Faculty Director Dr. Derrick Cogburn Speaks at OU Cyber Governance and Policy Center

IMG_7146Internet Governance Lab Co-Director Dr. Derrick Cogburn, who holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor in the School of International Service and Kogod School of Business, returned to his home state to speak on multistakeholder global governance and policy issues at the University of Oklahoma and University of Central Oklahoma on November 13-14, 2017.

IMG_7123Dr. Cogburn was part of the inaugural Speaker Series hosted by the Cyber Governance and Policy Center at the University of Oklahoma – his alma mater – on November 13. His lecture entitled “Partners or Pawns? Exploring Multistakeholder Participation in Global Governance of the Information Society” discussed the challenges and opportunities of multiple actors in governing the information society. This talk was based on Dr. Cogburn’s decades-long work and his most recent book Transnational Advocacy Networks in the Information Society: Partners or Pawns?

IMG_7118Dr. Cogburn was joined by Dr. Kenneth Rogerson of Duke University who presented his talk “Do You Trust What You ‘Like?’ Navigating Social Media and Politics.”

Dr. Cogburn also participated in a series of media interviews about his research and today’s global governance landscape while at the University of Oklahoma.

IMG_6666The aim of the Cyber Governance and Policy Center’s Speaker Series is to facilitate the development of research-based policies surrounding modern information and communications technology and cyber physical systems. The center provides a platform to discuss these issues and provide relevant information to the community surrounding University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Cogburn subsequently visited the University of Central Oklahoma on November 14 for a lecture on his book and a series of meetings as well.

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Faculty Fellow Dr. Eric Novotny Presents on “Circumventing Censorship with New Technologies”

On Thursday, November 16th at 3pm, the Internet Governance Lab Roundtable Speaker Series will host Dr. Eric Novotny of American University’s School of International Service for a discussion on emerging information communication technologies designed to circumvent censorship and their impacts on freedom of expression and privacy online.

The event will take place in SIS 260 at AU’s School of International Service.

As Dr. Novotny explains:

Censorship on the world wide web by governments continues to be a barrier and a threat to freedom of speech, ideas, and information. Regimes use various techniques such as IP blocking, DNS poisoning, and DPI to interfere with traffic among clients and servers. Almost all contemporary, operational circumvention technologies rely on network access and routing through proxies or bridges to obfuscate traffic between their client and an intended host.  Increasing capabilities are surfacing that will challenge the utility of such end-to-end proxy techniques.  Refraction routing is an emerging technique that takes an end-to-middle approach to the problem by building anti-censorship into the core of the Internet architecture.  This discussion introduces the general problem of circumvention technology and compares various ways that refraction routing can be implemented on the world wide web.  These techniques may provide significantly stronger resistance to common forms of blocking by repressive governments and also provide collateral cybersecurity benefits.  One method for implementing refraction routing has already been successfully field tested to overcome blocking and will be discussed.

All are welcome and we look forward to a lively discussion of the topic following Dr. Novotny’s presentation.

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Andrew Rens on “Emerging Issues in the Internet of Things” at The Centre for Internet & Society

Andrew RensAU Internet Governance Lab Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Andrew Rens gave a talk on “Emerging Issues in the Internet of Things” at the Centre for Internet & Society in Bengaluru, India on October 23, 2017. The talk was based on his research about the complex problems that are emerging around the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), including ownership and control, privacy and surveillance, and ubiquity and network fragility.

The talk also discussed the governance of the IoT, which is equally complex with multiple sites of governance and actors operating across legal borders. Questions raised included: How will legal regulation, standards and the architecture of technology determine how the IoT is configured, and reconfigured in response to problems? What forces will influence the governance of the IoT? What role will permission-less innovation play? How will intellectual property laws complicate the IoT?

Faculty Fellow Dr. Kathryn Montgomery to speak at HHS on Health Wearables and Privacy in the Digital Age

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Internet Governance Lab Faculty Fellow and Director of AU’s Communication Studies Division Dr. Kathryn Montgomery will discuss the wide-ranging implications of Internet-connected health wearables at a conference organized by the Department of Health and Human Services. The presentation, titled “Health Wearables: Ensuring Privacy, Security, and Equity in an Emerging Internet-of-Things Environment,” draws on Dr. Montgomery’s research at the intersection of the Internet of Things and privacy, including an AU and Center for Digital Democracy study (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), looking at the privacy and consumer protection concerns raised by the proliferation of health and fitness wearables, which consumers are increasingly using to track everything from their heart rates to sleep patterns and stress levels.

“Many of these devices are already being integrated into a growing Big Data digital health and marketing ecosystem, which is focused on gathering and monetizing personal and health data in order to influence consumer behavior,” the report explains. As the use of these devices becomes more widespread, and as their functionalities become increasingly sophisticated, “the extent and nature of data collection will be unprecedented.”

As Dr. Montgomery explains, “the connected-health system is still in an early, fluid stage of development,” adding, “there is an urgent need to build meaningful, effective, and enforceable safeguards into its foundation.”

Dr. Andrew Rens Joins Internet Governance Lab as Postdoctoral Fellow

The Internet Governance Lab is pleased to announce that Dr. Andrew Rens will be joining us as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. In this capacity, he will be running a research program focused on technology governance of the Internet of Things. As Dr. Rens explains:

The Internet of Things raises complex issues of ownership and control, privacy, and surveillance, ubiquity, and fragility. Some press accounts narrate these issues as consumers versus corporations in which consent is key. But the Internet of Things is mostly the Internet of Other People’s Things, we interact with these Internet-connected objects as employees, students, tenants, and citizens. The things are not simply data input devices, however intrusive but technologies with immediate physical effects such as networked 3D printers. Questions around the governance of the Internet of Things (IoT) exhibit the same super complexity as Internet governance generally; with multiple sites of governance and actors operating across legal borders.

The IoT is promising for the developing world and digital inclusion. Through cheap sensors and the ability to fabricate equipment, the IoT may dramatically lower barriers to scientific experimentation. Every classroom could potentially be a laboratory. But will the Internet of Things be configured to optimize these possibilities? How will development and human rights be taken into account when governance is neither state nor corporate but takes place through technical standards, protocols and engineering organizations.

Who will control the “things” in the IoT and what will determine this control? Will it be intellectual property law or standards? Open source offers one way in which the people most affected by a technology can exercise some control over it. Open source software and its associated governance structures have proven resistant to control through intellectual property laws. Will a combination of open source software and open hardware prove similarly robust? Even if open source methods best enables innovation will it control the potentially pernicious uses such as printing guns with a 3D printer?

Rens earned a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) from Duke University Law School for research on using open copyright licenses in education. As a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship, he pioneered work on access to knowledge, IP law reform and open education in South Africa. Andrew Rens has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, a research associate at the LINK Center at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and the University of Cape Town Intellectual Property Law Research Unit. As founding Legal Lead of Creative Commons South Africa, he ported the South African licensing suite to South African law. He earned a Master of Laws from the University of the Witwatersrand for research on Internet legal issues. He has taught Master’s courses in Intellectual Property, Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Space and Satellite, and Media and Information Technology Law at the Law School of the University of the Witwatersrand. He has also taught Telecommunications Law and Electronic Intellectual Property Law at the University of Cape Town Law School.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Rens to the Internet Governance Lab and AU and we look forward to hearing from him soon on the always evolving intersection of the IoT and Internet governance.