Niels ten Oever

Niels is a postdoctoral researcher with the ‘Making the hidden visible: Co-designing for public values in standards-making and governance’-project at the Media Studies department at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a postdoctoral scholar with the Communications Department at Texas A&M University, research fellow with the Centre for Internet and Human Rights – European University Viadrina, and associated scholar with the Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas. His research focuses on how norms, such as human rights, get inscribed, resisted, and subverted in the Internet infrastructure through its transnational governance.

Niels tries to understand how invisible infrastructures provide a socio-technical ordering to information societies and how this influences the distribution of wealth, power, and possibilities.

While writing his PhD ‘Wired Norms: Inscription, resistance, and subversion in the governance of the Internet infrastructure’, Niels was affiliated with the DATACTIVE Research Group at the Media Studies and Political Science department at the University of Amsterdam. Before that Niels has worked as Head of Digital for ARTICLE19 where he designed, fund-raised, and set up the digital programme which covered the Internet Engineering Taskforce, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Institute for Electric and Electronic Engineers, and the International Telecommunications Union. Before that Niels designed and implemented freedom of expression projects with Free Press Unlimited. He holds a cum laude MA in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam.

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Wired Norms: Inscription, resistance, and subversion in the governance of the Internet infrastructure
Niels ten Oever

Warning (but don't be afraid): this talk contains an overarching theory of the workings of Internet governance (with an emphasis on human rights)!

The rules of the road for the Internet infrastructure are designed in different governance bodies, such as the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and in Regional Internet Registries (RIRs).

I will showcase how Internet governance institutions are tied together through 'the infrastructural norm of interconnection'. This concept helps explain how Internet governance works and why many social and legal norms, such as human rights and data protection, get resisted and subverted in the governance of the Internet infrastructure.

This talk is the outcome of 6 years participation in and research of Internet governance institutions and processes, and is suitable for both issue matter experts and people who never heard of Internet governance before.

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