NETWORK STANDARDS AND CULTURE

Elinor Carmi, Robert W. Gehl, John L. Sullivan, Dan Burk

Abstract


Media networks such as the Internet are complex assemblages that connect different kinds of humans and objects together, and involve multiple actors, materials, intentions and products. Standards are usually meant to make technical artefacts, protocols, features and infrastructures operate in an efficient and uniform way. In this way, standards become taken for granted, and the rules they structure are seen as the natural and only way to engage with media. But behind such norms lay political, ideological and cultural struggles of power between different interests group that range between individuals, private companies, governments, NGOs and legal entities. These multiple actors compete over a dominant position in the media industry and their ability to influence, control and shape the way that people use and understand media and communications. This panel seeks to unveil these invisible codes and the conflicts, incentives and politics that lead to their formation.

Specifically, the first paper examines the European Union's regulation of behaviours on the Internet, focusing on the construction of standards that allow for the distinctions between cookies and spam. The second paper takes on a similar object, but in the context of the United States, looking at the Digital Advertising Alliance's self-regulatory standards, which purportedly limit the online advertising industry's capacity to monitor Internet users. The third paper tackles the HTML5 standard for "Encrypted Media Extensions." Finally, the fourth paper considers the legal and technical questions of interoperability in smartphone platform and networking standards between the U.S and E.U..


Keywords


Standards, Networks, Regulation, Internet, Behaviours

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