Refusing to be the Price: Bringing Gender to the Center of the Internet Governance Stage

Rosemary Clark is one of the eight 2014 Milton Wolf Emerging Scholar Fellows, an accomplished group of doctoral and advanced MA candidates selected to attend the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar: “The Third Man Theme Revisited: Foreign Policies of the Internet in a time of Surveillance and Disclosure.” Their posts highlight the critical themes and on-going debates raised during the 2014 Seminar discussions.

Anna Schmidt, played by Alida Valli, is one of two credited female roles and the only major female character in Carol Reed’s and Graham Greene’s 1949 film noir, The Third ManThis made the film an especially poignant frame of reference for myself and for fellow feminists contemplating internet governance (IG) at the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar in Vienna, organized under the film-inspired title, “The Third Man Theme Revisited: Foreign Policies of the Internet in a Time of Surveillance and Disclosure.”

The film takes place in post-World War II Vienna and tells the story of Holly Martins, an out-of-work, pulp Western, writer who travels from America to Austria, where his friend, Harry Lime, has promised him employment. Upon arriving in Vienna, however, Martins discovers that Lime was killed after being struck by a car, leaving behind his grieving girlfriend, Anna, along with a cast of suspicious associates, who soon become suspects in Martins’ unofficial investigation into what he believes to be Lime’s murder. Anna is quickly ensnared in the male-dominated web of characters spiraling outward from the center of Lime’s illicit and shadowy life on the Viennese black market. Only, unlike Lime’s coconspirators, Anna is left wholly in the dark, unaware of his exploits, his true whereabouts, and his colleagues’ intentions and involvement in his sudden death. Anna’s blind ignorance leaves her as little more than a pawn surrounded and manipulated by men who play…

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Am I Big Brother’s Keeper?

Lee McGuigan is one of the eight 2014 Milton Wolf Emerging Scholar Fellows, an accomplished group of doctoral and advanced MA candidates selected to attend the 2014 Milton Wolf Seminar: “The Third Man Theme Revisited: Foreign Policies of the Internet in a time of Surveillance and Disclosure.” Their posts highlight the critical themes and on-going debates raised during the 2014 Seminar discussions.

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Post-war Vienna, as portrayed in the film The Third Man, could be interpreted as a metaphor for the internet: A handful of competitively positioned actors are vying to assert authority over a jurisdiction and its strategic resources. While the edges are balkanized to a certain extent according to the controls, values, and norms imposed and enforced by sovereign powers, the central space is an ostensibly international zone in which claims to ownership and authority are contentious and without an obvious natural basis. In many ways, the development of the internet is impaired by an inability to resolve competing narratives of closure. In other words, the actors are staking not only geographical but ideological claims about what the digital space means, how it should be used, and who will oversee its assembly and maintenance. Closure is thus both a matter of architecture and a matter of vision—of consensus about the values embedded in the design of the internet (and its intended functions) and the norms underpinning the legitimacy of an actor’s claim to authority. Absent this closure, the global internet, like post-war Vienna, is a liminal…

 

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African Internet Policy and Media Law Roundup

Welcome to the first African Internet Policy and Media Law Roundup compiled by Ephraim Percy Kenyanito.  This edition of the roundup explores notable events affecting, or affected by, African internet policies from January through April 2014.

JANUARY

Zambia: On January 1, 2014, Miles Sampa, Zambia’s Junior Minister of Commerce, Trade, and Industry, declared war on the Zambian Watchdog, an independent media website which published photos that point to Sampa’s alleged extramarital affair. The Minister then decided to offer $2000 USD to anyone who could reveal the identity of the people behind the website.

Somalia: The extremist Somali militia Al-Shabab issued an ultimatum to Somalia’s internet service providers on January 8, 2014. On January 11, 2014, the Somali Minister of Interior and National Security downplayed the threats and urged the upholding of the right to free expression enshrined in the country’s constitution.

Somalia: On January 12, 2014, telcos operating in Al-Shabab controlled areas caved in to pressure from Al-Shabab, an extremist militia group, and shut down internet access. It is speculated that Al-Shabab was pressuring the telcos to shut down the internet in order to prevent the government from  tracking down to extremist group.

Sudan: On January 14, 2014, Tech President, released a report which showed that US Sanctions against Sudan are preventing Sudanese citizens, including civil society organizations, from protecting themselves against…

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NETmundial: Is there a new guard of civil society coming to the internet governance fore?

This article is part of a series of posts by Stefania Milan who is attending the NETmundial Global Multistakeholder meeting on the Future of Internet Governance.

NETmundial and the surveillance debate spurred by the Snowden revelations have brought new civil society actors, namely the tech activism community, to the internet governance arena. For the last decade, the civil society segment engaged in internet governance included exclusively non-governmental organizations and academics who have been willing to play by the rules of the game and recognize the legitimacy of the multistakeholder process. At NETmundial, it is now apparent that there is a group of emerging policy-skeptical voices critical of the internet governance status quo and the multistakeholderism model. This new group of actors may contribute to the reshaping of known internal equilibriums within the civil society realm. While it is too early to predict whether these new entries and alliances are there to stay, the tech activism community’s engagement can contribute to increase civil society’s grassrootedness, legitimacy, and accountability. The Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also known as NETmundial, is taking…

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