Freedom of Expression and Content Regulation
A considerable part of my research agenda in the past decade has been focussed on freedom of expression and online content regulation. This fascination started with the focus of my doctoral thesis at the European University Institute in Florence, which was published as a book on Governing Internet Expression with Springer. I was analysing the Politics of Internet Filtering and how states govern Internet Expression, which led me to a wider interest in how dominant internet platforms shape what can be said online.
More recently, my interest in this research has led me to study in detail what content moderation looks like in practice on several large online platforms. Some of the results will be published at the ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT* 2020), with further publications forthcoming soon.
Accountable Socio-Technical Systems
A wider theme across all of my research is on how systems can be made more accountable, towards their users, those affected by them and the general public. I have presented and published quite a bit on this topic, with much more forthcoming in the next months and years. In particular on the tension between liability and actual human control and how this remains a key challenge for accountability in socio-technical systems.
At the same time I have to come realise that there is a considerable degree of community building needed around accountability in socio-technical systems. To remedy this, I have organised a series of workshops at the Complexity Science Hub, the Alan Turing Institute, and ECIS 2019 on ways to better develop accountable systems.
Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms and Automation
I have been working on automation, algorithms and artificial intelligence for some time, with a particular focus on regulatory and ethical aspects of these technologies. While there is a clear need for a greater understanding of the ethical tensions in algorithmic systems, ethical debates can also easily be used as a way to evade regulation. Another evident consequence is a need for human-rights based approaches to algorithms. My research on this topic also led me to draft the first policy paper of this kind for the Council of Europe.
Human Rights and Technology
I believe that there is a considerable lack of scholarship studying technology and human rights. As a result, I edited a Research Handbook on Human Rights & Digital Technology with Matthias Kettemann and Kilian Vieth that was published with Edward Elgar in 2019.
This has also been a core part of my interest in what remain significantly understudied areas like Internet shutdowns, the massive use of and trade in surveillance technologies, which are shaping the development of the wider media environment for citizens and civil society alike.