116 Works

User illusion: ideological construction of ‘user-generated content’ in the EC consultation on copyright

Kristofer Erickson, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
Recent policy consultations by the UK Intellectual Property Office, the US Patent and Trademark Office and the European Commission (EC) have highlighted the importance of user-generated content in debates to reform copyright. User-generated content (UGC) – often combining existing copyright material with transformative creativity – remains a contested terrain, with no clear or widely accepted definition. This paper examines how various stakeholders in the 2014 EC consultation on copyright attempted to shape the definition of...

How open hardware drives digital fabrication tools such as the 3D printer

Johan Söderberg, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
A case study of hobbyists developing a desktop 3D printer, indicative of a broader movement around open hardware development, is used to advance a theoretical apparatus drawing on social movement research. This is proposed as an alternative to how innovation by users is typically studied in innovation studies literature, namely, as discrete, isolated cases. Open hardware development projects make up a larger ecology, held together by common ideas, a shared communication infrastructure, conferences and licenses,...

The net neutrality debate on Twitter

Wolf J. Schünemann, Stefan Steiger, Sebastian Stier, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
The internet has been seen as a medium that empowers individual political actors in relation to established political elites and media gatekeepers. The present article discusses this “net empowerment hypothesis” and tests it empirically by analysing Twitter communication on the regulation of net neutrality. We extracted 503.839 tweets containing #NetNeutrality posted between January and March 2015 and analysed central developments and the network structure of the debate. The empirical results show that traditional actors from...

Networked publics: multi-disciplinary perspectives on big policy issues

William H. Dutton

Standard form contracts and a smart contract future

Kristin B. Cornelius

Instability and internet design

Sandra Braman
Instability - unpredictable but constant change in one’s environment and the means with which one deals with it - has replaced convergence as the focal problem for telecommunications policy in general and internet policy in particular. Those who designed what we now call the internet during the first decade of the effort (1969-1979), who in essence served simultaneously as its policy-makers, developed techniques for coping with instability of value for network designers today and for...

Russia’s 'dictatorship-of-the-law' approach to internet policy

Julien Nocetti, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
The Russian 'dictatorship-of-the-law' paradigm is all but over: it is deploying online, with potentially harmful consequences for Russia's attempts to attract foreign investments in the internet sector, and for users' rights online.

Mobile data streams: Keep Mr. User in mind

Florian Fischer, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
The connected car is the most prominent example of the internet of things. Taking modern car on-demand services as an example, this article elaborates on the relevance of the connected car as a business driver for the automotive industry. Under the pretence of better safety, the EU's eCall Directive frames the car as a sensor platform of interest for every kind of mobility service providers, such as the insurance sector, roadside assistance and the automotive...

Consent under pressure and the Right to Informational Self-Determination

Julian Staben, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
The concept of consent is deeply entrenched in the German constitution's right to informational self-determination, which is itself part of the general right to personality (Art. 2 (1) in conjunction with Art. 1 (1) GG). While this concept still remains valid in law, in practice, it has taken hits that can be attributed to market developments, long contractual terms and conditions, and increasing dependence of users on online platforms. This analysis examines what is left...

Staking out the unclear ethical terrain of online social experiments

Cornelius Puschmann, Engin Bozdag, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
In this article, we discuss the ethical issues raised by large-scale online social experiments using the controversy surrounding the so-called Facebook emotional contagion study as our prime example (Kramer, Guillory, & Hancock, 2014). We describe how different parties approach the issues raised by the study and which aspects they highlight, discerning how data science advocates and data science critics use different sets of analogies to strategically support their claims. Through a qualitative and non-representative discourse...

Disclosing and concealing: internet governance, information control and the management of visibility

Mikkel Flyverbom
The ubiquity of digital technologies and the datafication of many domains of social life raise important questions about governance. In the emergent field of internet governance studies, most work has explored novel governance arrangements, institutional developments and the effects of interactions among public and private actors in the emergence of the internet as a matter of concern in global politics. But the digital realm involves more subtle forms of governance and politics that also deserve...

Bridging the transatlantic divide in privacy

Paula Kift, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
In the context of the US National Security Agency surveillance scandal, the transatlantic privacy divide has come back to the fore. In the United States, the right to privacy is primarily understood as a right to physical privacy, thus the protection from unwarranted government searches and seizures. In Germany on the other hand, it is also understood as a right to spiritual privacy, thus the right of citizens to develop into autonomous moral agents. The...

Stretching EU competition law tools for search engines and social networks

Inge Graef, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
Because of their multi-sided and dynamic nature, the application of competition law to online platforms may prove challenging. The paper maintains that existing competition concepts are flexible enough to be adequately applied to search engines and social networks. It is argued that, in order to take the fast-moving nature of these industries into account, relevant markets should not be defined along strict product boundaries and that the strength of potential competition constitutes a better indicator...

WhatsApp in Brazil: mobilising voters through door-to-door and personal messages

Mauricio Moura & Melissa R. Michelson
Multiple randomised field experiments confirm that door-to-door canvassing and live telephone calls are effective methods of moving voters to the polls, but they require significant investments of time and resources and are difficult to bring to scale. In contrast, methods such as email, text messaging, or messages posted on social media networks are less resource-intensive and are easily expanded to large numbers of target voters. In this paper, we test the effectiveness of short candidate...

Virtual worlds players – consumers or citizens?

Edina Harbinja, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
This article questions the preconceived notions that participants in virtual worlds are essentially consumers. Building on the existing scholarship around virtual worlds and notwithstanding the current character of virtual worlds, this paper explores aspects of End User Licence Agreements and notes the unfairness of their provisions, particularly the imbalance between user and developer interests governed by such contracts. It argues that the contracts cannot be regulated with consumer protection legislation, as interests such as property...

Foreign clouds in the European sky: how US laws affect the privacy of Europeans

Primavera De Filippi, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
This article presents a general analysis of how user autonomy in the cloud is increasingly put into jeopardy by the growing comfort and efficiency of the user-interface. Although this issue has not been, thus far, explicitly addressed by the law, it is a fundamental ethical question that should be carefully assessed to guide the future deployment of cloud computing. Different policy decisions might, in fact, significantly affect user’s fundamental rights and online freedoms by shifting...

Two crates of beer and 40 pizzas: the adoption of innovative political behavioural targeting techniques

Tom Dobber, Damian Trilling, Natali Helberger & Claes H. De Vreese
Political campaigns increasingly use data to (micro)target voters with tailored messages. In doing so, campaigns raise concerns about privacy and the quality of the public discourse. Extending existing research to a European context, we propose and test a model for understanding how different contextual factors hinder or facilitate data-driven capabilities of campaigns. We applied the model during the 2017 national election campaign in the Netherlands. The results show how data-driven targeting techniques are not only...

Private ordering and the rise of terms of service as cyber-regulation

Luca Belli & Jamila Venturini
Online communications and activities require the intermediation of numerous private entities that unilaterally define and implement their terms of service (ToS). The substantive provisions set in the ToS regulate the relationships between intermediaries and users with a binding force that may be even stronger than the one exercised by the law. Notably, we stress that internet intermediaries privately enforce their contractual regulation by shaping the architecture of the networks and platforms under their control. Such...

Re-thinking civil disobedience

Theresa Züger, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
This article points out a struggle of today’s societies with the traditional concepts of civil disobedience and stresses the need for reevaluation of the concept of civil disobedience for policy making and public discourse. Starting with a minimal definition of civil disobedience, the article introduces Hannah Arendt’s approach for a legitimisation of civil disobedience and discusses her ideas for digital actions, which are increasingly framed as digital forms of civil disobedience. Addressing WikiLeaks as an...

Restrictions on data-driven political micro-targeting in Germany

Simon Kruschinski & André Haller
The revitalisation of canvassing in recent elections is strongly related to campaigns´ growing possibilities for analysing voter data to gain knowledge about their constituents, identifying their most likely voters and serving up personalised messages through individual conversations. The research literature about political micro-targeting hardly ever focusses on campaigns in parliamentary democracies with strict data protection laws. Based on in-depth expert interviews we introduce a framework of constraints in strategic political communication and reveal several restrictions...

The unbearable lightness of user consent

Rikke Frank Joergensen, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
The article discusses challenges to privacy protection in social media platforms, focusing in particular on the principle of user consent. Based on a Danish study, the article argues that in relation to Facebook, user consent de facto served as the price for participating and for gaining access to a social infrastructure. The article opens with a brief introduction to privacy as a human right, followed by a discussion of some of the critique that has...

The myth of the decentralised internet

Ashwin J. Mathew
In popular culture, and in policy discussions, the internet is often conceived of as a decentralised technology, which cannot be controlled. Drawing from research into internet infrastructure, focusing on the Border Gateway Protocol, I show that the internet has never been, and never can be, decentralised. I argue that the internet is better viewed as being distributed, both in terms of technologies and governance arrangements. The shift in perspective, from decentralised to distributed, is essential...

A heterostakeholder cooperation for sustainable internet policymaking

Luca Belli, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
The article discusses the rise of a multistakeholder approach to internet policymaking and takes a critical stance with regard to the sole reliance on the multiplicity of stakeholders rather than focusing on the heterogeneity of stakeholders’ interests. The article analyses the evolution of the multistakeholder discourse from the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society to the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement. Secondly, it presents a selection of examples of stakeholder inclusion within policy-development processes at national and...

Hacktivism 1-2-3: how privacy enhancing technologies change the face of anonymous hacktivism

Balázs Bodó, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
This short essay explores how the notion of hacktivism changes due to easily accessible, military grade Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs). Privacy Enhancing Technologies, technological tools which provide anonymous communications and protect users from online surveillance enable new forms of online political activism. Through the short summary of the ad-hoc vigilante group Anonymous, this article describes hacktivism 1.0 as electronic civil disobedience conducted by outsiders. Through the analysis of Wikileaks, the anonymous whistleblowing website, it describes...

Bitcoin: a regulatory nightmare to a libertarian dream

Primavera De Filippi, Internet Policy Review & Internet Policy Review
This article provides an overview of national policies and current discussions on the regulation of bitcoin in Europe and beyond. After presenting the potential threat that cryptocurrencies pose to governmental and financial institutions worldwide, it discusses the regulatory challenges and the difficulty for national regulators to come up with a sound regulatory framework, which the author believes explains the current (lack of) regulatory responses in this field. The article concludes that regulation is needed, but...

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