IRC 22 - Proposed Session - #LockdownsAndShutdowns

Posted by Admin at Dec 31, 2020 12:00 AM |
Details of a session proposed for the Internet Researchers' Conference 2022 - #Home.


Internet Researchers' Conference 2022 - # Home - Call for Sessions


Session Type: Workshop or Collaborative Working Session

Session Plan

Internet shutdowns are a form of censorship which can have substantial economic and human rights implications. Despite the potential negative consequences, shutdowns are still used across the globe, and many social perspectives on shutdowns remain under-researched and poorly understood. For example, the relationship between internet shutdowns and one’s sense of safety and freedom at home. This connection is pertinent given the COVID19 pandemic and government recommendations to work from home, which emphasised the importance of the internet and the ability to connect with others freely. By connecting with others online, we create a sense of digital community. While many are spending more time at home, shutdowns continued despite the increasing need for online communication. This session aims to understand community perspectives surrounding shutdowns and other forms of censorship, specifically focusing on one’s “home”. Shutdowns are a common tool to curb forms of collective action (such as protests), and some public spaces have had reduced availability due to COVID19. Therefore, the importance of the internet in enabling social movements, like protests, cannot be understated. Thus, this session will touch upon many essential topics and encourage others to think about shutdowns and the increased importance of the internet in allowing social movements from within one’s home.

The session will last a total of 60 minutes. The first 5 minutes will provide an overview of the session’s structure and why this topic is important. We will then move into a semi-structured format consisting of 3 x 15-minute mini-sessions, with each mini-session touching upon a different question. Example questions may cover topics such as the unique role of the internet in enabling online social movements in times of a lockdown or if shutdowns during lockdowns merit a different moral threshold. The prompt questions will encourage interdisciplinary discussion so that participants from diverse backgrounds can make meaningful contributions. We envisage that this session will be organic and open in a large roundtable format. The last 10 minutes of the session will consist of an open-style discussion so that any remaining thoughts, opinions, and reflections from participants may be shared.


Session Team 

Michael Collyer is an OTF Senior Fellow in Information Controls and a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Oxford. His research interests are information controls, Bayesian statistics, machine learning, and natural language processing.

Joss Wright is the Co-Director of the Oxford EPSRC Cybersecurity Doctoral Training Centre; Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Illegal Wildlife Trade; and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. His work focuses on computational approaches to social science questions, with a particular focus on technologies that exert, resist, or subvert control over information.

Andreas Tsamados is a doctoral researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute focusing on human control over AI/ML applications within national security and defence. He is also developing the Algorithmic Resistance Cookbook, a guide to using data-driven tools and techniques to practice resistance against intrusive and repressive aspects of present-day algorithmic culture.

Marianne Díaz Hernández is a #KeepItOn Fellow at Access Now. Marianne is a Venezuelan lawyer, digital rights activist, and fiction writer, currently based in Santiago, Chile. Her work focuses mainly on issues regarding online freedom of speech, privacy, web filtering, internet infrastructure and digital security. She founded the digital rights NGO Acceso Libre, a volunteer-based organization that documents threats to human rights in the online environment in Venezuela. Before joining Access Now, Marianne worked as a public policy analyst for the Latin American NGO Derechos Digitales. She’s volunteered for Global Voices, particularly for the Advox project, since 2010. She has also published several fiction books, and co-founded the small press Casajena Editoras. In 2019, she was recognized with the “Human Rights Hero” award, granted by Access Now, for her “research and leading advocacy efforts against invasive measures taken by the Maduro government in Venezuela. She’s currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Narrative Writing at Alberto Hurtado University.

Nathan Dobson is a Postdoc at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford. He has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. His current research is on internet shutdowns in relation to elections and violence in Africa. He has a background in African Studies and has worked at the University of Florida, USA, and the University of Birmingham, UK.