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World-InfoCon Conference

World-InfoCon Conference
'The Network Society of Control'
6 and 7 December, 2002
De Balie, Centre for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam

The tidal wave of new security legislation that has followed the events of 11 September, 2001, have made a critical examination of information politics in the network society uncommonly urgent. Thus the World-InfoCon conference 'The Network Society of Control' that takes place on 6 and 7 December, 2002, at De Balie in Amsterdam will provide an international and interdisciplinary forum that discusses the latest developments in information law, policing and surveillance, and intellectual property rights in the digital domain.


Recently a variety of developments have jeopardized privacy and civil liberties. First of all, justified through security concerns following 9-11, police and enforcement authorities have been given extended powers, their budgets increased and new legislation been passed. Particularly in the field of electronic communications, their rights to intercept and record data have been strengthened while privacy concerns have not been taken seriously. Secondly intellectual property rights have been tightened by establishing new directives both in the US and the EU. Those restrict the free use of copyrighted works and thus hinder the free flow of information that has long been regarded one of the main characteristics of the Internet.

All those trends seem contrary to the open and exchange-based character of communication networks and raise concerns about security and surveillance. Yet although the tendencies towards an enforced control of digital environments is not just a recent development, after 9-11 it has gained a new meaning, because it exerts increasing pressure on the formerly sovereign domains of the individual; privacy and (informational) self-determination.


World-Info-Con brings together a wide variety of speakers and participants including international and well-known researchers, policy makers in the field of justice, economic and technology policy, representatives of social interest groups, intellectual property rights specialist, activists, journalists and cultural workers including Ben Bagdikian (US), Konrad Becker (AT), Andrew Bichlbaum (US), Steve Cisler (US), Darius Cuplinskas (HU), Bruce Girard, Volker Grassmuck (DE), Chris Hables Gray (US), Brian Holmes, Steve Kurtz (US), Eveline Lubbers (NL), Arun Metha (IN), Sheldon Rampton (US), Thorsten Schilling (DE), Ryan Schoelerman (US), Joost Smiers (NL), Felix Stalder (CH/CN) and Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm (NL) that will discuss issues of surveillance, security and freedom of networks.

‘Security Paranoia in the World-Info-Sphere’ (first day) will focus on the new forms of policing of the informational domains and some of the more hidden incentives behind the drive for info-security and provide a critical analysis of the mechanisms of public opinion management and disinformation strategies. The second day ’Building the Digital Commons’ is devoted to the control obsession over intellectual property and the new limitations imposed on digital information exchange.

Beyond those immediate and urgent questions of recent developments in legislation, surveillance and the implementation of information politics World-InfoCon also explores the more hidden social and cultural dimensions of these developments, which are essential to establishing the frameworks of future cultural production in the network society.


World-Information.Org is an initiative of Public Netbase/t0 and organized in cooperation with Waag Society / for old and new media, De Balie, Centre for Culture and Politics and Netherlands Media Art Institute, Montevideo/TBA.

World-Information.Org is realized with the financial support of The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology; Netherlands Culture Fund, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dutch Ministry for Education, Culture and Sciences; Mondriaan Foundation; Culture2000; VSB Fund and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

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