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#AoIR2018 has ended
Thursday, October 11 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Politics, Power and Internet Policy

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THE LIMITS OF THE LIMITS OF THE LAW: DMCA ANTI-CIRCUMVENTION EXCEPTIONS IN A CONFIGURABLE CULTURE
Aram Sinnreich, Patricia A Aufderheide, Joseph Graf
How useful are the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA's) exemptions to its decryption prohibition? The law bans all decryption of copy-protected content, even for legal uses, e.g. fair use. But a triennial exemption is sometimes granted if creative and scholarly communities can demonstrate loss of working capacity. This study explores to what degree members of communities that have won exemptions are aware of the DMCA ban, the exemptions, and whether they believe they can use the exemptions with confidence.

Although the DMCA is US law, results are relevant to wider international discussions about the effects of "tight" copyright in a transnational creative environment; about the function of exemptions in intellectual property law, as escape hatches for freedom of expression; and about the consequences of criminalizing decryption, typically included in "harmonization" discussions during multilateral treaty negotiations.

We conclude that the under-utilization of exemptions leads to self-censorship and unnecessary effort to change work. Education helps potential users employ the law, however. Their confidence levels might increase with further education. Nonetheless, this study suggests that creating high barriers and small and poorly-marked escape hatches poorly meets the needs of users whose requirements for unfettered, if limited, access to copyrighted material has already been well established.

IT’S UP TO US TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS: THE WORK OF NATIONAL DIGITAL RIGHTS ADVOCATES
Efrat Daskal
National civil society organizations advocate for computer and internet-related civil liberties in their respective countries. They confront governments and internet corporations in the political and judicial arenas, and at the same time, they reach out to the public in the mediated public sphere. In analyzing their work, most studies so far have focused on the organizations’ attempts to change their national ICT policy. This study, however, explores their public-related activities while asking: How do digital rights advocates get the public involved? and, What differentiates digital rights advocacy in non-Western countries?

To answer these questions, I analyzed the interaction between ten organizations from Europe, Asia, and South America and their correspondence publics, through their mediated public communication. This encompasses all pages and links addressing the public on each of their websites from 2012 onward.

The analysis reveals three clusters of public related activities: informing the public, encouraging the public to act, and using the public to improve their visibility. Characterization of these activities according to the sphere (private-public) and the nature of their activity (passive-active) reveals a quadrangular model of public involvement the organizations offer their respective constituencies. The analysis of the non-Western organizations’ activities reveals that they place greater emphasis on providing digital skills to the public but hardly use the public for political gain.

I conclude by discussing the current meaning of public involvement, the public’s role as a social actor in digital rights advocacy and the possibility of creating a global civil society movement for digital rights.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: DIGITAL RIGHTS ACTIVISM AND THE INTERNET FREEDOM AGENDA
Nathalie Marechal
“Internet freedom” and “digital rights” are two closely related concepts that both refer to the enjoyment of human rights online, specifically privacy, freedom of expression, and access to information. However, they are not exact synonyms: “internet freedom” has come to be associated with the U.S. government’s Internet Freedom agenda, while “digital rights” has been embraced by the transnational social movement for communication rights online. Though they share many ideological underpinnings, the two concepts co-exist somewhat uneasily: the digital rights movement is wary of “internet freedom” discourses that many activists see as advancing American empire and economic interests, while the goals and tactics of privacy activism in particular — such as the push for ubiquitous end-to-end encryption — are at odds with U.S. policy objectives beyond the Internet Freedom agenda itself. Moreover, the cultural gap between State Department “suits” and hoodie-wearing crypto-anarchists makes the idea of an alliance between these worlds seem completely incongruous. And yet, they are more closely aligned than appearances might suggest.

Based on three years of ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation, I argue that the relationship between the bottom-up transnational movement for digital rights and the U.S. government’s top-down Internet Freedom agenda is a dialectical one, wherein bureaucrats and activists co-construct policies and programs in service of common goals.

LEGITIMATING INTERNET.ORG THROUGH DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE
Andrea Alarcon
This paper examines Mark Zuckerberg’s socio-technical optimistic imaginary of a connectivity of the entire world, focusing on Facebook’s Internet.org initiative. His vision of a connected world can be described as what Jasanoff and Kim (2015) call “sociotechnical imaginary,” which are not limited to nations, or heads of states, but can be conjured by corporations, social movements, and professional societies. The paper examines 50 short promotional videos, first-person narrated by individuals in their target countries. The themes found in the videos map to development discourse: female empowerment, education, entrepreneurship, and natural disaster relief. This paper argues that by merging Internet.org with connectivity, and connectivity with progress, Facebook utilizes the promotional aesthetic and narrative devices usually used by the development sector to position its initiative as a crucial step toward poverty alleviation and economic development
 



Thursday October 11, 2018 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Sheraton - Drummond West

Attendees (35)