570 internet researchers from all over the world met at the conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR2016)in Berlin. According to the theme “Internet Rules!”, they discussed regulations of the Internet, how power structures as well as making and breaking rules work online and what challenges occur for the society. The conference, which took place in Germany for the first time, was hosted by the Hans-Bredow-Institut and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).
Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research, said on the occasion of the conference: “Mit der Digitalen Agenda unterstützt die Bundesregierung den digitalen Wandel mit dem Ziel, die damit verbundenen Chancen für Deutschland nutzbar zu machen. Als Forschungsministerium haben wir das Deutsche Internetinstitut, eine neue Open Access Strategie und die Digitalisierung in der Wissenschaft auf den Weg gebracht. Bildung, Forschung und Digitalisierung gehören zusammen und müssen auch vernetzt gedacht werden. Dass die AoIR Konferenz nun in Deutschland zu Gast ist, zeigt die zunehmend starke Vernetzung internationaler und deutscher WissenschaftlerInnen in diesem zukunftsorientierten Forschungsgebiet.“
[With its ‘Digital Agenda’, the Federal Government supports the digital transformation in order to use the related opportunities for Germany. As the Ministry of Education and Research, we initiated the German Institute of the Internet, a new Open Access-Strategy and the Digitalisation in research. Education, research and digitalisation belong together and have to be thought of in a networked and connected way. The fact that the conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) is visiting Germany shows the growing interconnectedness of international and German researchers in this future-oriented research area.]
For four days, the participants of the AoIR discussed what rules and regulations the Internet needs. The topics ranged from ethics in digitalisation, data protection and the regulation of platforms to effects of social media on political decision-making. The keynote “The Platform Society” was given by Prof. Dr. José van Dijck of the University of Amsterdam.
One highlight of the conference was the public panel discussion “Who Rules the Internet?“ on October 6 in the lecture hall of the Humboldt-Universität Berlin. Kate Crawford (Microsoft Research), Fieke Jansen (Tactical Tech) and Carolin Gerlitz (Universität Siegen) discussed power structures and regulatory structures on the Internet at this panel.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, director of the Hans-Bredow-Institut and research director of the HIIG explained the aim of the conference: „Das Internet bildet mehr und mehr die Kommunikationsbasis für alle Bereiche der Gesellschaft. Wir müssen diese Transformation verstehen, um sie gestalten zu können. Die AoIR-Konferenz ist eine gute Gelegenheit, dies aus der Perspektive vieler Disziplinen und kultureller Hintergründe zu diskutieren“
[The internet forms more and more the communication basis for all areas of the society. We have to understand the transformation in order to shape it. The AoIR is a good opportunity to discuss this topic from the perspective of different research disciplines and cultural backgrounds]. He further says, „Wir freuen uns sehr, dass wir diese Konferenz als Gastgeber nach Berlin holen konnten und dass so viele unserer Kolleginnen und Kollegen der Einladung gefolgt sind.“ [We are delighted that we are able to host this conference in Berlin and that many of our colleagues accepted our invitation.]
The Internet Rules, But How?
Julia Pohle, Francesca Musiani, Dmitry Epstein, Christian Katzenbach; Wednesday, October 5, 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Legal Hackathon: Building Standards of Privacy- and Security-by-Design
Maximilian von Grafenstein; Wednesday, October 5, 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Countering Climate Change: Climate Skeptic Comments in the German Networked Public Sphere
Jonas Kaiser; Thursday, October 6, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
News Sharing on Twitter: A Nationally Comparative Study
Axel Bruns, Brenda Moon, Felix Münch, Jan-Hinrik Schmidt, Lisa Merten, Hallvard Moe, Sander Schwartz; Thursday, October 6, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
Acting through technology - The proliferation of open source practices and its consequences
Stefan Baack, Julia Velkova, Sebastian Kubitschko, Raul Ferrer, Reinhard Handler; Thursday, October 6, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
The Politics of Internet Research: Reflecting on the challenges and responsibilities of policy engagement
Victoria Nash, Wolfgang Schulz, Juan-Carlos De Martin, Ivan Klimov, Bill Dutton, Kate Coyer; Thursday, October 6, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Plenary Panel: Who Rules the Internet?
Kate Crawford (Microsoft Research NYC), Fieke Jansen (Tactical Tech), Carolin Gerlitz (Universität Siegen), Chair: Cornelius Puschmann; Thursday, October 6, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Big Nudging: a dream of social cybernetics come true?
Jeanette Hofmann; Friday, October 7, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Caught in a feedback loop? Algorithmic personalization and digital traces
Wiebke Loosen, Christian Sandvig, Marco T. Bastos, Cornelius Puschmann, Uwe Hasebrink, Sascha Hölig, Lisa Merten, Jan-Hinrik Schmidt, Katharina E. Kinder-Kurlanda, Katrin Weller; Friday, October 7, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Scholarly Publishing in a Digital Age
Benedikt Fecher, Sabina Garcia Peter, Rebecca Kahn; Saturday, October 8, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Die Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) has about 500 members worldwide and unites researchers of various disciplines, from cultural science to computer science. The conference of Internet Research is held every year in October (2014 in Daegu/Korea, 2015 in Phoenix/USA). The AoIR contributes to Internet studies by hosting an open-access mailing list with nearly 5,000 subscribers, by publishing selected findings of the conference in a special issue of the journal “Information, Communication and Society” each year, in cooperation with the journal, and by providing information in the field of Internet research, such as the “AoIR Guide on Ethical Online Research.”
The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) aims at exploring the dynamic relationship between the Internet and society. It seeks to understand the interplay between social-cultural, legal, economic and technical norms in the process of digitalisation, and thus, form the basis for the dialogue of different interest groups of politics, business and society. The changes in the area of conflict of governance and innovation is the basic framework for the research. The interrelation shows many varieties and forms structures that have an effect in all areas of society and economic sectors: government and administration, businesses and markets and in different groups of civil society, from the local to the global level. The HIIG was founded in 2011 by the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), the University of the Arts Berlin (UdK) and the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB), in alliance with the Hans-Bredow-Institut as an integrated co-operation partner.