-authored a book called Digital AlterNatives.
Carolin Gerlitz is professor for digital media and methods at the University of Siegen. Her research addresses quantification and valuation in social media and the role of app ecologies. She is also a member of the Digital Methods Initiative Amsterdam and works on digital research methods for studying platforms and mobile media.
This public panel discussion was part of the conference AoIR 2016 that took place from October 5 - 9 in Berlin. For further information on the programme please visit aoir.org.