PANEL: Wiring digital justice: Embedding rights in Internet governance ‘by infrastructure’

In modern information societies nearly every social process is digitally influenced or mediated. This is why Keller Easterling (in Extrastatecraft: The power of infrastructure space, 2014) writes that ‘[i]nfrastructure sets the invisible rules that govern the spaces of our everyday lives’, and that ‘changes to the globalising world are being written, not in the language of law and diplomacy, but rather in the language of infrastructure’. In this panel, we seek to engage a conversation on how the language of rights and freedoms can be translated in the language and materiality of infrastructures, and what the complexities are that arise from this process.

Particular attention will be paid to the different types of organizations and configurations in which the ’embedding’ of freedoms into infrastructure takes shape, from the arenas of more ‘traditional’ Internet governance to grassroots and activist-led initiatives. We also seek to unveil the variety of motivations subtending these phenomena, ranging from specific and institutionalized political agendas to technical innovation and experimentation, often linked to particular imaginaries and visions of society.

An ensemble of diverse panelists coming from academia, regulation and civil society will address these issues in short kick-starting interventions followed by a dialogue with the audience, with the hope of advancing our understanding of what it means, in today’s digital world, to be a practitioner or a scholar of ‘infrastructure-wired rights’.


Check out the full programme here.

Registrations are open until 24 January, 2021 here.