IGF 2022 Launch / Award Event #45 Digital Data: Polycentric Governance Perspectives

Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (06:00 UTC) - Tuesday, 29th November, 2022 (07:00 UTC)

Centre for Global Cooperation Research GCR21
Carolina Aguerre, CETYS, Universidad de San Andres (Argentina) / GCR21, Universität Duisburg Essen (Germany), Civil Society. GRULAC. Malcolm Campbell Verduyn, University of Groningen (The Netherlands) / GCR21, Universität Duisburg Essen (Germany), Civil Society. WEOG. Jan Aart Scholte, Leiden University (The Netherlands) / GCR21, Universität Duisburg Essen (Germany), Civil Society. WEOG Alison Gillwald, Research ICT Africa (South Africa), Civil Society. AFRICA


Jan Aart Scholte, Leiden University (The Netherlands) / GCR21, Universität Duisburg Essen (Germany), Civil Society. WEOG Wenlong Li, Independent Researcher, Civil Society, Asia Pacific; Clara Iglesias Keller, WZB, Civil Society, WEOG Bruna Martins, WZB, Civil Society, WEOG and MAG Member, GRULAC Dmitry Epstein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Civil Society, WEOG, Rotem Medzini Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn, University of Groningen (The Netherlands) WEOG, Carolina Aguerre, Universidad Catolica del Uruguay, GRULAC.

Onsite Moderator

Alison Gillwald

Online Moderator

Carolina Aguerre


Malcolm Campbell -Verduyn



Targets: 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels Polycentric perspectives of digital data governance covered in this book address the challenges facing effective, accountable and transparent institutions for this issue. Some chapters discuss practices and regulatory initiatives (from implementation of data protection to the banning of certain applications), while others discuss the problematic cross-border dimension of data and the adequacy (or lack thereof) of the current institutional arrangements. 16.7 Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels Datafication and the expansion of digital data and related technologies, including the Internet, the Internet of Things, AI and blockchain are re-shaping institutions and sectors, from finance to the news media, that are reflected in this volume. Without an understanding of of the multiple and fluid arrangements around data governance there is less decision-making capacity. 16.8 Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance How data is controlled, governed and what are the claims from marginalized communities and societies from developing countries is addressed in some chapters of the volume. Data governance is not a uniform process and understanding these differences allows for a greater participation in global institutions.



Duration (minutes)

This session is titled as the book to be launched Digital Data: Polycentric Governance Perspectives (co edited by Carolina Aguerre, Malcolm Campbell Verduyn and Jan Aart Scholte) published by Routledge Global Cooperation Series in Open Access. It addresses squarely the issue area of data governance and privacy as it relates to existing data governance frameworks in different sectors and sub issue areas within this theme. The volume examines how digital data are governed. The literature to date understands data and governance very differently across academic and policy fields, including in the scholarship and policy surrounding Internet governance. No book has yet linked together in productive conversation the varying approaches to data governance. Polycentrism, this book shows, provides a set of perspectives for understanding the growing variety of actors, issue areas and processes at the subnational, national, regional and global levels that are crucial to cooperation in digital data governance. The book harnesses polycentric perspectives on data governance to generate novel understandings of perspectives, controversies and technologies related to global digital data governance. Among the many issues concerning data governance, different chapters in this book touch upon IXPs and data governance; privacy and human rights in light of publicly available user data on the web as is the case of Clearview AI; how to approach the regulation of cross border data flows; the possibilities of regulating disinformation; data governance and marginalized communities in the Global South; datafication, datascapes and the SDGs; data governance and the blockchain, among others. A summary of the introduction is provided in the link here. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EHIxyxnH8nAop5hrV2dTo5X5huMKqJ7a/ed…

The session will involve a dynamic presentation from online and onsite speakers that have contributed a chapter in the book and that are able to participate in the session. The proposed format is a stimulating introductory first part chaired by Alison Gillwald, onsite moderator and the three volume co-editors, one of them which will be present at the venue Jan Aart Scholte. This first part of the session will involve 30 minutes where five chapter contributors will present their work (two of them from the venue, three remotely). The remaining part of the session  will be devoted to a dialogue and exchange among authors and the audience. The moderators will first open a round of questions and comments from the online and onsite audiences and then leave space for authors to pose in turn their own comments. The last 5 minutes will be devoted to wrap up by Jan Aart Scholte, one of the co-editors onsite and the two moderators (online and onsite).

Key Takeaways (* deadline 2 hours after session)

The session promoted a discussion on the role of polycentric perspectives to address the challenges of digital data governance. Digital data has not one single approach or governance mechanism. Different examples emerging from data use in the Internet space were discussed. Particularly salient were the comments on polycentricity and the role it plays in understanding current debates on Internet fragmentation.

Call to Action (* deadline 2 hours after session)

The complexity of arrangements and understanding of how digital data is understood has governance implications with effects on the Internet and its governance more broadly.

Session Report (* deadline 26 October) - click on the ? symbol for instructions

Global Digital Data Governance: Polycentric Perspectives result from the Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen on the work on the policy field of internet governance. The book edited by Routledge in open access at the beginning of 2023 features eleven chapters on different issues concerning global digital data in different regions. 

In spite of the early hour, the room was full with 80 participants, plus a further audience online. The Centre’s Co-Director, Jan Aart Scholte, was onsite in Addis Ababa to open and close the discussion. Volume co-editors Carolina Aguerre and Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn added introductory remarks as remote participants. Four chapters from the book were also presented: by Wenlong Li; Dmitry Epstein and Rotem Medzini; Bruna Martins dos Santos; and Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn. Alison Gillwald, Executive Director of Research ICT Africa, most ably chaired the proceedings. Lively discussion continued informally well after the official event finished.