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From the North Pole to WWW: Social and political construction of cyberspace and Internet regulation in Russia

November 11, 2013
01:00PM - 02:00PM

Annenberg School for Communication, Room 500
3620 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, 19104

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Categories: Seminar

The talk suggests exploring Internet regulation beyond specific measures suggested by government, such as new legislation or law enforcement that seeks to restrict Internet freedom. Relying on the Russian case study, it describes the major social and political constructions of cyberspace that are adopted and promoted by Russian authorities, and argues that the strategies of construction are a key factor for development of regimes of Internet regulation. The talk describes the models of Internet construction that can be identified in Russian Internet policy on national (internal) and international (external) levels.

It argues that on the national level, Internet control is constructed as a form of protection of citizens from a variety of social threats. While the authorities have the capacity to force various types of regulation, the most significant forms of Internet freedom restriction take place in an environment where these efforts are supported by public opinion and considered as legitimate by a majority of citizens. On the international level, the major efforts are focused in order to apply the traditional geospatial notion of space to the cyberspace. The latter argument is presented through comparative analysis of Russian position in regard to Internet governance and the regulation of the Arctic region.

Gregory Asmolov is a PhD student in New Media, Innovation, and Literacy at the London School of Economics media department. His research focuses on the development of online political institutions and ICT based models of governance in crisis situations. Previously, he worked as a consultant on information technology, new media, and social media projects for The World Bank, American Councils for International Education, and Internews, and was a research assistant at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Additionally, Gregory worked as a journalist for major Russian daily newspapers Kommersatn and Novaya Gazeta and served as a news editor for and analyst for Israeli TV