Conference 2018
 
Theme for 2018:
Internet in World Regions: Digital Freedoms and Citizen Empowerment
With time, Internet has become a natural communicative space in many regions of the world, while in others it still passes through the first stages of penetration into citizenry and policing. As a discussion milieu, Internet has been both praised for its involvement potential, growth of local initiatives, and provision of voice to those disempowered - and also criticized for excessive deregulation, dark web formation, and inefficiency in bringing on public consensus. Today, universality of approaches to Internet freedoms, as well as of experiences of their empowerment impact, is questioned and needs reassessment.

This year, the Internet Science conference focuses on the Internet as a tool and space for (dis)empowerment of individuals and social groups in local and regional contexts, thus forming a comparative perspective in looking at the power of Internet in communities all around the world. For instance, the EU has been attentive to cultivating local online initiatives, but even within the EU, the speed of modernization differs from state to state, with Estonia being a global leader in e-governance. In the post-Soviet space, countries have adopted highly varying policies in developing both digital freedoms and restrictive Internet regulation. The USA has had a more liberal approach to empowerment strategies but used online information to aggregate data for citizen, voter, and consumer profiling, while in China, economic logic has boosted online businesses within a non-competitive political environment. Also, Middle-Eastern, Latin American, or African perspectives on online freedoms and empowerment experiences remain heavily under-researched.

Moreover, digital technologies make us rethink what (dis)empowerment might mean beyond political life. Tech corporations like Google or Facebook have created new forms of labour expropriation bypassing national lawmaking, at the same time advocating for free access to information as public commodity and providing new chances for charity, education, and collaborative change. Cultural, educational, and even bodily divides re-emerge today on highly competitive digitech markets of connection, communication, monitoring, learning, and consumption, providing both new freedoms and new handicaps for the world societies. In the near future, being rich would mean having tech-prolonged and tech-enhanced life; new, more severe divides may form, and the question rises, how the Internet of today may contribute to harmonizing social relations in our future reliant on human-computer coexistence.
Conference tracks
INSCI'2018 welcomes submissions to a wide range of topics (not limited to) in the following six tracks:

Internet and Societal Structures
  • The concepts of citizen empowerment via Internet in local and regional contexts
  • Social stratification and inequalities of group representation online
  • Internet communities, social polarization, and dialogue potential
  • Socially harmful practices and content in online communication

Internet and Digital Politics
  • Online political freedoms in policing and in effect: regional and local perspectives
  • Citizen involvement into decision-making: platforms, actors, and experiences
  • Political discussions online: issues and groups behind them
  • E-governance practices of today's authorities
  • Internet regulation: security vs. openness

Internet and Free Communication Patterns

  • Freedom of speech online: a contested area of policing
  • Algorithms as new total communicative power
  • Extremist and radical talk online and policies against it
  • Universal Internet freedoms vs. dark web
  • Post-truth practices online

Internet and New Political Economy
  • Economic power of online platforms: expropriation of digital labour
  • Digital corporations: world leaders and regional alternatives
  • Analogous elites, technological precariat
  • Enhancement of body and the new poor
  • Digital professions and reshaping of online labour markets

Internet and Global Access Opportunities
  • Global and local faces of today's digital divide
  • Internet and life-long learning practices around the world
  • Global media online: translation and language divide
  • Empowerment of disabled with new body extensions
  • Post-human and tech-human individuals and societies

Internet and Data Protection
  • Data openness vs. user protection
  • Limits of privacy and anonymization
  • Clouds and data protection regulation
  • Global tech powers and alternative solutions
  • Blockchain technologies as promise and threat
Participation formats
The conference accepts submissions of full papers (up to 15 pages of standard Springer format) and short papers (up to 8 pages of standard Springer format). Panel submissions (up to 4 papers with a reduced price per paper) are also welcome.

The conference also welcomes half-day workshop and tutorial proposals. The themes for them should be oriented to discussing issues and developing skills important for Internet projects and Internet research. A 2-3-page paper describing the academic and/or industrial rationale for the workshop/tutorial may be included into the conference proceedings (subject to peer-review).

A range of workshops and tutorials will also be offered by the conference organizers, including the ones on webometrics and big textual data research.

Past conferences
Past INSCI conferences have been hosted by Brussels and Thessaloniki. You can find full information about the conferences on internetscienceconference.eu