Networked publics: multi-disciplinary perspectives on big policy issues

The editors of the Internet Policy Review are pleased to announce the publication of our newest special issue, bringing together the best policy-oriented papers presented at the 2017 annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) in Tartu, Estonia. The issue – on the broad theme of networked publics – was edited by guest editor William H. Dutton, Professor of media and information policy at Michigan State University.

The seven papers in the special issue span topics concerning whether and how technology and policy are reshaping access to information, perspectives on privacy and security online, and social and legal perspectives on informed consent of internet users. As explained in the editorial to this issue, taken together, the papers reflect the rise of new policy, regulatory and governance issues around the internet and social media, an ascendance of disciplinary perspectives in what is arguably an interdisciplinary field, and the value that theoretical perspectives from cultural studies, law and the social sciences can bring to internet policy research.

This special issue is the first major release of Internet Policy Review in its fifth anniversary year. The open access journal on internet regulation is a high-quality publication put out by four leading European internet research institutions: The Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), Berlin; the Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe), Glasgow; the Institut des sciences de la communication (ISCC-CNRS), Paris; the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Barcelona.

The release of this special issue officially kicks off the Internet Policy Review anniversary series of activities, including both an Open Access Minigolf during the Long Night of the Sciences (Berlin) and the IAMCR conference (Eugene, Oregon) in June, a Grand anniversary celebration (Berlin) in September and a participation in the AoIR2018 conference in October (Montreal). For up-to-date information on our planned activities, please kindly access:

Papers in this Special Issue of Internet Policy Review

Editorial: Networked publics: multi-disciplinary perspectives on big policy issues
William H. Dutton, Michigan State University

Political topic-communities and their framing practices in the Dutch Twittersphere
Maranke Wieringa, Utrecht University
Daniela van Geenen, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
Mirko Tobias Schäfer, Utrecht University
Ludo Gorzeman, Utrecht University

Big crisis data: generality-singularity tensions
Karolin Eva Kappler, University of Hagen

Cryptographic imaginaries and the networked public
Sarah Myers West, University of Southern California

Not just one, but many ‘Rights to be Forgotten’
Geert Van Calster, KU Leuven
Alejandro Gonzalez Arreaza, KU Leuven
Elsemiek Apers, Conseil International du Notariat Belge

What kind of cyber security? Theorising cyber security and mapping approaches
Laura Fichtner, University of Hamburg

Algorithmic governance and the need for consumer empowerment in data-driven markets
Stefan Larsson, Lund University

Standard form contracts and a smart contract future
Kristin B. Cornelius, University of California, Los Angeles

Link to Special Issue

Frédéric Dubois | Managing editor, Internet Policy Review
 Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society

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Pursuing a Career and a Higher Degree? Désirée Did

As an academic, I often meet people with successful careers who are contemplating a return to the classroom, such as to get an advanced degree – writing a thesis for an MA or PhD. For most, it remains a dream – but a colleague of mine – Désirée Miloshevic – who works in the Internet governance arena ‘did it’.

I met Désirée over 15 years ago as an academic interested in learning about Internet governance. She was working in the industry of names & numbers, and actively involved with the governance community that moves around the world from meeting to meeting. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Belgrade and is now living in London and working as the Senior Public Policy and International Affairs Advisor in Europe for Afilias, a global provider of Internet infrastructure and registry services. She always amazed me by how she could balance her life and work amidst the travel demands of her career. But she took the time to answer any of my questions about the people and issues tied to Internet governance.

A few years ago, when she spoke with me about pursing a Masters Degree, I thought it would be impossible. How could she take on another demanding set of obligations?

Well, she did it.

D. Miloshevic, Malta
D. Miloshevic, Malta

I just heard that in August 2015, Desiree was awarded distinction for her Masters thesis in the Department of International Relations at Malta University. The title of her thesis was ‘How is Trust Defined in Internet Governance Organisations?’ Or, she says: ‘Applied Ethics in Not-for-Profit Internet Organisations’. It was an empirical study anchored in a survey of five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).

Her reviewers noted that her thesis ‘focuses on these non-profit organizations in five global regions and aptly explores how these organizations embed the notion of trust in their daily activity.’ And she accomplishes this in a way that is likely to ‘impinge on future debates on Internet Governance’. The thesis completed her MA in Contemporary Diplomacy.

So when the next busy professional tells me that they want to pursue a higher degree, I won’t ask them why they want to do that – ‘You’re already successful’. ‘Why?’ Instead, I tell them about my friend Désirée.

Multistakeholder or Multilateral Internet Governance?

Global debate over alternative approaches to governing the Internet has been wide ranging, but increasingly has pivoted around the wisdom of “multistakeholder governance.” This paper takes controversy around a multistakeholder versus an alternative multilateral approach as a focus for clarifying the changing context and significance of Internet governance. A critical perspective on this debate challenges some of the conventional wisdom marshaled around positions on the history and future of Internet governance. By providing an understanding of the dynamics of Internet governance, this paper seeks to illuminate and engage with issues that are of rising importance to the vitality of a global infrastructure that is becoming more central to economic and social development around the world. Based on the perspective developed in this paper, a multistakeholder process appears best suited for helping a widening array of actors, including multilateral organizations, to connect a worldwide ecology of choices that are governing the Internet.

My paper is being posted on SSRN and I’ll be speaking at the Digital Futures Conference at Shanghai Jiao Tong University this week.