Politics of (Dis)Connection

The possible establishment of a sovereign internet in Russia, European initiatives on ‘Digital Sovereignty’, and the conflict between China and the United States over Huawei equipment are rekindling the discussion on splinternets and the limits to global interconnectivity.

Can the internet, the original network of networks, resist the contemporary strain, or was it built to accommodate these differences? In this talk three expert scholars on this topic, Daniel Lambach, Francesca Musiani and Fernanda Rosa, will give their views on the politics of global connection, its limitations, its future, and its discontent. Their talks will be discussed by one of the founders and prominent researchers of the fields of internet governance, Milton Mueller.

This event is the third edition of the Geopolitics of Technology Series.

Over de sprekers

Daniel Lambach holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Cologne. He is currently a Heisenberg Fellow at the Research Centre Normative Orders (Goethe University Frankfurt) and a Lecturer (Privatdozent) at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Duisburg-Essen. His recent publications include ‘Narratives of Digital Sovereignty in German Political Discourse’ (Governance, 2022, with Kai Oppermann) and ‘The Territorialization of Cyberspace’ (International Studies Review, 2020).

Francesca Musiani is associate research professor at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) since 2014. She is Deputy Director of the Center for Internet and Society of CNRS, which she co-founded in 2019. She is also an associate researcher at the Center for the sociology of innovation (i3/MINES ParisTech) and a Global Fellow at the Internet Governance Lab, American University in Washington, DC. She is the author, with Ksenia Ermoshina, of Concealing for Freedom: The Making of Encryption, Secure Messaging and Digital Liberties (April 2022, Mattering Press) and co-author of the study ‘Splinternets’: Addressing the renewed debate on internet fragmentation (2022, European Parliament)

Fernanda R. Rosa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society at Virginia Tech. She is currently working on her second book project that builds a bridge between technical discussions on internet interconnection infrastructure and social justice to discuss internet governance and design from the standpoint of the global South. Using an original method defined as code ethnography, and transdisciplinary lens founded on science and technologies studies, decolonial and feminist studies, the book sheds light on the information circulation infrastructure of the internet with a design justice and policy approach. It situates the reader in indigenous and Latin American contexts to problematize the inequalities in the access to internet infrastructure and the circulation of global South data online.

Milton Mueller is an internationally prominent scholar specializing in the political economy of information and communication. The author of seven books and many journal articles, his work informs not only public policy but science and technology studies, law, economics, communications, and international studies. His books Will the Internet Fragment? (Polity, 2017), Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance (MIT Press, 2010) and Ruling the Root: Internet Governance and the Taming of Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2002) are recognized scholarly accounts of the global governance regime emerging around the Internet. Mueller’s research employs the theoretical tools of institutional economics, STS and political economy, as well as historical, qualitative and quantitative methods. Dr. Mueller is the co-founder and director of the Internet Governance Project (IGP), a policy analysis center that has played a prominent role in shaping internet policies and institutions such as ICANN and the Internet Governance Forum.

Niels ten Oever (moderator) is a postdoctoral researcher with the ‘Making the hidden visible: Co-designing for public values in standards-making and governance’-project at the Media Studies department at the University of Amsterdam. Next to that, he is a research fellow with the Centre for Internet and Human Rights at the European University Viadrina, non-resident fellow with the Center for Democracy and Technology, affiliated faculty with the Digital Democracy Institute at the Simon Fraser University, and an associated scholar with the Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas. He also holds the position of Vice-Chair for the Global Internet Governance Academic Network. His research focuses on how norms, such as human rights, get inscribed, resisted, and subverted in the Internet infrastructure through its transnational governance. Niels tries to understand how invisible infrastructures provide a socio-technical ordering to information societies and how this influences the distribution of wealth, power, and possibilities.

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