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The Global War for Internet Governance

February 12, 2014
12:00PM - 01:30PM

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

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Speaker: Laura DeNardis

Categories: Seminar

Internet governance conflicts are the new spaces where political and economic power is unfolding in the 21st century. Technologies of Internet governance increasingly mediate freedom of expression and individual privacy. They are entangled with national security and global commerce. The distributed nature of Internet governance technologies is shifting historic control over these public interest areas from sovereign nation-states to private ordering and new global institutions. The term “Internet governance” conjures up a host of global controversies such as the prolonged Internet outage in Syria during political turmoil or Google’s decision not to acquiesce to U.S. government requests to remove an incendiary political video from YouTube. It invokes narratives about the United Nations “taking over” the Internet, NSA surveillance revelations, cybersecurity concerns about denial of service attacks, and the mercurial privacy policies of social media companies. These issues exist only at the surface of a technologically concealed and institutionally complex ecosystem of governance that is generally out of public view. This talk explains how the Internet is currently governed, particularly through the sinews of power that exist in technical architecture and new global institutions, and presents several brewing Internet governance controversies that will affect the future of economic and expressive liberty.

Dr. Laura DeNardis is an author, Internet governance scholar, and a Professor in the School of Communication at American University. Her books include The Global War for Internet Governance (Yale University Press 2014); Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability (MIT Press 2011); Protocol Politics: The Globalization of Internet Governance (MIT Press 2009); and Information Technology in Theory (Thompson 2007, co-authored with Pelin Aksoy)She is an affiliated fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and served as its Executive Director from 2008-2011. She is also currently a Senior Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a co-founder and co-series editor of the MIT Press Information Society book series, and the Vice-Chair of the Global Internet Governance Academic Network. DeNardis holds an AB in Engineering Science from Dartmouth College, an MEng from Cornell University, a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from Yale Law School.