Algorithmic regulation and the global default: Shifting norms in Internet technology
Keywords:algorithms, governance, freedom of expression, technology & society, ethics of technology
The world we inhabit is surrounded by ‘coded objects’ from credit cards to airplanes to telephones (Kitchin and Dodge 2011). Sadly the governance mechanisms of many of these technologies are only poorly understood, leading to the common premise that such technologies are ‘neutral’ (Brey 2005; Winner 1980), thereby obscuring normative and power-related consequences of their design (Bauman et al. 2014; Denardis 2012). In order to unpack supposedly neutral technologies, the following paper will try and foreground two of key questions around the technologies used on the global Internet: 1) how are content regulatory regimes governed and 2) how are the algorithms embedded in software governed? The following paper will explore these two aspects in turn, before drawing conclusions on understanding the normative frameworks embedded in technological systems.
Article first published online: 22 MARCH 2016