Most Internet users are familiar with status code 404 “Not Found,” used when a requested web page is unavailable. Less recognizable, at least until recently, was status code 451, a new protocol standardized in 2016 and used to signal when a requested resource is unavailable “for legal reasons.” A reference to Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, the new status code applies to resources inaccessible for a host of legal considerations, including national security, copyright violations, privacy, and local laws proscribing certain types of content (e.g. hate speech, blasphemy laws, etc.).
Last week, SOC Ph.D. Candidate and Internet Governance Law fellow Olga Khrustaleva, who this summer is working as an Internet of Rights fellow with Article 19, a London-based digital rights advocacy group, presented research at the 99th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in Prague on the implications of status code 451 for human rights, both globally and in various national contexts. Using a web crawler that searches top-level resources for content being blocked or otherwise censored, the crawler reports any instances of 451 status codes and analyzes them to see what categories of content are being blocked where.
Using a web crawler that searches top-level resources for content being blocked or otherwise censored, the crawler reports any instances of 451 status codes and analyzes them to see what categories of content are being blocked where.
The researchers expect to augment these initial findings with data collected from the team’s browser extension, with the goal of extending the project to other national contexts going forward. As Ms. Khrustaleva explains, “status code 451 makes digital censorship more transparent and gives more clarity to the end users who get a better idea why the page they are trying to access is unavailable.” But understanding how the code is used and under what circumstances will help shed light on how content filtering is implemented across national contexts.
Joining the Internet Governance Lab as a Faculty Fellow, Dr. Eric Novotny is the Hurst Adjunct Professorial Lecturer in the School of International Service at American University. He is also Senior Advisor, Democracy, and Technology, at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In this position, Dr. Novotny designs and manages a large portfolio of programs that use advanced information and communication technologies (ICTs) to stimulate economic growth, improve democratic processes, and reform governance policies in developing countries. Some of these efforts are stand-alone technology and governance projects while others embed advanced ICTs in larger development projects in applied areas such as service delivery and critical infrastructure. USAID has assistance programs in 80 countries worldwide. He holds a B.A. in Political Science, and M.A. in Government, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Georgetown University, as well as an M.Phil in Management Studies from Oxford.
Dr. Novotny also serves as a faculty coordinator and coach for the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge (along with Washington College of Law professor Melanie Teplinksi), a global competition designed to “encourage and educate the next generation of foreign policy leaders in cyber security issues.” Sponsored by the Atlantic Council, the annual event features teams of students from universities around the world competing to analyze, synthesize, and respond to the technical, legal, and policy issues involved in a fictional cyber security related scenario. In 2017 46 teams from 35 universities participated with AU teams winning awards three out of the past five years.
As the Program Director for the School of International Service Masters program in US Foreign Policy and Security Studies in the Fall, Dr. Novotny will teach courses in International Communication and Cyber Security Policy. In this capacity, Dr. Novotny will also continue his research, which focuses broadly on the intersection of Cyber Security and Internet Freedom, including projects titled, “Building Anti-Censorship into the Core Internet Architecture,” “Cyber Security Risk Management for Non-governmental Organizations,” and “Cyber Cabalities and Interference in the Electoral Process.”
The Internet Governance Lab at American University invites applications for a one-year post-doctoral Research Faculty appointment for Academic Year 2017-2018. The appointment is a 12-month term position and will begin Sept. 1, 2017.
QUALIFICATIONS The Internet Governance Lab is an intellectual center providing policy-engaged thought leadership that advances the marketplace of ideas with original research, informs policy-makers and the public about complex sociotechnical problems, convenes diverse stakeholders, and educates the next generation of global thought leaders in Internet governance. American University is globally recognized for housing some of the world’s pioneering and leading scholars whose work has helped build and shape the scholarly field of Internet governance over the past decades.
The Internet Governance Lab post-doctoral fellowship is designed for scholars whose research specializes in global Internet policy and who are recent graduates of doctoral programs in communication, public policy, international relations, science and technology studies, media studies, information science, engineering, computer science, as well as recent law school graduates. Postdoctoral fellows are expected to: conduct original, policy-engaged research; to participate in and administratively support the activities of the Lab; and to engage in collaborative projects with Faculty Directors, doctoral students, and Lab affiliates. Area of Internet governance concentration is open but could include cybersecurity, Internet protocols, Internet of Things, access and interconnection, privacy, human rights, infrastructure studies, the Domain Name System, policies of private intermediaries, cyberconflict, freedom of expression, innovation, institutions of Internet governance, or intellectual property rights.
APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS Applicants for the resident fellowship must have completed their Ph.D., J.D. or equivalent terminal degree in a relevant field (communication, public policy, international relations, science and technology studies, media studies, information science, engineering, computer science, or law) before beginning the fellowship. Fluency in English is required. This is a research-focused fellowship and does not require teaching. All faculty are expected to hold office hours and participate in School and University activities and service.
Salary is $50,000. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled, subject to ongoing budgetary approval. Please submit applications via Interfolio. Include a letter of application, curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation, recent teaching evaluations (when available), and copies of recently published papers or working papers. Please contact Aisha Green, Faculty Coordinator, 202-885-2133 or email@example.com if you have any questions.
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Among the experts in attendance was American University School of Communication Professor and Internet Governance Lab Co-director Dr. Laura DeNardis, who delivered a presentation titled “Privacy Complications in Cyber Physical Systems,” examining the privacy and security implications of the “Internet of Things.”
Also at the conference was Washington College of Law Professor and Internet Governance Lab Faculty Fellow Jennifer Daskal, who presented her work “Data and Territory: A Round Peg in a Square Hole,” addressing conflicts of law occurring at the intersection of the Internet and jurisdiction.
Both presentations, and indeed the entire conference, could not have been more timely.
SOC Ph.D. candidate Fernanda Rosa has been awarded a prestigious grant from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) to fund her dissertation research investigating the role of Internet exchange points (IXPs) in Internet governance. The project, titled “Global Internet, Local Governance: A Sociotechnical Approach to Internet Exchange Points,” examines these important sites in the Internet’s physical infrastructure from a science and technology studies (STS) perspective while making visible their impact on Internet governance and freedom of expression online.
Additionally, Ms. Rosa was awarded a 2017 Google Policy Fellowship, which will take her to Mexico City this summer where she will be conducting research for her dissertation and working with Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales (R3D), a Mexican organization dedicated to the defense of human rights in the digital sphere.
We congratulate Fernanda on these impressive accomplishments and look forward to seeing what she discovers as her research proceeds. You can follow her on Twitter @fefe_rosa.