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Voice over IP: Freedom of Expression in the Network Society

Monday, March 21, 2016, 9:00 am – 10:00 am

Our freedom to express in the digital network society is conditioned by, and interlinked with, digital and network censorship and surveillance, the right to privacy, and intellectual property rights regimes. New capabilities - for the state, the private sector, and users - and the rise of global networks as shared "democratic" platforms, enabled by Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), are transforming traditional modes of media production and consumption. In this talk, the speaker will use examples and research from the Global South to highlight challenges and tensions, areas of contestation, and areas of promise relating to free speech and expression.

Voice and agency are becoming functions of access, and are determined increasingly by the mass adoption of the "electronic media/service surround." The possibilities for free speech and assembly in new (digital) publics are shaped by varying modes and levels of connectivity to network infrastructures. The speaker will discuss this relationship between free speech and access, and how technological design and trends, class, culture, and policy, among other factors, can expand or limit free speech and expression.

Phet Sayo has investigated the impacts of the networked information society on human development in South and Southeast Asia for almost 20 years.

As a Senior Program Officer for the Networked Economies programme of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), he manages a portfolio that supports research projects/networks on digital rights, censorship, and surveillance, the right to privacy in the digital age, intellectual property rights, ICT innovations, and Internet governance.

Before joining IDRC's regional office in New Delhi, Phet worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Malaysia and Thailand. As an author and editor, he has contributed to numerous UN publications, including ICT Policies and e-Strategies in the Asia-Pacific: A Critical Assessment of the Way Forward, and Internet Governance: Asia-Pacific Perspectives.