Policy & Internet Journal: CFP Special Issue – Issue 1, 2022
Special Issue Editors: Jonathon Hutchinson, University of Sydney & Milica Stilinovic, University of Sydney
The Internet Regulation Turn? Policy, internet and technology
With the recent media focus on the regulation of social media platforms within our society, users, citizens, human rights advocacy groups, policymakers and content producers have all questioned the validity of these communication technologies. Do these technologies offer ease of connectivity, or do they have the potential to be weaponised and misappropriated to further political agendas, disrupt democratic processes, and abuse an individual’s right to (or assumption of) privacy? Recently, we have observed governments calling on platforms to account for their misalignment with local media markets. Regulators are asking platform providers for increased transparency into their distribution processes. Advocacy groups are asking for increased visibility. The custodians of the internet (Gillespie, 2018) are asking for better tools to manage their communities. At the same time, users are questioning the uses of their data.
Nonetheless, our societies are enjoying the benefits of our contemporary communication technologies for a variety of reasons. We see new markets emerging based on platform economic models, increased connectivity in times of physical isolation, new trends and connections are emerging, new cultural conventions are being forged between disparate individuals, and friends and families enjoy the increased ease and connectivity of communicating with their loved ones.
To say ‘if you do not pay for the product, you are the product’ (Orlowski, 2020) grossly misrepresents the entirety of the social dilemma we have found ourselves in – a hyper- commercialised and politicised internet of the 2020s. To combat this, we are observing several versions of a ‘Balkinized splinternet’ (Lemley, 2020) emerging, where nations and users are designing and creating their own version of what was conceived as a way to share and enjoy information across a connected and networked infrastructure. These new internet formations are accompanied by a variety of emerging economic models, such as cryptocurrency for example, to signify a moment of change has arrived (Swartz, 2020). By looking backwards, we are sometimes able to understand how we will move forward.
This special issue of Policy & Internet calls on scholars, practitioners, policymakers and students of the internet to rethink our internet, its policy and the surrounding communication technology of our contemporary society. We are looking for papers that examine the current social and communication dilemmas of the internet, and that map out the trajectory of Policy & Internet for the next five years. What will internet researchers be examining in three years? Has the idea of the ‘nation state’ returned within the debates surrounding ‘big tech’ giants? What will the civil society look like in five years? What does effective policy consider for the future of ourselves and our data in the several emerging versions of the internet?
Topics can be related, but not limited, to:
- Internet studies
- Everyday social media
- Algorithmic media
- Internet governance
- The ‘regulation turn’ of the internet
- News distribution
- Platform accountability
- Critical race studies
- Civil unrest and the internet
- Queer internet
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Smart Devices/Smart Cities
- Robots and/or automation
- E-surveillance and e-governance
- Design, coding and development of the internet and its protocols
Please send through your title and 150-200 word abstract to Jonathon Hutchinson [email@example.com] and Milly Stilinovic [firstname.lastname@example.org] with the subject line: Policy & Internet Special Issue by May 15 2021.
May 15 – Abstracts due
May 31 – Notification of Accepted Papers
September 30 – Full Papers Due
November 30 – Final Revisions Due