EVENTS

Upcoming Events​

7 June 2022

Corinne Cath-Speth

Surfacing Internet Infrastructure Politics: Reflections on how to study opaque internet politics, problems, and protocols

Abstract: The willingness of opaque Internet infrastructure companies, like cloud providers and content delivery network companies, to act on their responsibility as political actors vis-à-vis the public good is key to the debate about tech accountability. This talk will map the changing terrain of internet infrastructure politics and outline additional avenues for studying it, given the often highly technical, opaque, and inaccessible nature of its functioning.  

Policy interventions concerning the Internet tend to focus on companies in the content or commerce business: social media companies, online retailers, and so on. But these companies would not function without the support of lower-layer infrastructurecompanies, “down the stack”, that define how information is accessed and transmitted across the Internet. Over the past years, these lower-level infrastructure companies have asserted themselves in the public debate with renewed vigor. Various such companies, that provide infrastructural services like web hosting and security protection to social media companies, made high-profile decisions that style them as content moderators, political decision-makers, and gatekeepers to the Internet and democratic processes. Sometimes on their own accord and sometimes pressured by governments. Their explicit political role means academics and policymakers mustfurther consider the role of these companies in the overall ecosystem of internet governance—and develop additional ways to study the concerns, harms, but perhaps also the opportunities that arise from infrastructural interventions in political debates. 

Dr. Corinne Cath is an anthropologist who studies the politics of Internet infrastructure. Her PhD research analyses the culture of the often-opaque organisations that enable the technical functioning of the Internet, inevitably acting as political gatekeepers. Within that context, she focuses on the ability of human rights and civil liberties activists, to participate on par with industry engineers to shape the internet’s underpinning and the data that flows across it. 

Corinne holds affiliations with the Data Active Research Project at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Cambridge Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH). She currently works as the Vice President of Research at the Open Tech Fund. Prior to finishing her PhD, Corinne worked as a program officer for the “Digital Team” of human rights NGO ARTICLE19 and as a policy advisor for the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C. 

Corinne has a BA in anthropology and an MA in International Relations from the University of Utrecht, and an MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford. You can find her on twitter @C__CS or read more at corinnecath.com

Past Events​

12 May 2022

Giana Eckhardt

Reimagining the Sharing Economy: Are Platform Cooperatives the Answer?

Abstract: Despite promises to address social disconnection, inequality, and environmental degradation, the sharing economy haslargely failed to deliver the positive social outcomes that Belk (2010), Botsman and Rogers (2010) and others envisioned at its inception (Schor 2020). While flagship platforms such as AirBnB, Uber and Rent the Runway have fundamentally altered consumer behavior, revolutionizing the way we travel, where we stay, and what we wear (Eckhardt et al. 2019; Madrigal 2019; Belk et al. 2019), the sharing economy has also led to worsened pay inequality, destabilized neighborhoods, accelerated climate change, exacerbated consumerism and given multinational corporations disproportionate leverage to bypass state and local governments (Laamanen et al. 2018; Schor 2020; Slee 2015; Yates 2021).  

In seeking to map the terrain for reimagining the sharing economy toward a more equitable and prosocial outlook, academics and practitioners have been drawing attention to an alternative business model holding potential to realize the sharing economy’s promises and overcome its limitations: the platform cooperative (Schor 2020; Scholz 2014, 2016; Vallas and Schor, 2020; Woodstock and Graham 2019). However, the variable levels of success and ability to foster sustained consumer interest are raising questions about the transformative potential of platform cooperatives (Curtis, 2021; Muñoz and Cohen, 2018; Qualtrough 2021). In this study, we leverage netnography and depth interviews to investigate what the main barriers and opportunities are for platform cooperatives in the sharing economy from a consumer perspective. Preliminary findings indicate that there are three substantive domains – functional, structural and ideological – in which platform cooperatives are strategically disadvantaged or underperforming relative to commercial sharing economy platforms. We highlight specific tension points within each of these domains that limit platform cooperatives potential to reimagine the sharing economy and offer directions for resolving extant limitations. 

Giana M. Eckhardt is Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean, Executive Education and Partnerships, at King’s Business School, King’s College London, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. She received her B.S. in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and her Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Minnesota. Giana is a leading expert in the field of consumer behavior, consumer culture, consumer ethics, branding, and the sharing economy, publishing regularly in journals such as Harvard Business Review, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, and Journal of Consumer Research. She is co-author of The Myth of the Ethical Consumer (Cambridge University Press) and co-editor of Handbook of the Sharing Economy (Edward Elgar). She is past co-chair of the Consumer Culture Theory conference and current co-chair of the Association for Consumer Research conference, is Associate Editor of Journal of Consumer Research, and is on the editorial review board of Journal of Marketing. Her research has won awards from the Sheth Foundation and the Marketing Science Institute and been featured in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Vice Magazine, The Atlantic, Fortune, Vogue, Scientific American, The BBC, and on National Public Radio, among many others. Giana has received research grants from the Australian Research Council, the Marketing Science Institute, and the British Academy of Management, and has presented her work at top institutions and conferences around the world, including at the United Nations CSR Global Forum, Brand Week, The Future of Brands, and the Global Women’s Forum. She teaches brand management to MBA and executive MBA students. 

5 May 2022

Eliane Bucher

We did start the fire – r/wallstreetbets, ‘flash movements’ and the Gamestop short-squeeze

Abstract: In January 2021, Wall Street suddenly faced a challenge from an online community – r/wallstreetbets – where a large group of small investors coordinated to bet against large hedge funds. In an instant, the online community took on social movement characteristics which led to comparisons with other resistance movements such as Occupy Wall Street. While scholars are gaining insight into the life of social movements in online communities, current theory does not explain how such sudden, large-scale action can arise from online communities. To fill this gap, we study the Wallstreetbets movement relying on a mixed-methods research design, combining topic modeling with in-depth qualitative coding. Based on this method, we conceptualize Wallstreetbets as a ‘flash movement’, a movement that arises swiftly without former planning or design, through the imbrication of social activities with affordances and constraints of online communities. Our study contributes to (1) the recent interest in spontaneous action in social movements; (2) how social media affordances and constraints affect social movements, and (3) methodologies for studying digital social movements.

Eliane Bucher is an Associate Professor with the Nordic Centre for Internet and Society at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo. She completed her PhD in Management at the University of St. Gallen, where she is also a lecturer in digital communications. Her research centers on new forms of work and organizing, algorithmic management, and digital platforms. In particular, she is currently interested in harnessing automated forms of text analysis to understand large-scale online discourses as catalysts for collective organizing.

21 April 2022

Natalia Moreno Belloso

Trade-Offs in the Digital Markets Act

Abstract: On March 24, 2022, a mere 15 months after the European Commission released its draft Digital Markets Act (DMA), the Council and the Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the regulatory initiative. The DMA signals the most significant overhaul of the digital regulatory landscape to date and targets large digital platforms which act as ‘gatekeepers’ in their respective markets. The DMA opts for regulating a range of platform practices by imposing on gatekeepers a set of immediately applicable prohibitions. In doing so, the DMA does away with certain elements characteristic of ‘traditional’ competition law, such as the need for prior case-specific investigations and the possibility for platforms to bring forward countervailing justifications for their conduct.

This choice for outright prohibitions stands in contrast with the complexity that characterizes digital platform dynamics. This complexity gives rise to trade-offs which the DMA might fail to capture. For example, the pursuit of competition in some scenarios can be in tension with other policy values, such as privacy or security. Or, the myriad actors within the platform sphere can be affected differently, such that some benefit from a certain regulatory provision while others lose out. This talk highlights some of the trade-offs underlying the DMA and places these within a typology of policy trade-offs.

Natalia Moreno Belloso is a PhD researcher in law at the European University Institute. Her research explores the implications of economic theory for competition law and regulatory enforcement against digital platforms. Prior to joining the EUI, she completed her legal studies at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, where she graduated with an LLB and an LLM. She also holds a BSc in Economics from the same university as well as a second LLM in Comparative, European and International Laws from the EUI.

14 April 2022

Bronwyn Howell

Recurrent memes and technological fallacies

Abstract: The belief that technological change is accelerating, and that it will cause devastating effects on the labor market, has a very long history (Mokyr, Vickers & Ziebarth, 2015). Current anxiety about a dystopian “future of work” caused by advances in artificial intelligence (AI) is merely the latest outbreak of a remarkably persistent meme. We outline a brief history of the 2010s “future of work” meme outbreak. We trace the outbreak to forecasts that made strong predictions about the rate of AI development and adoption; and adopted strong assumptions about how those technologies would affect specific jobs, and how effects on specific jobs would affect the wider labor market. These forecasts have morphed into “fact”. And the burden of proof appears to have shifted from their proponents to their opponents. We believe this justifies our “meme” characterization. However, forecasts are testable. They can, and should be, tested against reality. And when tested, these ones fail. Why then is the future-of-work meme so persistent? We explore the lump of labor fallacy and other contributing fallacies and biases in human judgement that facilitate memes becoming falsely established as “facts”. We recommend caution in Government policy-making.  Trying to “get ahead of the game” and protect workers’ interests is laudable, however acting on predictions rather than data risks harming the interests of those they seek to protect.

The work I’m presenting is joint work with David Heatley (formerly of the NZ Productivity Commission) and forms part of forthcoming Edward Elgar handbook on AI and work – a project convened by Professor Martha Garcia-Murillo of the College of Information Science and Technology at the University of Nebraska.

Bronwyn Howell is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where she focuses on the regulation, development, and deployment of new technologies and the use of technology in the health sector. She also uses multiple methodologies from economics, decision sciences, public policy, and governance to address issues of policy and management in the information, communications, and digital technology industries. As a resident of New Zealand, she is especially interested in exploring how experiences in other countries (notably Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) can inform debate and policy in the United States (and vice versa).

Dr. Howell is a faculty member of the Wellington School of Business and Government at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, a senior research fellow at the Public Utilities Research Center at the University of Florida, a board member and secretary of the International Telecommunications Society, an associate editor of the journal Telecommunications Policy, and a research principal at the Institute for Technology and Network Economics. She was formerly research principal and general manager of the New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation. Before her academic career, she worked in the information and communications technology sector, as both an employee of multinational firms and an independent contractor. In her academic career, in addition to her research, she has undertaken consulting projects in many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea.

Dr. Howell has a PhD in economics and public policy, an MBA, and a BA in operations research, all from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

7 April 2022

Robin Mansell

Digital Innovation Paradigms: Contestations in Theory and Practice

Abstract: This talk compares the underlying logics of digital innovation paradigms to draw attention to the contested rationales for policy intervention in the platform marketplace and to the way these contentions play out in regulatory practice.  It draws examples from recent moves to introduce new legislation in the EU and the UK with the aim of arguing that greater attention needs to be paid to the implementation of legislation aimed at mitigating harms associated with digital innovation in the age of dominant platforms.

Robin Mansell is Professor of New Media and the Internet in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research and teaching focus on media and communications regulation and policy, internet governance, privacy and surveillance, digital platforms, socio-technical features of data and information systems, and the social, political and economic impacts of innovation in digital networks and applications. Her current research addresses the political economy of ‘platformisation’ and ‘datafication’ and its consequences for society in diverse contexts around the world. She is author of ‘Imagining the Internet: Communication, Innovation and Governance’ (Oxford UP 2012) and co-author of ‘Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics’ (Edward Elgar, 2020).

31 March 2022

Chris Marsden

Artificial Intelligence co-regulation – acting to enforce transparency and ethical standards

Abstract: When we talk to policymakers about AI regulation we face a very similar problem as with cyberlaw and network neutrality. They don’t even know what it is, as revealed in the inadequate AI Act in draft. AI in 2022 (as loosely defined) looks as mysterious as the Internet at the time of the dotcom boom or broadband deployment. Effective enforcement will be incredibly difficult & require co-regulation. Legal technology history requires a primer on the good/bad lessons of cyberlaw & network neutrality history versus AI unregulation. It took the dot-bomb crash & 9/11 to get policymakers to seriously engage with cyberlaw regulation (as opposed to the very loose virtual self regulation of CDA s230 after 1996, & the E-Commerce Directive largely unenforced early after its coming into force in 2002). The same applies for network neutrality in Europe until the telecoms platforms blocked Skype and WhatsApp in 2011. What is the AI regulation moment? Cyberlaw rolled into network neutrality with Phorm & copyright policing? There is a contemporary comparison for  AI regulation via ethics with disinformation and electronic privacy policy, all largely unenforced and left to ethical codes of conduct. Some differences exist, but cyberlaw and broadband policy provide good comparisons with AI policy, because all are broadly general purpose technologies that must eventually be regulated. When the 1990s cyberlaw settlement is only now being unpicked via liability reforms in the Digitial Services and Digital Markets Acts, network neutrality barely enforced, does that suggest a 20/25 year movement towards reforming the AI Act too?

Chris Marsden (@prof_marsden) is Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Technology and the Law at Monash University and an expert on Internet and digital technology law, having researched and taught in the field since 1995. Chris researches regulation by code – whether legal, software or social code. He is author of five monographs including “Net neutrality” (2017), “Regulating Code” (2013 with Prof. Ian Brown), “Internet Co-regulation” (2011). He is author of many refereed articles, book chapters, professional articles, keynote addresses, and other scholarly contributions. He joins Monash from Sussex Law School, where he was Professor of Law (2013-22) and the founder and Director of the Centre for Information Governance Research (@SussCIGR) and Co-Investigator in the UK Trusted Autonomous Systems Governance and Regulation consortium (UKRI-EPSRC @tas_governance) and Centre for Inclusive Trade Policy (UKRI-ESRC @Centre4ITP).

24 March 2022

Anna Maria Mandalari

Measuring Privacy from Consumer IoT Devices​

Abstract: The consumer Internet of Things (IoT) space has experienced a significant rise in popularity in the recent years. From smart speakers, to baby monitors, these devices are increasingly found in households around the world while users may be unaware of the risks associated with owning these devices. In this talk, Anna Maria Mandalari will explore what we are invisible trading in exchange for these devices, sharing examples of privacy leakage from the most popular IoT devices in the market, what the implications for consumers are, and discuss potential future mitigations.

Anna Maria Mandalari works as research associate at Imperial College London. She was a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher affiliated with the UC3M. At Imperial, she studies privacy implications and information exposure from consumer IoT devices. She collaborated with several international institutions and companies, such as Simula Research Laboratory, in Norway and Telefonica Research in Spain. During the past 6 years, she worked on the problem of modelling, designing, and evaluating adaptation strategies based on Internet measurements techniques. Most of her research experiences have significantly contributed to several EU funded research projects.

17 March 2022

Daniel Schnurr

Regulation of Data-driven Market Power in the Digital Economy

Abstract: Recent regulatory proposals and high-profile antitrust cases have put a spotlight on the relationship between firms’ access to big data and sustained competitive advantages in digital markets. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, this talk discusses three regulatory approaches to govern market power and competition in data-driven digital markets: empowering consumers, data openness and limiting data scale. For each of these approaches, the key role of information technology in mediating the effect of regulatory rules on actual practice is examined. This developed conceptual framework builds on a review of the academic literature, which demonstrates that there is extensive, although nuanced, empirical evidence for business value creation from big (user) data. Moreover, the analysis draws on the resource-based view of the firm and recent policy reports to derive six facilitating factors that enable firms to establish market power based on sustained data-driven competitive advantages. Finally, policy implications are discussed with respect to the European Commission’s recent proposals for a Digital Markets Act and a Data Act.

Daniel Schnurr is head of the research group Data Policies at the University of Passau. He received his Ph.D. in Information Systems from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2016, where he previously studied Information Engineering and Management (B.Sc. & M.Sc.). Daniel Schnurr has published in leading scholarly journals on Information Systems and Economics such as Management Science and Journal of Industrial Economics. He is a Research Fellow of the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), for which he has contributed to several high-profile policy reports on the regulation of digital markets .

Daniel Schnurr pursues an interdisciplinary research approach at the intersection of information technology, economics and policy. His current research focuses on the rules and institutions that govern firms’ and consumers’ access to data. In particular, he analyzes the strategic and economic implications of firms’ data sharing and investigates regulatory rules that can remedy data-driven market power. Moreover, he is interested in consumers’ behavior and decision-making in privacy contexts as well as competition and cooperation between human and artificial intelligence in digital markets.

10 March 2022

Lauren Scholz

Private Rights of Action in Privacy Law

Abstract: Many privacy advocates assume that the key to providing individuals with more privacy protection is strengthening the power government has to directly sanction actors that hurt the privacy interests of citizens. This Article contests the conventional wisdom, arguing that private rights of action are essential for privacy regulation. First, I show how private rights of action make privacy law regime more effective in general. Private rights of action are the most direct regulatory access point to the private sphere. They leverage private expertise and knowledge, create accountability through discovery, and have expressive value in creating privacy-protective norms. Then to illustrate the general principle, I provide examples of how private rights of actions can improve privacy regulation in a suite of key modern privacy problems. We cannot afford to leave private rights of action out of privacy reform.

Lauren Henry Scholz is the McConnaughhay and Rissman Professor at Florida State University College of Law. Her research lies at the intersection of information technology, privacy, and commercial law. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in many leading publications, including William & Mary Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, and University of Chicago Law Review Online.

24 February 2022

Christian Peukert

Bridging the digital divide: How access price drives mobile internet demand

Abstract: Digital technologies and the internet in particular are associated with economic growth. However, a considerable share of the world population still does not have regular access to the internet. A key driver of the digital divide, both across and within countries, are relatively high access prices. We run an experiment to measure how a substantial price drop affects demand for the mobile internet and consumers’ choice for different types of content. We then replicate the results with observational data using price shocks from the European Union’s roaming regulation. The welfare effects we document are informative for policy that aims to reduce the digital divide, but also for internet access regulation such as the net neutrality debate.

Christian Peukert is Associate Professor for Digitization, Innovation and Intellectual Property at the University of Lausanne, Faculty of Business and Economics (HEC), Switzerland. He studies how digital technologies affect firms, consumers and markets with a focus on intellectual property and the economics of data and artificial intelligence. His work has been published in outlets such as Management Science, Marketing Science, Information Systems Research, Strategic Management Journal and Research Policy. Before his academic career, Christian co-founded a record label that specializes in rap music.

10 February 2022

Thibault Schrepel

Blockchain + Antitrust

Abstract: On February 10th, Professor Schrepel (VU Amsterdam/Stanford) will give a talk about his book “Blockchain + Antitrust” which explores the relationship between blockchain and antitrust, highlights the mutual benefits that stem from cooperation between the two and provides a unique perspective on how law and technology could cooperate.

To this end, Professor Schrepel will draw upon legal, economic, and technical insights to introduce blockchain and antitrust mutual flaws and the limitations when they ignore each other. He will explore the anticompetitive practices that may arise in the ecosystem and will cover enforcement issues before showcasing the potential of blockchain and antitrust to complement one another. In a nutshell, this talk will address the benefit of a “law + technology” instead of “law & technology” approach. It calls for computer scientists and lawyers to join forces and explore synergies.

Dr. Thibault Schrepel, LL.M., is an Associate Professor of Law at VU Amsterdam University, and a Faculty Affiliate at Stanford University CodeX Center where he has created the “Computational Antitrust” project that brings together over 50 antitrust agencies. Thibault also holds research and teaching positions at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Sciences Po Paris. He is a Harvard University Berkman Center alumnus, a member of the French Superior Audiovisual Council’s scientific board, and a blockchain expert appointed to the World Economic Forum and the World Bank.

27 January 2022

Fabian Stephany

Online Labour Index 2020: New ways to measure the world’s remote freelancing market

Abstract: The Online Labour Index (OLI) was launched in 2016 to measure the global utilisation of online freelance work at scale. Five years after its creation, the OLI has become a point of reference for scholars and policy experts investigating the online gig economy. As the market for online freelancing work matures, a high volume of data and new analytical tools allow us to revisit half a decade of online freelance monitoring and extend the index’s scope to more dimensions of the global online freelancing market. While (still) measuring the utilisation of online labour across countries and occupations by tracking the number of projects and tasks posted on major English-language platforms, the new Online Labour Index 2020 (OLI 2020) also tracks Spanish- and Russian-language platforms, reveals changes over time in the geography of labour supply and estimates female participation in the online gig economy. The rising popularity of software and tech work and the concentration of freelancers on the Indian subcontinent are examples of the insights that the OLI 2020 provides. The OLI 2020 delivers a more detailed picture of the world of online freelancing via an interactive online visualisation updated daily. It provides easy access to downloadable open data for policymakers, labour market researchers, and the public (www.onlinelabourobservatory.org).

Link to paper (joint work with Otto Kässi, Uma Rani, and Vili Lehdonvirta): https://doi.org/10.1177/20539517211043240

Dr. Fabian Stephany is a researcher in Social Data Science at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford, and a Research Affiliate at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. He is a co-creator of the Online Labour Observatory – a digital data hub for researchers, policy makers, journalists, and the public interested in the development of online labour markets, which is hosted by the OII and the International Labour Organisation. With this current project on the future of creative work, Fabian investigates how we can create more sustainable jobs via data-driven reskilling in times of technological disruption. His research has been published in leading academic journals and was covered by Washington Post, The New York Times, The Telegraph, The Statesman, Nikkei Asia, and other popular media around the world. Fabian holds a PhD and degrees in Economics and Social Sciences from different European institutions, including Universitá Bocconi Milan and University of Cambridge. As an Economist and Senior Data Scientist, Fabian has been working in the private sector and for various actors in the international policy landscape, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank or the OECD in Paris.

9 December 2021

Katerina Argyraki

Internet transparency?

Abstract: The Internet was meant to be neutral: treat all traffic the same, without discriminating in favor of specific apps, sites, or services. As commercial interests threaten this ideal, many countries have introduced neutrality regulations. Unfortunately, none of them are actually enforceable. In this talk, I will first discuss the challenge of inferring whether a network is neutral or not using solely external observations. Then, I will discuss how we can go beyond neutrality inference and reach network transparency, in which networks provide explicit hints that enable their users to reliably assess network behavior, including neutrality.

Katerina Argyraki is an associate professor of computer science at EPFL, where she does research on network architecture and systems, with a particular interest in network transparency and neutrality. She received an IRTF applied networking research prize (2020) and Best Paper awards at SOSP (2009) and NSDI (2014), all shared with her students and co-authors. She has been honored with the EuroSys Jochen Liedtke Young Researcher Award (2016) and three teaching awards at EPFL. Prior to EPFL, she worked at Arista Networks from day one, and received her PhD from Stanford (2007).

2 December 2021

Wolfgang Briglauer

Net Neutrality and High-Speed Broadband Networks: Evidence from OECD Countries

Abstract: Network neutrality regulations are intended to preserve the Internet as a non-discriminatory, public network and an open platform for innovation. Whereas the U.S. recently reversed its regulations, thus returning to a less strict regime, the EU has maintained its course and recently revised implementation guidelines for its strict and rather interventionist net neutrality regulations. To this day, there exist only a few U.S.-focused empirical investigations on the impact of network neutrality regulations, based on rather broad measures of investment activities. Our paper provides the first estimation results on the causal impact of net neutrality regulations on new high-speed (fiber-optic cable-based) infrastructure investment by Internet service providers and on related consumer subscription to fiber-based broadband connection services. We use a comprehensive OECD panel data set for 32 countries for the period from 2003 to 2019 and various panel estimation techniques, including instrumental variables estimation. Our empirical analysis is based on theoretical underpinnings derived from a simplified model in a two-sided market framework. We find empirical evidence that net neutrality regulations exert a direct negative impact on fiber investments and an indirect negative impact on fiber subscriptions. Our results suggest that imposing strict net neutrality regulations slow down the deployment of new fiber-based broadband connections.

Dr. rer. pol. habil. Wolfgang Briglauer is Head of the Digitalization and Regulation Research Section at EcoAustria and PostDoc researcher at the Institute for Regulatory Economics at the Vienna University of Business and Economics (WU). His research focus is on economic and empirical issues concerning the digital revolution, broadband policies, industrial economics, and regulation.

Briglauer studied Economics at Johannes-Kepler-University in Linz, earning his doctorate in 2001 with honours. From 2000 to 2009, he supported the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) in Vienna and was responsible for issues concerning the market definition, market analysis, and sectoral ex-ante regulation. From 2000 to 2009 (and again since 2018), he was (is) a researcher at the Institute for Regulatory Economics at the Vienna University of Business and Economics (WU), where his empirical research is focused primarily on electronic communication markets. From 2013 to 2019, Briglauer was a Senior Researcher at the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW Mannheim) in the research groups „Competition and Regulation“ and „Digital Economy“. He obtained his Habilitation (university teaching credential) in Economics from the Technical University of Ilmenau in January 2021. Briglauer has also been a regular lecturer in Microeconomics at WU and FOM Mannheim from 2011 to 2018. Since 2020 Briglauer is lecturer and research affiliate at University of Passau (Chair of Internet and Telecommunications Business).

The research of Briglauer is regularly published in leading scientific journals in his field of expertise, among others International Journal of Industrial Organization, Industrial and Corporate Change, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Information Economics and Policy or Telecommunications Policy. From 2016 to 2019 Briglauer was part of the co-editorial team of Review of Network Economics. Briglauer is a member of the program committee of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS) since 2011.

25 November 2021

Larisa Yarovaya

New Cryptocurrency Indexes: UCRY; ICEA; CBDCUI and CBDCAI

Abstract: Using #BigData approach, we have developed and made available a new cryptocurrency indexes: Cryptocurrency Uncertainty Index (UCRY); Index of Cryptocurrency Environmental Attentions (ICEA); Central Bank Digital Currency Uncertainty (CBDCUI) andCBDC Attention Index (CBDCAI).Our UCRY Index captures two types of uncertainty: that of the price of cryptocurrency (UCRY Price) and uncertainty of cryptocurrency policy (UCRY Policy).ICEA captures the extent to which environmental sustainability concerns are discussed in conjunction with these new assets. While the most recent,the CBDC Uncertainty Index (CBDCUI) and CBDC Attention Index (CBDCAI) capture uncertainty and attention to CBDC. All indexes are news based and we show that the constructed indexes exhibit distinct movements around major events in cryptocurrency space. Learn how to use these indexes for academic and business purposes.

Dr Larisa Yarovaya is a researcher in International Finance and Financial Technologies (Fintech), with specialism in interconnectedness between financial markets, contagion and spillover effect, diversification, hedging and safe haven properties of new markets, including cryptocurrencies, green, and Islamic assets. Larisa has published her research in peer-reviewed academic journals, such as Journal of Corporate Finance; Journal of Financial Stability; Energy Economics; International Review of Financial Analysis, and European Journal of Finance among others. She also co-edited the book “Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology” and organises the annual Cryptocurrency Research Conference. To date, Larisa has published 40 papers in top academic journals and has become one of the most cited female authors in the Fintech and cryptocurrency research area.

11 November 2021

Bruce Davie

How will Quantum Computing change the technology landscape?

Abstract: Quantum computing is reaching the point at which it is possible to perform computations that are nearly impossible for classical computers. In 2019, Google published results claiming quantum supremacy—completing in minutes a task that would take thousands of years on a classical computer. This talk will explain in simple terms how quantum computers work, how they differ from classical computers, and what they are potentially capable of. While there are enormous technical challenges still to overcome, there is great promise for quantum computers in such fields as molecular modeling, optimization and machine learning. There are also some important implications for computer security in the area of cryptography. We aim to dispel a few myths about quantum computers and provide a basis for understanding how they may impact the world in years to come.

Bruce Davie is a computer scientist noted for his contributions to the field of networking. He recently co-founded (with Larry Peterson) Systems Approach, LLC, to produce open source books and educational materials. He is a former VP and CTO for the Asia Pacific region at VMware. He joined VMware during the acquisition of Software Defined Networking (SDN) startup Nicira. Prior to that, he was a Fellow at Cisco Systems, leading a team of architects responsible for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS). Davie has over 30 years of networking industry experience and has co-authored 17 RFCs. He was recognized as an ACM Fellow in 2009 and chaired ACM SIGCOMM from 2009 to 2013. He was also a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for five years. Davie is the author of multiple books and the holder of more than 40 U.S. Patents.

4 November 2021

Georgios Zervas

Consumer Reviews and Regulation: Evidence from NYC Restaurants

Abstract: We investigate how two signals of restaurant quality, hygiene grade cards and online reviews, affect consumer choice and restaurant hygiene. Unlike hygiene cards, online reviews contain information about multiple dimensions of restaurant quality. To extract signals of hygiene from online reviews, we exploit the fact that health inspectors look for different types of violations and we apply machine learning methods to predict the occurrence of individual violations from review text. Using out-of-sample prediction accuracy as a measure of signal informativeness, we find substantial heterogeneity in how informative reviews are about different violations. Reviews are more informative about food handling and pest violations than facilities and maintenance violations. Next, we estimate the effect of hygiene information contained in online reviews on consumer demand and restaurant hygiene choices. We find that consumer demand is more sensitive to more informative signals of hygiene. In addition, restaurants that are reviewed online are more likely to comply with hygiene standards for which online reviews provide a more informative signal. Our results have implications for the allocation of limited regulator resources when consumers rate service providers online.

Georgios Zervas is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Boston University Questrom School of Business and a founding member of the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences. Previously, he was a Simons Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, and an Affiliate at the Center for Research on Computation and Society at Harvard University. Georgios holds a PhD in Computer Science at Boston University. Georgios works on problems at the intersection of marketing, computer science, and economics, and much of his work has focused on large scale empirical studies of internet markets.

28 October 2021

Axel Gautier

Platform Duality and Network Externalities

Abstract: The dual role of gatekeeping platforms has attracted the attention of policymakers worldwide. In this paper, we rationalize the incentive of a platform to enter in direct competition with third parties with a product bundle. When network externalities are absent, the platform adopts a dual role and competes with third parties in most cases and this benefits user. When network externalities are present, platform duality emerges less often. Duality reduces prices while fragmenting demand across services and reducing the network benefits. When network externalities are large, the total impact of duality on consumers is negative even if prices fall. This paper suggests that ignoring the role of network externalities might bias any meaningful analysis in favor of duality.

Axel Gautier has a PhD in economics from the University of Louvain and he is now Professor at the Department of Economics of HEC Liège – Management School of the University of Liège. Axel Gautier is the cofounder and an active member of the Liege Competition and innovation Institute (LCII), an interdisciplinary research center. In his research, Axel Gautier focuses on the digital economy with recent contributions related to mergers in the digital economy, net neutrality and the dual role of gatekeeping platforms.

21 September 2021

Oles Andriychuk

Digital Markets Act: Shaping A New Pro-Competitive Modality of EU Competition Rules

Abstract: An unprecedented revision of the rules regulating the functioning of competition in the digital markets has catalysed diverse reactions among the main stakeholders. The proposed approach to regulating gatekeepers will have a paradigmatic impact on European consumers, businesses and public institutions. It will have equally significant implications for the theoretical foundations of competition law, economics and policy.
While formally the proposed Digital Markets Act (DMA) is complementing, not substituting, existing provisions of competition, such a substantial extension of the rationale and instruments of competition policy is likely to have significant implications also for the application of ex-post rules. The entire apparatus of competition law will be extended by the new modality.
On one hand, such an extension may be seen as an enrichment. For decades, the great variety of the ideas about economic competition and its regulation have been substantially narrowed down and standardised by the Law & Economics analysis. On the other hand, however, the proposed recalibration is likely to raise many additional issues and challenges for the discipline. 
Out of the wide spectrum of changes introduced by the DMA proposal, this presentation identifies and analyses one of the central – though not so commonly discussed – elements of the transformation. It asks a normative question about what kind of competition in the digital markets the European Union should seek to establish, and amethodological question about procedural and substantive legal mechanisms used for shaping such a new format. 

Oles Andriychuk (PhD, European University Institute, Florence; Charles University in Prague) is a Senior Lecturer in Competition and Internet Law at the School of Law, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. He also is Co-Director ofStrathclyde Centre for Internet Law and Policy (SCILP) and Member of the Strathclyde Centre for Antitrust Law and Empirical Study (SCALES). In his research, Dr Andriychuk focuses on competition in the digital markets, intersections between competition law and legal philosophy, and the constitutional foundations of economic competition. His recent book “The Normative Foundations of European Competition Law: Assessing the Goals of Antitrust through the Lens of Legal Philosophy” has been published with Edward Elgar in 2017 and is available here: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/the-normative-foundations-of-european-competition-law-9781786436061.html

16 September 2021

Geoffrey Parker

Platform Mergers and Antitrust

Abstract: Should Internet era merger policy differ from Industrial era merger policy? Platform ecosystems rely on economies of scale, data-driven economies of scope, high quality algorithmic systems,and strong network effects that frequently promote winner-take-most markets. Their market dominance has generated competition concerns that appear difficult to assess with traditional merger policy tools. This paper examines the acquisition strategies of the five major U.S. platforms—Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft—since their inception. We discuss the main merger and acquisition theories of harm and how these operate differently than in the past. To address M&A concerns of multi-sided platforms, we develop four proposals that incorporate (1) a new ex-ante regulatory framework, (2) an update of the conditions under which the notification of mergers should be compulsory and the burden of proof should be reversed, (3) differential regulatory priorities in investigating horizontal versus vertical acquisitions, and (4) an update of competition enforcement tools to increase visibility into market data and trends.

Geoffrey Parker is a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College and serves as Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program. He is also a research fellow at MIT’s Initiative for the Digital Economy where he leads platform industry research studies and co-chairs the annual MIT Platform Strategy Summit. He received a B.S.E. from Princeton and M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT. Parker has made significant contributions to the field of network economics and strategy as co-developer of the theory of “two-sided” markets. He is co-author of the book “Platform Revolution,” published in ten languages. Parker won the Thinkers50 2019 Digital Thinking Award, along with Marshall Van Alstyne, for the concepts of the inverted firm, two-sided markets, and how firms can adapt and thrive in a platform economy. In Spring 2020, he was elected as a Fellow of the Production and Operations Management Society. In Fall 2020 he joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Advanced Manufacturing and Production. He also joined an expert panel of the European Commission to provide commentary and feedback on the proposed EU Digital Markets Act. Parker is a frequent keynote speaker and advises senior leaders on their organizations’ platform strategies. Speaking engagements are handled by the Stern Strategy Group.

26 August 2021

Luis Aguiar

Playlisting Favorites: Measuring Platform Bias in the Music Industry

Abstract: Platforms are growing increasingly powerful, raising questions about whether their power might be exercised with bias. While bias is inherently difficult to measure, we identify a context within the music industry that is amenable to bias testing. Our approach requires ex ante platform assessments of commercial promise – such as the rank order in which products are presented – along with information on eventual product success. A platform is biased against a product type if the type attains greater success, conditional on ex ante assessment.  Theoretical considerations and voiced industry concerns suggest the possibility of platform biases in favor of major record labels, and industry participants also point to bias against women. Using data on Spotify curators’ rank of songs on New Music Friday playlists in 2017, we find that Spotify’s New Music Friday rankings favor independent-label music, along with some evidence of bias in favor of music by women. Despite challenges that independent-label artists and women face in the music industry, Spotify’s New Music curation appears to favor them.

Luis Aguiar is Assistant Professor in the Management of Digital Transformation in the Department of Business Administration at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He holds a PhD in Economics from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, an MSc in Economics, Finance and Management from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, and a Masters’ Degree in Economics from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to his appointment at the University of Zurich he was a Research Fellow in the Digital Economy Unit at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center in Seville, Spain.
His research focuses on the economics of digitization and online markets. His work relies on various econometric methods to analyze the effects of technological change on firms, consumers, markets, and welfare, with a particular focus on digital media products. His research has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Political Economy, Information Systems Research, the Journal of Industrial Economics, and the International Journal of Industrial Organization. His research has also been covered by various news outlets, including The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and Billboard Magazine. He is currently serving as a co-editor for Information Economics and Policy.

19 August 2021

Savvas Zannettou

Data-Driven Approaches to Understanding Hateful Content and Moderation Interventions on the Web

Abstract: The Web has revolutionized the way people receive, consume, and interact with information. At the same time, unfortunately, the Web offers a fertile ground for amplifying socio-technical issues like the spread of hateful content and false information; hence there is a pressing need to develop techniques and tools to understand, detect, and mitigate these issues on the Web. In this talk, I will present our data-driven quantitative approach towards understanding such emerging socio-technical problems, focusing on the spread of hateful content targeting specific demographic groups. Also, I will present our work on understanding mitigation strategies employed by social networks (i.e., moderation interventions) and assessing their effectiveness towards reducing the prevalence and impact of these issues on the Web.

Savvas Zannettou is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Max Planck Institute for Informatics (MPI-INF), working under the guidance of Prof. Anja Feldmann and Prof. Krishna Gummadi. He is also a core member of the International Data-driven Research for Advanced Modeling and Analysis Lab (iDrama Lab). His research focuses on applying machine learning and data-driven quantitative analysis to understand emerging phenomena on the Web, such as the spread of false information and hateful rhetorics. His research has been published at top-tier conferences such as ICWSM and ACM IMC. He and his co-authors have received best/distinguished paper awards at ACM IMC 2018 and CyberSafety 2019.

Disclaimer: This talk presents research on topics related to hateful content. It thus contains uncensored and offensive content. We, and the presenter, believe that addressing these issues requires confronting them head on; it is not pretty, but neither are the issues at hand.
12 August 2021

Herbert Hovenkamp

Antitrust Welfare and Remedies for Platform Monopoly

Abstract: The goal of the antitrust laws should be to manage firm conduct and structure in a way that encourages maximum sustainable market output.  Neoliberals, and Robert Bork in particular, did antitrust a considerable disservice by pushing for lower output solutions in the name of something that they misnamed “consumer welfare.”  In fact, the antitrust-welfare enforcement curve is an inverted U, with both overderrent and underdeterrent rules leading to lower output, although for different reasons.
Digital platforms, even the large ones, are not winner take all markets; they need exclusionary practices in order to maintain dominance.  As a result, properly tailored injunctions are often a promising way to control competition without interfering unreasonably with efficient operations.  Another promising way is compelled interoperability, which can serve to extend positive network effects over a wider range and thus benefit rather than harm consumers and the other constituents who are affected by their behavior.

Herbert Hovenkamp is the James G. Dinan University Professor, Penn Law and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2008 received the Justice Department’s John Sherman Award for lifetime contributions to antitrust law.  His principal antitrust scholarship includes Antitrust Law (with the late Phillip E. Areeda and the late Donald F. Turner, 1978-2021); and Federal Antitrust Policy: the Law of Competition and its Practice (6th ed. 2020).   His legal history writing includes The Opening of American Law, 1870-1970 (Oxford, 2015); Enterprise and American Law, 1836-1937 (Harvard, 1991).  For an expanded version of his views on antitrust policy and digital platforms, see Antitrust and Platform Monopoly, 130 Yale L.J. 1952 (2021).

20 May 2021

Moritz Hennemann

The Data Governance Act – The Legal Perspective

Abstract: The proposal of the Data Governance Act is part of a broader EU policy initiative with respect to data regulation. As consequence of its data strategy, the EU has presented different regulative proposals. In this talk, the Data Governance Act shall be evaluated from a legal perspective.

Moritz Hennemann is a University Professor at the University of Passau Law Faculty, Germany, holding the Chair for European and International Information and Data Law. He is also the Director of the Research Center for the Law of Digitization at Passau Law Faculty. His research focuses mainly on the data-driven economy and its legal framework – especially with respect to Contract Law, Data (Protection) Law, Anti-Trust Law, and Media Law as well as Comparative Law. In Fall Term 2018, Moritz Hennemann was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. Before coming to Passau, he has conducted his research as a Post Doc at University of Freiburg Law Faculty.

6 May 2021

Valerie Reif and Nicolò Rossetto

The energy sector in the digital age: new transactions and governance needs

Abstract: Digitalisation enormously increases the availability and usability of data in the energy system. By lowering transaction costs, digitalisation enables the coordination, based on market signals, of a growing number of energy assets connected to distribution grids like rooftop PV panels, batteries and heat pumps. Next to the traditional business-to-business transactions at the wholesale level (B2B) and to the likewise traditional business-to-consumer transactions at the retail level (B2C), new exchanges consumer-to-consumer (C2C) become possible. Thanks to digitalisation, individuals, small and medium-sized non-energy enterprises and other organisations can trade their surplus energy or activate demand response to provide flexibility to their peers or the energy system.
These new transactive energy models can take several forms and have important implications for energy regulation and policy. The European climate goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, for instance, relies on the efficient and effective coordination of millions of devices across energy vectors and end-uses: C2C transactions can be a way to achieve such coordination and the following energy system integration.
Automated data exchange and interoperability are necessary to unleash the full potential of these disruptive models. However, appropriate governance for interoperability must be in place to deal with the fragmented ICT landscape in the energy sector and the lack of a customer-centric approach by traditional market players.
In this Plamadiso Talk, Nicolò Rossetto presents some of the forms in which new C2C transactions in the energy system can be organised. Later, Valerie Reif discusses the governance challenges raised by the need to secure a seamless exchange and interoperability of energy data.

Valerie Reif is a Research Associate in electricity regulation at the Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute in Italy. Her main research interests are energy data exchange, interoperability, and the EU Electricity Network Codes. She is involved in two H2020 research projects on TSO-DSO-consumer coordination (INTERRFACE, OneNet). Before joining FSR in September 2018, Valerie worked at the Technology Platform Smart Grids Austria. Valerie holds both a BSc and an MSc degree in Renewable Energy Engineering and a BA in European Studies.

Nicolò Rossetto is a Research Associate in electricity regulation at the Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute in Italy. His main research interests are the digitalisation of energy, energy communities, peer-to-peer energy trading, and the integration of renewables in the electricity sector. Before joining FSR in September 2016, Nicolò was an external advisor to the World Bank, founding member of the Energy Watch at ISPI (Milan) and teaching assistant at the University of Pavia (Italy). Graduated first in Political Science and then in International Economics, Politics and Institutions, Nicolò holds a PhD in Law and Economics.

25 Mar 2021

Sophia Gaenssle

Attention Economics of Instagram Stars: #Instafame and Sex Sells?

Abstract: Popular content providers on social media, so-called influencers, represent a novel star-type of the digital era. In contrast to stars of traditional media, they build their (rapidly growing) audiences within the system of social media platforms. This star-type creates stardom with uploads on social media pages like YouTube, TikTok or Instagram. One of the most popular platforms, especially designed to upload picture contents, is the service “Instagram” owned by Facebook. The growing social, cultural and economic power of this star phenomenon raises the question: What are key drivers of Instagram success? This paper empirically analyses 500 top Instagram stars within the categories (1) fashion and beauty, (2) fitness and sports, (3) music, (4) photo and arts, (5) food and vegan. The unbalanced panel data set consists of 100 stars within each category over an observation period of five months. The data (retrieved from Heepsy.com) provides information on popularity measurements, such as subscribers, likes and comments, and most importantly, price estimates per post. Since influencers are not paid by the platform, but mainly by advertisers for promotion of their products, the estimated price per upload is a valid proxy for income and economic success. Therefore, by the means of panel regression estimations, I can statistically analyse the influence of popularity factors and upload behaviour on income. Next to various control variables, I add a variable for body exposure, measuring the degree of nudity on the account. Combined with information on both (i) sex of the account and (ii) sex of the main target group, this gives interesting insights into consumption behaviour and preferences of social media users. The results reflect theoretical assumptions of attention economics and (sustainable) audience building; Instagram stars can strategically influence their success by specific upload behaviour.

Sophia Gaenssle (M.Sc.) is a junior researcher at the chair of Economic Theory at the Ilmenau University of Technology. She specialises in media and cultural economics, with particular emphasis on industrial organisation and digital markets.
https://www.tu-ilmenau.de/en/wth/team/sophia-gaenssle-msc/

11 Feb 2021

Fabian Stephany

When Does it Pay Off to Learn a New Skill? Revealing the Complementary Benefits of Cross-Skilling

Abstract of the corresponding working paper (https://arxiv.org/abs/2010.11841): This work examines the economic benefits of learning a new skill from a different domain: cross-skilling. To assess this, a network of skills from the job profiles of 14,790 online freelancers is constructed. Based on this skill network, relationships between 3,480 different skills are revealed and marginal effects of learning a new skill can be calculated via workers’ wages. The results indicate that learning in-demand skills, such as popular programming languages, is beneficial in general, and that diverse skill sets tend to be profitable, too. However, the economic benefit of a new skill is individual, as it complements the existing skill bundle of each worker. As technological and social transformation is reshuffling jobs’ task profiles at a fast pace, the findings of this study help to clarify skill sets required for designing individual re-skilling pathways. This can help to increase employability and reduce labour market shortages.

Fabian Stephany is a Researcher in Computational Social Science at the OII, University of Oxford, a Research Affiliate at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin and a Research Fellow at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital in Vienna. Fabian is interested in the application of computational social science in fields like digital skills, migration, innovation, and e-governance. With the iLabour project at the OII, he studies the global dynamics of Online Labour Markets. Fabian holds a PhD and degrees in Economics and Social Sciences from different European institutions, including Universitá Bocconi Milan and University of Cambridge. As an Economist and Senior Data Scientist, Fabian has been working in the private sector and for various actors in the international policy landscape, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank or the OECD in Paris.
https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/fabian-stephany/

9 Dec 2020

Symposium on the Web and Internet Policy

In case you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Dr. Volker Stocker
(vstocker@inet.tu-berlin.de)
Prof. Georgios Smaragdakis (georgios.smaragdakis@tu-berlin.de)

The Speakers

Lilian Edwards (Newcastle University)
Nikos Laoutaris
(IMDEA Networks)

Krishna Gummadi (Max Planck Institute for Software Systems)
William Lehr (MIT)
David D. Clark (MIT)
Scott Marcus (Bruegel)
Christopher Yoo (U Penn)

3 Dec 2020

"Policy choices can help keep universal broadband targets affordable: A spatial model of 4G and 5G rollout in developing countries"

Abstract: In recognition of the transformative opportunities that broadband connectivity presents, the United Nations Broadband Commission has committed the international community to accelerate universal access across the developing world. However, the cost of meeting this objective, and the feasibility of doing so on a commercially viable basis, are not well understood. This paper compares the global cost-effectiveness of different infrastructure strategies for the developing world to achieve universal 4G or 5G mobile broadband. Utilizing remote sensing and geospatial infrastructure simulation, least-cost network designs are developed for eight representative low and middle-income countries (Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Pakistan, Albania, Peru and Mexico), the results from which form the basis for aggregation to the global level. To provide at least 2 Mbps per user, 4G is often the cheapest option, whereas a minimum 10 Mbps per user is cheapest with 5G non-standalone (NSA). The cost of meeting the UN Broadband Commission target of a minimum 10 Mbps per user is estimated at $1.4 trillion using 5G NSA, equating to approximately 0.5% of annual GDP for the developing world over the next decade. However, by creating a favorable regulatory environment governments can bring down these costs by as much as three quarters – to $0.5 trillion (approximately 0.2% of annual GDP) – and avoid the need for public subsidy. Providing governments make judicious technology choices, while adopting fiscal and regulatory regimes conducive to lowering costs, broadband universal service may be within reach of most developing countries over the next decade. 

Edward Oughton (https://science.gmu.edu/directory/edw…) is known for developing decision-support models of digital infrastructure, having carried out 5G assessments for countries around the world. His work provides evidence on effective strategies to connect more people to a faster internet. Such information is vital for ensuring sustainable economic development as most new technologies require internet connectivity. The open-source 5G assessment software he has developed has been used to support national and international policy decisions.

25 Nov 2020

"The Lockdown Effect: Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Internet Traffic”

Georgios Smaragdakis is a Professor with Technical University (TU) Berlin, heading the Chair of Internet Measurement and Analysis. He is also a research affiliate with Max Planck Institute for Informatics and a research collaborator with Akamai Technologies.
In the talk, he will present a recently published paper that appeared at ACM Internet Measurement Conference (https://conferences.sigcomm.org/imc/2020/) in which the authors examine the effect of the lockdowns on traffic shifts, by collecting and analyzing network data from a diverse set of vantage points (one ISP, three IXPs, and one metropolitan educational network).

Abstract of the corresponding paper: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments imposed lock- downs that forced hundreds of millions of citizens to stay at home. The implementation of confinement measures increased Internet traffic demands of residential users, in particular, for remote working, entertainment, commerce, and education, which, as a result, caused traffic shifts in the Internet core. In this paper, using data from a diverse set of vantage points (one ISP, three IXPs, and one metropolitan educational network), we examine the effect of these lockdowns on traffic shifts. We find that the traffic volume increased by 15-20% almost within a week while overall still modest, this constitutes a large increase within this short time period. However, despite this surge, we observe that the Internet infrastructure is able to handle the new volume, as most traffic shifts occur outside of traditional peak hours. When looking directly at the traffic sources, it turns out that, while hypergiants still contribute a significant fraction of traffic, we see (1) a higher increase in traffic of non-hypergiants, and (2) traffic increases in applications that people use when at home, such as Web conferenc- ing, VPN, and gaming. While many networks see increased traffic demands, in particular, those providing services to residential users, academic networks experience major overall decreases. Yet, in these networks, we can observe substantial increases when considering applications associated to remote working and lecturing.

11 Nov 2020

"Communication behaviour in Germany"

Serpil Taş is a Senior Economist at the Wissenschaftliches Institut für Infrastruktur und Kommunikationsdienste (WIK). For more information about her research focus please visit her website at the WIK: 
https://www.wik.org/en/wik/who-is-who/ta

29 Oct 2020

"Explaining Explanations in AI"

Leilani H. Gilpin is a PhD. candidate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in CSAIL. Her research focuses on the theories and methodologies towards monitoring, designing, and augmenting machines that can explain themselves for diagnosis, accountability, and liability.
http://people.csail.mit.edu/lgilpin/

16 Oct 2020

Weizenbaum Symposium: "New Perspectives on the Digital Economy - Sharing, Gigs, and Platforms"​

The one-day symposium will provide a novel venue for researchers across fields (e.g., economics, sociology, information systems, law, communication) to present their work on the digital economy and debate a wide array of issues in an international research environment.

https://www.weizenbaum-institut.de/events/weizenbaum-symposium/

The Speakers

Arto Lanamäki (University of Vaasa and Tallinn University)
Grant Blank (Oxford Internet Institute)
Jason Whalley (Northumbria University)
Anton Fedosov (University of Zurich)
Niels van Doorn (University of Amsterdam)
Gemma Newlands (University of Amsterdam and BI Norwegian Business School)
Mareike Möhlmann (Bentley University)
Bettina Berendt (Weizenbaum-Institute/TU Berlin/KU Leuven)
Aaron Kolleck (Weizenbaum-Institute/TU Berlin)
Heli Koski (Etla/Aalto University)
Sofia Ranchordas (University of Groningen)
Justus Haucap (DICE/HHU Düsseldorf)

22 Sep 2020

Weizenbaum Colloquium: "An Ex-post Assessment of the Economic Benefits of High-Speed Broadband Coverage and Adoption: First Evidence from OECD Member States" by Dr. Wolfgang Briglauer

A broad-scale roll-out of new high-speed broadband infrastructure based on fiber-optical transmission technology is expected to generate innovative broadband services for consumers and to bring enormous potential for productivity increases and economic growth for the overall economy. In order to reach specified broadband targets regarding broadband coverage and service adoption and due to high expectations regarding future benefits of fiber-based broadband infrastructure, many local and national governments have already provided billions of Euros for public funding measures. However, there is hardly any evidence available on the causal impact of fiber-based broadband coverage on the supply side and adoption of services on the demand side on relevant economic outcome variables. Moreover, there is no study available so far that simultaneously considers the impact of fiber-based broadband coverage and adoption on economic performance using detailed data on fiber-based high-speed broadband connections. Both effects are, however, of crucial relevance in view of the dual broadband targets at national and supra-national level and related supply- and demand-side public policies.

In order to investigate these issues empirically, we employ comprehensive panel data for 34 OECD countries for the years from 2003-2018 and panel fixed effects and instrumental variables estimation techniques. In order to endogenize the investment and adoption decision, we define micro-models of both investment and adoption of fiber-based broadband to account for potential simultaneity underlying broadband investment and adoption on the one hand and GDP on the other hand.

https://www.zew.de/team/wbg

9 Jul 2020

"Data Portability in Digital Markets: Economic Implications and Policy Recommendations"

Jan Krämer is a Professor for Information Systems at the University of Passau, Germany, where he holds the Chair for Internet & Telecommunications Business and is the director of the Passau International Centre for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies. He is also the Joint Academic Director at the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), a Brussels-based think tank.
In his talk, Jan Krämer will present a current view on the legal, technical and economic state of the discussion on personal data portability in the context of the digital economy. First, He will briefly lay out the legal framework for data portability in the EU, and highlight some ongoing technical projects in this domain. He will then focus mainly on the economic implications and economic research in this area with a particular emphasis on the role of Personal Information Management Systems (PIMS). He will conclude with some policy recommendation to make personal data portability more effective in the context of the digital economy.
https://www.ibusiness.uni-passau.de/lehrstuhlteam/lehrstuhlinhaber/

10 Dec 2019

"Should everyone have access to broadband? Universal service in the United Kingdom" by Jason Whalley (Northumbria University)

Should everyone have access to broadband? With the growth of the digital economy, with its widespread socio-economic benefits, strong and persuasive arguments can be made for ensuring that everyone has access to broadband. But in many countries digital divides exist that limit who is able to go online and the benefits that can be achieved. While these digital divides are multi-faceted, if an individual or business is going to be online, they first of all need a connection. With the liberalisation of telecommunications markets, tensions around the provision of broadband in areas unattractive to commercial deployment have been heightened. Some of these areas may be too costly, due to their remoteness or low population densities, while other areas may be perceived as lacking demand.

 Within the UK, variations in broadband infrastructure, coupled with its (perceived) slowness when it is available, were reflected in vocal campaigns and political interest. Those who did not have broadband wanted it, while those who had it wanted better quality connections. After much deliberation and posturing by political parties, the response in the UK has been to embark on a regulatory initiative: universal service. In essence, this specifies a basic level of service that anyone regardless of location should have access to. In this talk, the focus is on the evolution of this initiative, highlighting the challenges and tensions faced within the context of a dynamic market. The challenges of specifying an appropriate level of basic service will be illustrated, as will difficulties of determining who will pay for universal service. The talk draws on an ongoing body of work investigating the provision of broadband networks.
https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-staff/w/jason-whalley/

28 Nov 2019

"New Paradigms for the Internet" by Robert Frankstone (IEEE CTSoc)

In his talk, Bob will question and challenge both conventional wisdom as well as the prevailing mental model of the Internet. In doing so, he will describe his vision of a national packet network. Moreover, he will provide us with some background information about the history of networking and the Internet and some anecdotes of his encounters with Joseph Weizenbaum during his time at MIT.
15 Oct 2019

"Communications Policy Regulatory Reform for a Post-PSTN World" by William Lehr (MIT)

We are currently in the midst of a global transformation to a Digital Economy, yet National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. and similar agencies in other countries are still operating under legacy telecommunications policies set in place to manage the Public Switched Telecommunications Network (PSTN). There is general agreement that new frameworks are needed to manage communications policy in the era of IP-based broadband access platforms and the Internet. 

In a series of papers over recent years, Dr. Lehr has worked with colleagues to highlight the challenges confronting regulatory reform efforts and worked toward proposals for what a appropriate communications policy for the new Digital Economy might look like. This is very much a work in progress.
http://people.csail.mit.edu/wlehr/

11 Sep 2019

"Internet of Things and the economics of operator platforms for smart networks" by Günter Knieps

Online platforms providing intermediation services (e.g. Amazon, eBay) are to be differentiated from operator platforms organizing the new innovative markets for intelligent network services. Of particular relevancy is the differentiation between the physical side of operator platforms as coordinators, aggregators and organizers of physical network services and its complementary virtual side based on real-time, adaptive and location-sensitive (big )data processing and transmission. Disruption of traditional network industries with the evolution towards smart network industries is concomitant with the emergence of innovative operator platforms providing a variety of innovative network services.
Challenging governance problems of contractual relationships among different actors arise. The problem solution competence of operator platforms (two-sided, multi-sided) is the entrepreneurial search for the required governance structures. The problem of division of labor between all-IP broadband network providers, virtual network service providers and platform operators arises concomitant with the implementation of adequate governance structures.
https://portal.uni-freiburg.de/vw/mitarbeiter-en/mitarb-profknieps-en?set_language=en

2 Jul 2019

"The economics of infrastructure sharing in 5G networks" by Professor Zoraida Frías (UPM)

Unlike previous mobile technologies, 5G has been designed to enable a general-purpose digital platform that can serve different vertical industries, such as healthcare, energy, or automotive. This idea implies a new sharing paradigm for network resources, deviating from the approach taken so far. Previous generations have served with limited success the connectivity needs of these industries with a simple reason: the requirement on dedicated infrastructure has made extremely difficult building a business case, since the network that would be deployed for each of the verticals would be unoccupied most of the time.

What makes 5G technologically and economically different is the approach towards an increased degree of network resource sharing through two key underlying technologies: Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networks (SDN). These technologies will deliver smart, flexible, and scalable networks that can be used – and priced – on demand. In her talk, Zoraida Frías will examine the ramifications of this flexibility to expediting digital transformation through new business models where 5G networks can be provided “as a service”.
https://zoraidafrias.com/