112 Works

Networked publics: multi-disciplinary perspectives on big policy issues

William H. Dutton

Political topic-communities and their framing practices in the Dutch Twittersphere

Maranke Wieringa, Daniela Van Geenen, Mirko Tobias Schäfer & Ludo Gorzeman

Algorithmic governance and the need for consumer empowerment in data-driven markets

Stefan Larsson

Not just one, but many ‘Rights to be Forgotten’

Geert Van Calster, Alejandro Gonzalez Arreaza & Elsemiek Apers

What kind of cyber security? Theorising cyber security and mapping approaches

Laura Fichtner

Standard form contracts and a smart contract future

Kristin B. Cornelius

Cryptographic imaginaries and the networked public

Sarah Myers West

Big crisis data: generality-singularity tensions

Karolin Eva Kappler

Neutrality, fairness or freedom? Principles for platform regulation

Friso Bostoen
The need for online platform regulation has been a topic of scholarly debate. However, reality is now catching up to and even overtaking the academic writing on this subject. France has adopted a law on platform fairness, the European Commission recently ordered Google to implement a form of search neutrality, and more regulatory initiatives are on the horizon. That is why we have to look beyond the question whether online platforms should be regulated. As...

On democracy

Democracy is valuable and vulnerable, which is reason enough to remain alert for new developments that can undermine her. In recent months, we have seen enough examples of the growing impact of personal data in campaigns and elections. It is important and urgent for us to publicly debate this development. At the same time, we need to stay cool-headed. New technologies have a huge impact, but human nature will not suddenly change due to ‘big...

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...

Micro-targeting, the quantified persuasion

Daniel Kreiss
During the past three decades there has been a persistent, and dark, narrative about political micro-targeting. But while it might seem that the micro-targeting practices of campaigns have massive, and un-democratic, electoral effects, decades of work in political communication should give us pause. What explains the outsized concerns about micro-targeting in the face of the generally thin evidence of its widespread and pernicious effects? This essay argues that we have anxieties about micro-targeting because we...

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...

The role of digital marketing in political campaigns

Jeff Chester & Kathryn C. Montgomery
Computational politics—the application of digital targeted-marketing technologies to election campaigns in the US and elsewhere—are now raising the same concerns for democratic discourse and governance that they have long raised for consumer privacy and welfare in the commercial marketplace. This paper examines the digital strategies and technologies of today’s political operations, explaining how they were employed during the most recent US election cycle, and exploring the implications of their continued use in the civic context....

Political micro-targeting: a Manchurian candidate or just a dark horse?

Balázs Bodó, Natali Helberger & Claes H. De Vreese
Political micro-targeting (PMT) has become a popular topic both in academia and in the public discussions after the surprise results of the 2016 US presidential election, the UK vote on leaving the European Union, and a number of general elections in Europe in 2017. Yet, we still know little about whether PMT is a tool with such destructive potential that it requires close societal control, or if it’s “just” a new phenomenon with currently unknown...

Contested meanings of inclusiveness, accountability and transparency in trade policymaking

Jeremy Malcolm
Inclusiveness, accountability and transparency carry different meanings in the context of different public policy processes, and for different stakeholder groups engaged in those processes. In particular, civil society has had a substantial role in conceptualising these meanings in internet governance policy spaces, but a much reduced rule in their explication in trade policymaking. It will be argued that greater support for trade policymaking could arise from a project to reconcile civil society’s expectations of the...

The Israeli Digital Rights Movement's campaign for privacy

Efrat Daskal
This study explores the persuasion techniques used by the Israeli Digital Rights Movement in its campaign against Israel’s biometric database. The research was based on analysing the movement's official publications and announcements and the journalistic discourse that surrounded their campaign within the political, judicial, and public arenas in 2009-2017. The results demonstrate how the organisation navigated three persuasion frames to achieve its goals: the unnecessity of a biometric database in democracy; the database’s ineffectiveness; and...

Gaps and bumps in the political history of the internet

Félix Tréguer
In the past years, there has been a growing scholarly attention given to “digital rights contention”, that is political conflicts related to the expansion or restriction of civil and political rights exerted through, or affected by, digital communications technologies. Yet, when we turn to history to inform contemporary debates and mobilisations, what we often find are single-sided narratives that have achieved iconic status, studies focusing on a handful of over-quoted contentious episodes and generally over-representing...

Accountability challenges confronting cyberspace governance

Jacqueline Eggenschwiler
Traditional, linear conceptions of account rendering bear little relevance in the realm of cyberspace governance, where accountability structures are often decentred. Building on existing accountability scholarship, this paper identifies key accountability challenges confronting cyberspace governance, including the problem of many hands, the profusion of issue areas, as well as the hybridity and malleability of institutional arrangements, and presents a set of policy recommendations geared towards addressing the latter. This paper holds that in order to...

Internet surveillance, regulation, and chilling effects online: a comparative case study

Jonathon W. Penney
With internet regulation and censorship on the rise, states increasingly engaging in online surveillance, and state cyber-policing capabilities rapidly evolving globally, concerns about regulatory “chilling effects” online—the idea that laws, regulations, or state surveillance can deter people from exercising their freedoms or engaging in legal activities on the internet have taken on greater urgency and public importance. But just as notions of “chilling effects” are not new, neither is skepticism about their legal, theoretical, and...

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...

Fostering a cyber security mindset

William Dutton
Cyber security experts have acknowledged the need to focus more attention on the attitudes, beliefs and practices of end-users. Unfortunately, rather than fostering social research on users, this realisation has more often led to blaming users for security problems and sponsorship of fear-based campaigns directed at end-users. This scholarly essay argues for a shift in research to center on fostering a ‘security mindset’. Instead of just identifying safe practices, this would help build a mindset...

Data portability among online platforms

Barbara Engels
This paper examines the competition effects of data portability among online platforms, providing policy recommendations for the preservation of innovative, undistorted competitive markets. Based on a platform-data model, it is illustrated how users, data and the products of a platform are related. Platform markets which entail an especially high risk of market power abuse are determined. It is concluded that the right to data portability as in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation has to...

Computer network operations and ‘rule-with-law’ in Australia

Adam Molnar, Christopher Parsons & Erik Zouave
Computer Network Operations (CNOs) refers to government intrusion and/or interference with networked information communication infrastructures for the purposes of law enforcement and security intelligence. The following article explores how CNOs are lawfully authorised in Australia, and considers the extent to which the current use of CNOs are subject to ‘counter-law’ developments. More specifically, the article finds that the scope and application of CNOs in Australia are subject to weak legislative controls, that while such operations...

The passage of Australia’s data retention regime: national security, human rights, and media scrutiny

Nicolas Suzor, Kylie Pappalardo & Natalie McIntosh
In 2015, the Australian government passed the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act, which requires ISPs to collect metadata about their users and store this metadata for two years. From its conception, Australia’s data retention scheme has been controversial. In this article we examine how public interest concerns were addressed in Australian news media during the Act’s passage. The Act was ultimately passed with bipartisan support, despite serious deficiencies. We show how the...

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