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Thursday, October 11 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Contested Infrastructures

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While frequently imagined to be universal, internet governance relies on a host of policies that are manifest in culturally and legislatively variable practices in various geographic locations. The papers in this panel will enumerate several unique instances of internet governance in practice, presenting case studies which focus on the unevenly distributed material infrastructures that have characterized governance practices in North America, Europe, and North Africa, from the 1980s until the present.

The panel is comprised of two historical case studies and two contemporary case studies. The first historical case study employs forensic methods to analyze the techniques that hackers and commercial developers used to circumvent legislative control over software distribution through technocratic self-governance in the 1980s. The second historical case study will address the adoption of Visicalc spreadsheet software in Tunisia during the 1980s, identifying the factors unique to software adoption in response to a widespread food shortage.

The first contemporary case study will expand discussions of global intellectual property by presenting an analysis of the seven overlapping legal frameworks implicated in French police’s 2017 seizure of a server related to the BitTorrent tracker What.CD. The final paper will present findings from four months of ethnographic research embedded with United States-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and observing their efforts to define internet infrastructure as a matter of shared concern. Together, the papers will offer new perspectives on moments of contestation between users and infrastructure, focusing on the significance of local conditions on emergent internet governance practices.

avatar for Karina Rider

Karina Rider

PhD Candidate, Queens University
My dissertation looks at civic engagement in Silicon Valley, specifically how local Bay Area civic and political groups target the tech industry for social change (these groups focus on issues like surveillance and privacy regulation; net neutrality; digital civil liberties; housing... Read More →

Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Sheraton - Salon 7