Network of Excellence in Internet Science

The alternative Internet(s) - state of the art and the possible future

Internet Messenger, Dr. Avishai Teicher Pikiwiki Israel

The Internet has been conceived as a distributed, decentralized and self-organized network. However, it is slowly being transformed to a highly centralized system dominated by the services offered by big corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo !, and surveilled by national agencies like NSA. This evolution has important implications for both civil liberties (privacy, security, freedom of expression) and economic freedoms (concentration, walled gardens, unbalanced terms of use).

Several research and activist groups and projects worldwide try to avoid dependencies at different layers and design proposals of an alternative Internet, which would rely on distributed architectures, from infrastructures to services and applications. Building on history and the current state-of-the-art, we aim to foster an open discussion between practitioners and scholars of various disciplines in order to assess the techno-legal feasibility of alternative Internets, understand their design requirements and social implications, and suggest possible ways for an improved network governance, that would enable a wide diversity of options in order to avoid the concentration of power and single points of failure. The workshop will explore the techno-politics, architecture frameworks, governance and socio-cultural implications of alternative internet projects. Participants are asked for short position papers (1-3 pages), to be eventually assembled by the organizers into a working paper or/and a policy recommendations paper.

For more information about this event, visit the event website

Practical information

The full programme will follow. The workshop will take place on Monday 15 September afternoon and Tuesday 16 September all day.

15-16 September 2014

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Department of Media and Communications, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE

The workshop is supported by the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) Interdisciplinary Programme on Communication Sciences and part of the project Alternet on Alternative architectures of the internet : risks of network (de)centralisation.

Draft agenda

Monday 15th LSE,Room OLD 3.21, Old Building, Houghton Street

4-6pm Unconference, collective work on the paper

6-7pm Pub on LSE Campus (at your own cost), Ye Old White Horse, Portugal Street

7:15pm Dinner

Please let us know by Monday 8th if you wish to have dinner with us in a restaurant around LSE (costs covered by the project)

Tuesday 16th LSE, Room NAB 1.07 from 10:00 to 18:00, New Academic Building, Lincoln’s Inn Fields

10:00-10:15 Introduction by the organizers (for each of the following topics we could have 1 or 2 seed talks of 5-10min, and 5-6 statements of 1-2min)

10:15-10:45 Topic A : Lessons from the past

10:45-11:15 Topic B : Tensions

11:15-11:30 Coffee break

11:30-12:00 Topic C : Joining forces

12:00-12:30 Topic D : Future steps

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-14:30 Discussion

14:30-16:00 Smaller group work on topics identified during the discussion

16:00-16:15 Coffee break

16:15-17:00 Round tables with 3-5 people reporting on behalf of groups and 1 moderator

17:00-18:00 Synthesis: 
Towards a working paper + 
Possible opportunities for future work, networking, events

EINS members involved

Alison Powell, London School of Economics

Panayotis Antoniadis, ETH Zurich