Professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger
Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is the OII's Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation. His research focuses on the role of information in a networked economy.
Internet governance is an ill-defined term. Some have suggested that it refers to the governance of the core resources that enable the technical functioning of a global packet-switched data network, in particular addressing and routing. This view sees Internet governance as focused on the IP address system including the top root servers and the management of the domain name system. Others have suggested that Internet governance is much more comprehensive and includes all governance mechanisms, structures, and systems on the global Internet that regulate information flows. A significant part of the extant literature examines Internet governance descriptively and analytically, applying for instance theories of political science to the phenomenon under review. In this essay, I focus on the normative dimension of Internet governance, not on how Internet governance is or functions, but how it ought to be. And I do so by looking at functional tasks that from a normative point of view Internet governance ought to fulfill. It is in these normative areas of analyses that Internet governance overlaps, and perhaps comes to terms with, what in the domain of legal theory has been referred to as cyberlaw. My hope is thereby to offer a small contribution to the techno-theoretical conceptualization of online normativity – perhaps inspired by Podlech’s theory of process systems in data protection.
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This lecture will be followed by a short drinks reception.