Taming the iMonster: Regulating digital platforms

DigiGov Virtual Winter School

Digital platforms, understood as the technical and social infrastructure for the collection, storage, curation, analysis, distribution or commercialisation of digital data, are frequently compared to a Leviathan: A “monster” that people submit their natural freedoms to in order to receive something back that they consider essential. In the case of the platform-Leviathan, it is not physical security and the protection of their property that people receive in return, but the possibility to communicate across time and space, to connect different groups to buy and sell goods in a faster and more convenient manner, or to look for rides, jobs, houses, partners. Especially during and after Covid-19, submitting to the iMonster has been a necessary condition for many people to be able to do the things they need to do to hold a job or two and run their families. 

How do we best regulate digital platforms?

This is the question that this interdisciplinary Winter School will focus on. Over the course of two weeks in February 2022 (14-25 February, Mon-Fr 3-6pm Central European Time), and together with experts from various disciplines and fields of practice, we will explore questions such as:

  • What is the role of states in regulating digital platforms?
  • What value do digital platforms create, and for whom?
  • What is the role of ethics in the process?
  • What knowledge does robust regulation require?

Invited speakers include Dr José van Dijck, t.b.c. (Universiteit Utrecht), Dr Jonathan Gray (King’s College London & Public Data Lab), Dr Alex Hanna (Google), Dr Jürgen Pfeffer (Technical University Munich), Dr Jean-Christophe Plantin (LSE), Theresa Züger (Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society), and a representative (t.b.c.) from AlgorithmWatch

How to apply?

While especially geared towards early-stage researchers (PhD students and post-docs), the DigiGov Virtual Winter School is open to colleagues from all disciplines with an interest in the topic. Participation is free, but places are limited.

If you would like to participate, please send a short outline of your motivation to participate, and a brief summary of the project(s) you are working on (1 page max.), to natalia.kancelova@univie.ac.at by 15 November 2021 at the latest.

We will notify successful applicants by 15 December 2021. Confirmation of attendance certificates will be given to everyone who participates in all sessions.

The members and affiliates of the Research Platform Governance of Digital Practices look forward to hearing from you!