Dispatch from the Association of Internet Researchers conference, Phoenix, AZ, October 21-25, 2015

Dr. Laura DeNardis with some of her doctoral students and postdoctoral researcher and former AU SOC student Tijana Milosevic

At this year’s Association of Internet Researchers conference, Dr. Laura DeNardis and several of her doctoral students presented current projects on Internet governance. During a panel titled “Doing Internet Governance – STS-informed Perspectives on Ordering the Net”, Dr. DeNardis and doctoral candidate Andrea Hackl discussed the need to investigate the mediation of LGBT rights at the deeper level of Internet governance rather than the content level. In a session on privacy, doctoral candidate Tatevik Sargsyan discussed different data localization proposals by governments. In this context, Tatevik argued that governments use concerns over privacy and security to pursue their political and economic agenda. Postdoctoral researcher and former AU SOC doctoral student Tijana Milosevic presented on tools used by social media to respond to cyberbullying incidents on the platforms. Together with American University Professors Dr. Patricia Aufderheide and Dr. Aram Sinnreich as well as Dr. Benjamin Burroughs from the University of Iowa, Tijana also presented on attitudes on use and copying of copyrighted material.

In a fishbowl session on private intermediaries, Tatevik, Tijana and Andrea discussed how Internet companies and their decisions over policy and technological designs assume a governing function over critical issues related to cyberbullying, minority speech and political expression. After a short presentation of their own research, Tatevik – who served as the session’s chair – invited the audience to participate in a discussion on these issues.

In addition to these presentations discussing current Internet governance research, AU SOC doctoral candidates also presented other research projects. In a presentation on gamespace, doctoral candidate Theo Plothe argued that gamers also serve as media producers by creating remix videos based on game characters and content. In a session on health communication, Andrea Hackl and Todd Newman discussed how readers of online news platforms differed in their framing of the controversial HIV prevention pill Truvada as well as how these potential differences in framing could inform communication strategies around HIV/AIDS prevention.