• Rebooting NoC 2023!

    Rebooting NoC 2023!

    Rebooting process 2023

  • Global Perspectives and Local Realities: Essay Series Exploring Stories of COVID-19

    Global Perspectives and Local Realities: Essay Series Exploring Stories of COVID-19

    Exploring stories about COVID-19 in real time, creating a snapshot focused on the narratives emerging from local communities in order to paint a global picture. » more

  • Takeaways from a special discussion with Yves Dacccord, former Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross

    Takeaways from a special discussion with Yves Dacccord, former Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross

    On March 19, the NoC convened a special virtual session with Yves Dacccord to discuss the intersection of the Internet and society field with the crisis surrounding the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. » more


About the Network of Centers (NoC)

The NoC a collaborative initiative among academic institutions with a focus on interdisciplinary research on the development, social impact, policy implications, and legal issues concerning the Internet. This collective aims to increase interoperability between participating centers in order to stimulate the creation of new cross-national, cross-disciplinary conversation, debate, teaching, learning, and engagement regarding the most pressing questions around new technologies, social change, and related policy and regulatory developments.

Why the NoC was Created

A growing number of academic research institutions are focused on exploring a wide range of important issues concerning the future of the Internet and related technologies. Representing diverse disciplines, methodologies, and viewpoints, these institutions have sought to analyze and understand the growing impact of digital technologies on society and share those findings in such ways that serve the public interest. In the process, they grapple with a complex set of topics and issues of national, regional, and global importance, including policy, regulation and governance, human behavior and social impact, new markets and business models, intellectual property, privacy, and security, and many other issues. Acknowledging a lack of internationally coordinated research and engagement activities in the areas mentioned above, a group of academic centers launched the NoC in 2012, within an international Symposium on Internet-Driven Developments: Structural Changes and Tipping Points (SCTP), hosted by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

The NoC Secretariat

As a decentralized initiative, the NoC’s coordination periodically alternates among member Centers in the network and has included:

Guiding Principles

Upon joining the Network, participants commit to a set of Guiding Principles, including a set of core values such as openness, collaboration, and diversity. The Network operates independent from governments, political parties and economic interests and does not take formal positions on policy issues.


There are three main focus areas for 2020. We seek to (1) increase the analytical capabilities of the network through its individual nodes as well as cross-network collaboration, i.e. continue to build NoC as a “sensory” system for Internet & society issues across the globe; (2) augment educational capacity across Centers and continents, drawing from the model of  summer schools, fellows programs, and other educational activities across the NoC; and (3) offer practical guidance to policymakers through toolkits, playbooks, and other materials where NoC Centers work closely with governmental, private sector, and civil society stakeholders on problems they face translating values or principles into implementation, drawing inspiration from a new AI Policy Practice program launched by the Berkman Klein Center. 

The 2017-2018 roadmap addresses the challenges of a growing global network of academic institutions. In a highly connected world in which public and private choices are shaping every sphere of individual activity, researchers of Internet and society issues are becoming increasingly important to translate and map ahead the changes. One specific challenge addressed in the roadmap is to reflect on how academia can interact with other stakeholders. What are the objectives, the parameters and the expected outcomes of such interactions? In proposing a framework to deal with this question, the roadmap also indicates focus areas for cross-disciplinary research, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and internet blocking.

The 2015-2016 Roadmap outlines the strategy towards enabling actual exchange between Internet & Society researchers across the globe. In fact, in order to serve the public interest, studying Internet & Society topics calls for a deep analysis of ongoing trends of national, regional, and global importance, including policy, regulation and governance. Cross-disciplinary dialogues and, more in general, an advanced coordination of worldwide research endeavors on Internet & Society can help to neutrally inform global debates, so to achieve a clearer understanding of complex and distributed phenomena that pertain to the Internet, its impact, and its evolution.

The 2014 Roadmap outlines proposed next steps regarding the second phase of collaboration among the participants in the Network. It builds upon the first Symposium on “Internet­ Driven Developments: Structural Changes and Tipping Points” that took place at Harvard University from December 6­-8, 2012 and has been further developed in the subsequent regional Network conversations and meetings that took place in 2013. These include meetings hosted by ICT Law Institute at Bilgi University, Istanbul, by the Center for Technology & Society at FGV School of Law, Rio de Janeiro, and by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG), Berlin. The Network’s activities in 2014 will scale accordingly with the no ­longer nascent Network, ramping up to include hard research outputs and significant contributions in key policy debates.

The initial year and first phase of development was guided by the NoC's 2013 Roadmap, which outlined a range of enablers such as events, learning calls, or researcher exchanges within the Network. Again, this roadmap fed from the valuable feedback that came out of the Symposium on "Internet-Driven Developments: Structural Changes and Tipping Points" that took place at Harvard University on December 6-8, 2012.



Are you part of a Center interested in joining the NoC?

The NoC is an informal network of peers based on actual collaboration. The network is currently coordinated by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. The NoC encompasses two types of participants:

  • “Participating Centers”, i.e., academic research centers whose agenda is primarily focused on Internet & Society topics;
  • “Affiliated Participants”, i.e., other types of institutions, still with Internet & Society-related open threads, carried out, e.g., as non-academic research centers, policy-support entities, or think tanks.

For more information on how to join the NoC with your center, please reach out to contact@networkofcenters.net. Applications are periodically reviewed by the NoC Steering Committee.


There are many other ways to get involved with the NoC: research opportunities, courses, events, physical and virtual conversations, fellowships and internships, and more. We look forward to learning new ways in which we can together advance our studies and impact.

  • Join a physical or virtual event
  • Learn about our programs (e.g., internships and fellowships)
  • Follow us on Twitter

Multi Stakeholder AI Governance: The International Institutions Shaping Tomorrow’s AI Regulatory Frameworks

The rapid deployment of AI-empowered technologies, businesses, and products, and its increasing ubiquity in many aspects of global society, has sparked a variety of public debates on the question of who gets to shape AI’s role in society. This post will explore how multinational institutions, initiatives, and organizations are paving the way for multi stakeholder governance of artificial intelligence. It will first explain how international institutions are well-equipped to adapt to the rapid technological change introduced by artificial intelligence (AI) and highlight several such example institutions and initiatives, from a variety of sectors and regions, employing multi stakeholder governance models. 
In the context of this document, the term ‘AI Governance’ will refer to frameworks, mechanisms, or methodologies that intend to provide guidelines, oversight, or regulations for the development, deployment, and use of AI generally, with the aim of protecting users, systems, and society from tangible and intangible harms of poorly-managed or designed AI. While there is not yet a globally standardized definition of artificial intelligence, AI, in this context, will refer to general-purpose artificial intelligence unless noted otherwise. 
International Institutions: A Lesson in Flexibility 
From the perspective of the 2022 AI Government Readiness Index, produced by Oxford Insights, the “pace of change in AI capabilities has not been matched by the response of governments,” which are not typically equipped to “react quickly” to the potential or observed risks and harms presented by emergent technologies. The ubiquity of AI is far outpacing government response; however, in this space lies the opportunity for multi-stakeholder approaches (decision-making models involving the input of civil society, government, academia, and industry from a transnational or international scale, in this case) to provide stop-gap, and eventually long-term, solutions to AI governance while the world untangles its role in our communities.
Thanks to recent media scrutiny and public intrigue about AI and its (often unnoticed but present) role in our lives, ‘regulating AI’ is enjoying the type of political will that makes it a top item on the agendas of many government stakeholders, each attempting to respond to the ever-growing call for global leadership to ensure that human interactions with AI are safer, inclusive, and transparent. Despite several groundbreaking regulatory regimes that have been launched or are in development from governments around the world, formal laws on artificial intelligence have not yet been published (though they are soon to become reality after the ratification of the upcoming EU AI Act, which will likely be adopted in early 2024).
According to the 2022 AI Government Readiness Index produced by Oxford Insights, 70% of countries that have published national AI strategies are high-income countries, leaving many of the technology priorities concerning the Global South unaddressed, and at times, undiscussed. While governments are taking necessary steps to address the need for context-specific and localized AI governance, international institutions are perhaps the most agile mechanism available to global society today for governing AI. Given their ability to share resources, information, and dialogue between member states, and lower barriers to entry, international institutions may be best primed to address this ‘AI governance gap’. International knowledge exchange of regulatory and non-regulatory measures for AI may even speed up, not limit, innovation for the benefit of humanity.
International institutions have demonstrated their ability to adapt to new societal challenges, like the proliferation of artificial intelligence, in the past. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was established in 1932 to facilitate intergovernmental cooperation for the alignment of international telegraph and telephone communications standards and quality. The ITU has served the global community by evolving existing, and creating new governance infrastructure for several emergent technologies, including the internet. Recognizing the widespread use of the internet, and understanding that effective regulation would require a multistakeholder approach, the ITU leveraged its long-standing institutional legitimacy to coordinate intergovernmental discourse, agreements, and initiatives aimed at designing the global governance of the internet. Today, the governance of the internet has matured into an ever-complex landscape of data privacy, cybersecurity, e-commerce, and content moderation policies.
Despite these strides, there are very valid historical and real-time pitfalls in the ways that international institutions govern. Global inequality, geopolitical conflict, bias, and discrimination, as well as the organizational complexities required to implement speedy, effective decision-making by a group of ideologically diverse stakeholders, may limit the capacity for international institutions to govern inclusively. Historically, women and marginalized communities have been left out of key decision-making forums about the very technologies that disproportionately impact them, leaving critical voices out of the debate over the role of AI in society. Today’s public discourse surrounding the global governance of AI has, rightfully, highlighted the need to approach AI governance with a multi-stakeholder, multinational approach, given the many ways AI-empowered technologies feature in our day-to-day lives. This presents an excellent opportunity for international institutions to seek out globally representative stakeholders who are well-equipped to lead the charge on global AI alignment.
Example Cases: Multi Stakeholder Initiatives and Organizations
As the patchwork of national AI legislation slowly forms around the world, international efforts are well underway to confront the challenges, known and unknown, presented by the proliferation of AI. Five example cases, including a brief overview of their mission and scope, are detailed below.
African Observatory On Responsible Artificial Intelligence
Established in 2022, the African Observatory on Responsible Artificial Intelligence promotes the ethical development and use of AI technologies throughout the African continent. The Observatory network includes leaders from academia, civil society, industry, and policymakers who collectively amplify ‘African Voices’ in the global AI governance debate. The Observatory’s policy recommendations, oversight initiatives, and thought leadership are informed by Africa’s pre- and post-colonial context. In their own words: “Scholars in the social sciences and humanities are emphasizing that an ‘African’ view on AI and AI ethics is critical for ensuring that the development and adoption of these new technologies supports, and is not harmful to, African societies and ways of living.”
 AI4People’s Ethical Framework for A Good AI Society
A “crowdsourced global treatise,” the Ethical Framework provides four ethical principles for organizations, developers, governments, and businesses to consider, that map to opportunities and risks for society in the age of AI. The four ethical principles are beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice. Although the recommendations are largely written to best address concerns in the European context, this framework heavily relied on a multi-stakeholder model.
Bletchley Declaration
After the November 2023 UK AI summit, 28 countries convened to discuss and align on the next steps for understanding, identifying, and mitigating the risks of AI. Each delegation signed on to the Bletchley Declaration, signaling their intention to coordinate efforts to build “respective risk-based policies across countries to ensure the safety” of frontier AI models. The joint agreement marks a first-of-its-kind decision on AI regulation among global leaders, with each signatory agreeing to share collective responsibility for the “risks, opportunities, and a forward process for international collaboration on frontier AI safety and research.” Encouragingly, the Declaration asserts that international collaboration, especially via shared scientific research, is the best path forward for global AI alignment.
G7 Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct
An annual intergovernmental forum for ‘leading countries’ has made global alignment for the regulation of AI a high priority at this year’s summit. The G7 membership, currently comprising the United States, the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, has launched the Guiding Principles and Code of Conduct, a multilateral agreement which includes guidance for both public and private entities to implement accountability measures in the development, design, and use of AI. Suggested measures in the document include transparency reporting, data privacy best practices, considerations for the protection of intellectual property rights, and the development of a global standard for technical AI safety. The Code of Conduct is based on the G7’s 2023 Hiroshima AI Process, a code of conduct for developers that also underpins the importance of international collaboration to successfully regulate AI. 
UNESCO ‘Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence’
Perhaps the most recognizable international institution, the United Nations, with its 193 member states, has been establishing AI guidance since 2017. However, UNESCO published the world’s first global guidance on AI Ethics, entitled the ‘Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence,‘ in 2021. All UN member states agreed to adopt the guidelines. The Recommendation specifically encourages human oversight of AI technologies, suggesting key ‘policy areas’ to help inform policy makers looking to implement the values, like the promotion of fundamental rights and diversity and inclusiveness, via localized legislation or enterprise regulation. The document is an excellent example of knowledge-sharing among both Global South and high-income nations, providing a unique opportunity to harmonize global regulation of AI.
Smart Africa Alliance
The Smart Africa Alliance is a multinational, multi-disciplinary organization that seeks to identify opportunities and challenges wide-spread use of AI will have for Africa. It aims to make evidence-based AI policy recommendations and promote the sustainable development and use of AI-empowered technologies on the continent. One member-state, South Africa, is leading the charge on developing the updated iteration of the Artificial Intelligence Blueprint, a regional playbook on AI alignment published in 2021. 
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) AI Principles
An effort to encourage and standardize the development of human-centered, trustworthy AI, the 2019 OECD AI Principles reflect the commitment of the 44 member states and partner countries to adhere to the recommendations. The Principles outline design values that help nation states, enterprises, and developers to create responsible AI, such as transparency, fairness, explainability, sustainable development, accountability, and robustness, security, and safety. Designed to be adaptable to each country’s unique needs and context,  the OECD AI Principles directly influenced AI policy guidelines in several countries, including Japan’s Governance Guidelines for Implementation of AI Principles.  
Stepping into roles traditionally filled by governments, international institutions are adopting multi-stakeholder approaches to establish agile governance frameworks that are inclusive, collaborative, and quick to respond to challenges posed by AI. While it is important to note that none of the example initiatives above are legally binding, soft law—one of the main levers used by international institutions to influence and inform global policymaking—remains a powerful mechanism for addressing AI concerns in the short term. Add to this international insitution’s unique ability to provide global forums that allow members to co-create context-specific policy solutions, especially as AI proliferation continues in the Global South, one may have the belief that perhaps the work being done today will set the stage for a new international institution to develop a global framework that provides regulatory guidance and oversight of AI-empowered technologies. Until then, today’s initiatives, many concentrated in the West, are directly shaping the motivations, voices, and priorities that will continue to drive global alignment efforts—a dynamic that this blog series will continue to explore in future posts.

Amari Cowan is a 2023-2024 Fellow at the Portulans Institute and a Policy Performance Manager at TikTok (Bytedance). Her research focuses on the international governance of AI and global alignment. All views in this document are her own and are not associated with her professional role at TikTok.

The post Multi Stakeholder AI Governance: The International Institutions Shaping Tomorrow’s AI Regulatory Frameworks appeared first on Portulans Institute.

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The State of the Tech Workers Global Movement – Interview with Simone Robutti

Tech Won’t Save Us – Organize!
Simone Robutti has been working as a programmer for the last ten years. One day he started to become interested both in the theory of techno politics and the practice of tech worker organization. In fact, his trajectory is kind of similar to mine – a repentant lawyer who writes about platforms and politics. I met him in person for the first time at the Crypto Commons meeting in Austria, a hybrid meeting where programmers, political scientists and activists spent several days discussing the politics of Large Language Models. With Simone, I share an intellectual infatuation for cybernetics, a ‘science of everything’ that – so it says – is supposed to guide our distinction to navigate the complexity of the modern world and to ‘design freedom’. The interview deals with the organization and action of the Tech Workers Coalition and with the history of tech workers’ resistance.
Simone, what are you working on at the moment?
In my full-time job, I’m currently working as a data engineer and organization designer for a research group called AI Forensics, where we do investigations on the social harm of social media and large language models. The latter is a new strand of research, as our expertise is mostly on social media and recommender systems. Before we were called tracking.exposed, and now we rebranded as AI Forensics. At the moment we are mostly focused on two platforms: TikTok and YouTube. But we are starting a new project on Bing Chat and electoral integrity where we try to understand how LLMs present information in a biased way or not regarding elections. We also develop our own infrastructure to extract data from these platforms running conversations with the chatbot. I take care of the technical part, mostly, but this is intertwined with the research. While I don’t work too much on the methodology side, I’m still involved in the research part.
How did you get involved in the Tech Workers Coalition?
It was four and a half years ago in Berlin. I went to a presentation by Ben Turnoff, and he was talking about the tech workers movement in the USA, presenting a new issue of his magazine called LogicMag. I already knew about TWC, but it was a faraway concept. At the end of the presentation, Yonatan Miller stood up and shouted: “Who wants to start a chapter in Berlin?”. I talked to him because I saw this mostly as an opportunity to have a study group to participate in. At the time I was reading a lot of techno politics and paradoxically I couldn’t find a space in Berlin to share these readings and discuss theory.
I started the study group, but since most of the organization was focused more on workers organizing, I was exposed to their ideas, their attitudes and their goals in a way that went way beyond my initial plan. I started getting interested in unionization processes as an organizer myself, and this lasted for a year until COVID-19 started. That’s when I basically detached from the Berlin chapter. I realized I wanted to start a chapter in Italy, and given COVID-19 restrictions, I could do it from Berlin: everybody was at home, and not being physically there wouldn’t have made much of a difference. I found the first core group of Italians, and we spent some months figuring out the early strategy, the goals, and bootstrapping the organization. I was involved in it for around two years and a half, until last November 2022, where I was like: you can go on your own, I’m tired of doing remote calls! Therefore, I detached from the Italian chapter that now keeps going on without me.
The news now is that, together with other people, we started the TWC Global chapter. It is a chapter that is entirely online, with no intention to be grounded in a specific territory. The idea is to bring together chapters, reuse resources across different chapters in the USA and Europe, and take care of the infrastructure, the website, and the digital spaces. It’s reminiscent of platform-oriented organizations that have a centralized support system that enables units at the periphery. This is now going on by itself, but I want to go public with a program to systematically support starting new chapters of TWC. I mean to generalize and scale our approach, and hopefully start new chapters throughout the world.
What’s the purpose of TWC?
That’s a very good question. There is a big conversation going on what could be the answer. Until a couple years ago the answer, at least in the USA, was clear: TWC must act as a bridge between the union world and tech workers because they cannot speak to each other. There is little history, and the specificities of tech workers need to be addressed. We needed to prove to unions that tech workers could be mobilized and that we could explain to tech workers why they should unionize and how they hold the power. In general, to bootstrap a process of mass unionization of the industry. This happened with great success in the USA, but because it took place at the same time as COVID-19, a lot of the chapters saw the focus and energy moving away and into unions exactly when it became harder to meet.
For instance, last week we had a retrospective on how chapters were started in TWC. We wanted to bring forward this conversation and hear from people who are not involved anymore, who were there maybe 6-7 seven years ago. Some of them went on to build very interesting stuff, like the Alphabet Workers Union. There, TWC fulfilled its purpose: it’s not like they left because stuff wasn’t working; they left because the activity in TWC led to something bigger. This is true also for London: the whole chapter of London became a union. There is this kind of suicidal role in TWC – you fulfil your role when you’re not needed anymore. You win when you die.
We are now trying to conceptualize a new phase for TWC, where the role will change, and it will basically be a different organization. Everybody feels that a lot of big tech companies in the US either have their own union or are fighting to unionize, so we need to start playing a bigger game. This opens up a lot of strategic possibilities, and we need to start building a narrative where tech workers can finally contend with technology not just inside the single company, but on a more systemic level. I think that is going to be the grand strategy for the next 10 years. In Germany and Italy, for instance, we have a very different role. In Italy, this process hasn’t happened yet. Unions still haven’t understood what the tech workers movement is, and we didn’t prove that tech workers can be largely mobilized for unionization. At the same time, in Italy, we have a longer history of unionization in the IT sector, but it keeps moving according to more established dynamics, missing out on the specificities of our category.
Normally we don’t enter institutions, but following the prescription of the philosopher Rodrigo Nunes – outlined for instance in his book Neither Vertical Nor Horizontal – building power must be done by playing with the full deck of cards. Institutions are one card in the deck. However, having a political representation of the tech worker movement is a missing piece, so I do believe this should be done, but it’s not the role of TWC.
Would you consider TWC a trade union?
Not really. We are a union in the sense of the meaning the word has in English, that is: not Gewerkschaft in German but also not a sindacato in Italian. We are a group of workers advocating for their own rights and building power. In that sense, we are a union because we are a bundle, a band of workers, but we are not a union in the legal sense. We don’t want to be, and we don’t take that role in the ecosystem. The term that is used is “alt-labor” which covers all these organizations that are complementary to unions. But we don’t see ourselves in opposition to unions. So, we are a labour organization that tends to take the role of an eco-systemic curator: we take a supportive role, allowing other organizations (or unions) to flourish.
Who can be part of TWC?
Whoever is a worker or interested in pursuing the empowerment of workers? Every chapter has slightly different rules to translate this into practice. Some chapters don’t allow managers – anybody with firing power – to join the meetings. Berlin recently changed their mind on this, but obviously, if you are a venture capitalist or a CEO, you’re not really welcome.
You mentioned the big wave of unionization that started in the USA. However, you also mentioned a longer history of tech workers defending their rights and interests. Can you summarize it?
It is a very spotty history, in the sense that a lot of tech companies, since the beginning of the digital era, have seen some degree of unionization. But they weren’t framed as a special case, there were no insights into the specificity of the industry or knowledge workers in general. The IT industry has started to become critical and prevalent in our economy, also in terms of the percentage of workers – platforms now mobilize a major part of the population – while in the ’70s they involved way fewer people in absolute numbers.
There are companies, like IBM, that witnessed unionization all over the world: in the USA in Texas, but also in Italy and Germany. Already at the time, they were big enough for unions to target them in the same way they would target any other big company. Telecommunication companies also presented similar patterns. But it’s hard to frame this as the same phenomenon as the tech workers movement because the narrative is very different. They were ‘workers’ who incidentally worked in tech. The workers themselves were more aware that they were something different. There are writings, fanzines, or other materials where you see them reflecting on their role as technology gatekeepers and as white-collar workers who are not like other white-collar workers.
I see these two phenomena – even now – as running in parallel. In Italy, the traditional unionization process enters some IT companies, while the tech worker movement – maybe because it’s too American and the material conditions are very different – doesn’t take the same hold that it does in the USA. TWC in Italy is playing a very different role because they are not aggregating all this energy coming from workers.  In the USA and Germany, TWC was born as a collector of energy, while in Italy the role of TWC is to create this energy, to create a narrative, to create the soil on which we can grow a hypothetical future tech worker movement.
You said you have clear ideas on the reasons why you should unionize. What are those reasons? Apart from the material interests, is the moral uprising of the ‘designers of collapse’ a thing?
You touched on an important but complex point. In the category of tech workers, there is a wild difference in material conditions and in the involvement in the harm that is created by technology. Under the concept of tech worker, you have the tech aristocracy of California – programmers that are paid $250,000+ to work maybe a couple hours a day – and then everybody else working in the company: customer support, QA and testing. In a larger definition of the tech worker, riders and platform workers are also tech workers. You have content reviewers who must scan through child pornography or data labellers in Kenya for ChatGpt. Those can be all considered tech workers. Reducing these to a single reason to unionize, obviously, is not possible and it’s a pointless endeavour. In the same way, trying to push this identity too hard doesn’t resonate with people because they come from different experiences. So, the category of “tech worker” is more of a conceptual tool for us to understand how to aggregate workers’ power in the tech industry across salary ranges and types of skills. It doesn’t necessarily match a felt identity at the level of the individual.
In general, unionization for workers is always a good idea. If you have a privilege, you will have a tool to defend it. If you don’t have a privilege, you have a tool to fight for your rights, more protections, better working conditions and so on. There, we are not reinventing anything. The idea that privileged workers shouldn’t unionize is nonsense propaganda. Nobody stays a privileged worker if they don’t unionize. I believe that the developers and designers at the centre of the empire should unionize. They are a considerable portion of TWC in the USA, but their motivations will be very different from the Ugandan data labeller. Therefore, the moral question of “What can be our role as technologists?” is the main leverage TWC has in the USA because it touches sensitive spots for these privileged tech workers. There is a sense of betrayal, a big spark. It was a betrayal of the promise that technology would have saved us all. One of our slogans says: “Technology won’t save us. Organize!”. In the last few years, the rest of Western society has been going through the same disillusionment. But obviously, when you’re at the centre of this phenomenon, in Silicon Valley, you see it coming earlier. If you lived in Seattle, you always knew Amazon was problematic, trying to infiltrate local administrations and do lobbying. Now it’s out in the open.
IT worker’s privilege is lasting a bit longer than it did for other categories of knowledge workers, but it’s clear now from the recent wave of layoffs that they are not untouchable. A lot of people that used to have very high salaries cannot find good jobs anymore. We have many examples of such a sharp loss of privileges. In Italy, for example, Graphic designers in the 80s were rich people, and journalists in the 70s were rich people. Now they have miserable lives until they’re 40 and then maybe they get a contract and some stability. So, they were privileged, they didn’t unionize and therefore they lost their privilege. This is an argument that resonates with tech workers on why they should unionize.
Do you also think that democracy is at stake here?
Yes, because nation-states are being encroached on by tech companies and venture capital and they are becoming interdependent with them to a higher and higher degree in a way that gives political power to private corporations. It’s not new; obviously, the oil industry, military suppliers or media corporations have been having a huge degree of political power, but technology is trying to get to yet another level, and nation-states don’t seem able to react. Usually, as a tech worker, you are taught that you can wield technology to create new things, great things. And you realize big tech is unable to create the great things that they were promising. Therefore, they need to be created elsewhere or in other ways. You realize that big tech is an obstacle to the realization of the potential of technology. That’s why there are techno-optimists that start fighting big tech. This is a completely different dynamic from the techno-pessimist progressive spaces that often start seeing technology as a problem. One thing is to point the finger at big tech from outside the industry; another is to realize that the tech worker is inside, and he can play a different game.
Another element is that you want to organize and unionize to have more control over the work environment and over what you produce. More control over your working conditions. When it’s cognitive work, you want to negotiate the process and the goals of this work. At some point, the goals of the tech industry and of your company become an obstacle to certain ways of structuring work. The profit motive becomes an obstacle. You start challenging something that is a bit beyond the scope of traditional unionization: I need to control where the company is going to have more livable, sustainable working conditions.
Again, this is not completely new and unseen outside the tech industry, but it’s prevalent because the feedback loop between the market and your daily experience of work is very short. It is much more direct; you have iterations of a couple of weeks. If compared to, say, the metallurgic industry, where the buyer is on the other side of the planet and you need to deliver once every six months, the processes are slower. Here the best improvement you can have is on the working conditions, but it’s not like you’re going to make different metal sheets because you don’t like to make them too thin. There have been examples like the Lucas Plan, in which workers were asked to basically reinvent the portfolio of the company to keep it alive, and there are conflicts around supporting military efforts or selling to an autocratic government, in other industries these are exceptional thoughts that can be inoculated in times of crisis. Tech workers instead constantly have opinions on how technology should be made and the profit motive at some point has an impact on the quality of what you produce.
Therefore, there is this pride in the craft, if you want, that is in direct opposition to the market motive because quality, in the software industry, doesn’t sell well. Sometimes we frame the tech industry as a super-efficient machine that extracts, exploits and so on. But most software is bad. It’s an extremely inefficient industry where the wheel is reinvented everywhere all the time – for different structural reasons that I won’t analyze here. The average tech worker is frustrated with the state of technology, he knows it could be better. They work on open-source projects or on personal projects where the level of quality is much higher. Workers also want this to be their daily experience at work. This cannot happen because you have to deliver in a rush to make more money. We have opposing incentives here. This is not material; this is the emotional connection you have to the quality of what you craft. It is very strong in the culture, like the stereotype of designers, or programmers are perfectionists and anal about what they produce. This is a driver of conflict against capitalism in the end, even though oftentimes they cannot verbalize it in this way. But it’s a very easy hook to say: “You cannot work this way because somebody wants to make a profit”. If you connect the dots for them, they relate quite easily.
What would you highlight as the main strength and weakness of the tech workers movement?
The strength is that we have a very strong narrative and a lot of momentum. 15 years ago, tech workers weren’t a concept. We kind of invented it. They were talking about programmers, but the concept of tech workers wasn’t in the media. The main weakness is that the concept of tech worker – as we discussed earlier – tries to bring together people with very different conditions and very different experiences and interests and sometimes they are at odds. On specific problems, platform workers might have contrasting interests with platform developers. This umbrella term needs to be reconciled with reality and with material conditions the diversity of the workforce, and the geographical diversity because the tech industry was born as global. IBM in the ’40s was already all over the industrialized world. And nowadays, like, almost 80 years later, it’s everywhere. We still lack the tools, ideas and processes to bring together this diversity and really engage different kinds of tech workers synergistically.
Are you optimistic about the future of Tech Workers Coalition?
We are in this phase of change where maybe we will conclude that we are not needed anymore, and we need a new organization. We probably want to keep the branding because it’s cool. The branding will likely stay, and the local chapters obviously want to keep it. On the local level, it’s going well. On the possibility of scaling up the tech workers coalition to a truly coordinated global movement, I consider it a challenge. I’m ambivalent about its outcome. I don’t see the right energy already there, but it’s still a realistic goal. That said, I believe that the tech workers movement as a whole is going really well. Especially in the USA, Germany, the UK and to some degree also France. Maybe I am too much in the news flow about these topics, but in the USA, every week there is a famous tech company that is starting to unionize. This week was Grindr.
If I were a tech worker and want to join TWC, what should I do?
It depends on where you live. Some chapters are rooted in the territory so you should look up if there is a local chapter. In Italy, there are four: Bologna, Milan, Rome, and Turin. Berlin is very active. New York and San Diego are active. The Bay Area is a bit of a weird beast, but it’s active, and there’s Seattle. Then you have a bunch of semi-active chapters like DC and Boston. You should look up the website of Tech Workers Coalition and see what’s in your area. Otherwise, there is the TWC Global chapter, and if you’re living in the middle of nowhere you can join this online chapter that takes a role of support for the others. You will not be involved in direct campaigning on the ground, but you will do volunteer work that will enable local chapters to do their stuff better. Finally, you can start a new chapter. If you live in the middle of nowhere and you want to start a chapter, there is now a Chapter Development Program by TWC Global, supporting the formation of new chapters with training, coaching, and different forms of expertise.
How does this growing self-awareness inside the tech movement relate to other systems like academia or activism?
I like to differentiate between who’s trying to change the technology from the outside and who is trying to change the technology from the inside. They employ very different strategies, and I see to some degree a disconnection. The insiders are forced to read books, and theory and newspapers from an external system that exists outside of big tech, outside of those working environments, and informs a lot of the ideas that tech workers have when they contend technology, or in general when they oppose the interests of big tech. But there is no cohesive strategy: what is written is written without because inside tech companies there are people that might support you in the battle to reshape or eliminate big tech, and not many in the academia or civil society are reaching out to them.
That is the disconnection, which is first and foremost a lack of strategy and imagination. I see a lot of people who are very intelligent and informed writing about techno-politics, but when presented with the fact that many tech workers probably are supportive and willing to help and sabotage and do whatever is needed, they go blank. For them, tech workers are like faceless zombies or basic white 30-year-old tech bros with no self-awareness, completely submissive to big tech. Just because you work for a big tech company doesn’t mean you’re aligned; maybe you are infiltrated. There is this term called ‘salting’ which means getting hired by a company to unionize it or to sabotage it. I know people who do salting in tech companies in the USA. When confronted with this concept, a lot of people in hackerspaces, techno-politics, academia, or media theory, go blank. I would think that this alliance will be fundamental in the near future, it’s possible because the interests are aligned, it’s just a matter of getting to know each other, especially the people from the outside acknowledging what’s happening on the inside and the potential for it.

Institute of Network Cultures
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Hilfsassistierende:r für SNF-Projekt zu Chilling Effects gesucht

Hilfsassistierende:r für SNF-Projekt zu Chilling Effects gesucht

Media Change & Innovation Division, IKMZ, University of Zurich
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Regional Digital Safety Helpdesk Manager

About SMEX

SMEX is a non-profit that advances and defends human rights and freedoms in the digital sphere across West Asia and North Africa. SMEX advocates for people in the WANA and the diaspora to be able to access and engage with the internet, mobile services, and other networked spaces safely and without fear of censorship, surveillance, or repercussion. Our teams fulfill this vision through reporting, research, policy analysis, campaigns, and various projects. SMEX is primarily concerned with the impact of technology on human rights, recognizing that digital rights are human rights.

Our vision is for everyone in Lebanon and across the Arab region to be able to access the internet, mobile services, and other networked spaces in order to communicate and express themselves safely and without fear of censorship, surveillance, or repercussion.

Our mission is to advance digital rights in Lebanon and the Arab region through research, campaigns, and advocacy that encourages users to engage critically with digital technologies, media, and networks.

We believe in the transformative power of access to information and self-expression, both online and offline. We assert that these rights are essential to peaceful, dynamic, and prosperous societies.

Job OverviewSMEX is dedicated to safeguarding the online civic space and protecting the rights of activists, journalists, lawyers, bloggers, marginalized groups and communities, and human rights defenders in Arabic-speaking countries. The Regional Digital Safety Helpdesk Manager will be dedicated to expanding our Digital Safety Helpdesk in the WANA region. You will play a crucial role in executing our strategy to enhance digital safety and respond effectively to online threats across Arabic-speaking countries. Success in this position entails establishing partnerships, building local capacity, enhancing rapid response mechanisms, promoting peer-to-peer learning, and advocating for digital safety. 


  • Lead, manage, and support the Digital Safety Helpdesk team in the WANA region in the operation and programmatic aspects of the work.
  • Plan, coordinate, and prioritize the workload and shifts of the regional Helpdesk team, overseeing the quality of response and its compliance with established procedures.
  • Develop, review, and curate digital safety resources, guidelines, and best practices to strengthen the Helpdesk’s knowledge database.
  • Organize and conduct induction and training sessions on Helpdesk management to cultivate  a skilled and knowledgeable team.
  • Maintain a database to monitor the progress of each country-specific Helpdesk, ensuring transparency and accountability.
  • Take part in and facilitate learning sessions and meetings among different Helpdesk units fostering knowledge exchange and gathering intelligence about local-level threats and mitigation strategies.
  • Contribute to the strategic programmatic direction of the Digital Safety Helpdesk Unit guiding its mission and impact.
  • Periodically review and update the policies and procedures of the Digital Safety Helpdesk to ensure they align with best practices while evolving legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Develop a continuous learning and professional development program for the Helpdesk teams to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest digital safety practices and technologies.
  • Prepare periodic reports that provide insights into the Helpdesk’s activities, achievements, challenges, and recommendations for improvement.
  • Maintain comprehensive documentation of cases and activities for accountability and future reference.
  • Establish partnerships with organizations in each target country to expand the Digital Safety Helpdesk’s reach,influence, and mission.
  • Conduct ongoing research and follow up on threats, potential partners, and other topics that influence the Helpdesk, ensuring it remains agile and effective.
  • Develop evidence-based advocacy materials highlighting the importance of digital safety and its impact on human rights and participate in advocacy efforts to drive policy-level change.
  • Organize roundtable discussions, seminars, and public events to engage policymakers and raise awareness of digital safety issues.
  • Collaborate with local and international partners to amplify the advocacy message and advocate for policy reforms.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Information Technology, International Relations, Human Rights or a related discipline; a Master’s degree is a plus.
  • Strong people management skills with an ability to lead and motivate a diverse team in charge of responding to digital emergencies in real time.
  • Proven track record of working on digital rights, online safety, and advocacy initiatives within Arabic-speaking countries.
  • Substantial experience in project management, with a focus on digital safety and online security and the ability to plan, execute, and oversee complex initiatives.
  • Proficiency in developing, implementing, and monitoring digital safety resources, guidelines, and programs.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, in both Arabic and English. French is a plus.
  •   Experience in advocacy efforts and engaging with policymakers, stakeholders, and international organizations.
  • Proficient in strategic planning, partnership development, and advocacy materials development.
  • Competency in conducting research and analysis of digital safety threats and challenges.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.

Personal characteristics

  • Passionate about protecting and promoting human rights, including privacy, freedom of expression, accessibility, and open culture.
  • Proactive, innovative, and willing to take initiative.
  • Dedicated to a detail-oriented approach and thoroughness in managing digital safety initiatives.
  • An active and empathetic listener.
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team.
  • Efficient time and resource allocation to meet project deadlines.

Behavioral Competencies

  • Leadership Skills
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Team Management
  • Active Listening
  • Initiative Taking

Additional Information

Duty Station:                      Beirut, Lebanon

Office Presence:                 Hybrid/remote       

Employment Status:       Full-Time      

Reporting Line:                    Deputy Director

Supervision Line: Helpdesk Assistants
The post Regional Digital Safety Helpdesk Manager appeared first on SMEX.

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Weltweit häufig zitiert

Zum wiederholten Male finden sich Professoren der Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in der Liste der Highly Cited Researchers: der Botaniker Rainer Hedrich, die Mediziner Hermann Einsele und Christoph Wanner, der Zellforscher José Pedro Friedmann Angeli sowie der Systembiologe Dominic Grün.
Das auf Zitationsdaten spezialisierte Unternehmen Clarivate Analytics hat die aktuelle Highly-Cited-Liste erstellt und am 15. November 2023 veröffentlicht. Grundlage der Auswertung ist laut Clarivate die Datenbank Web of Science. Für 2023 hat das Analyseteam den Zeitraum von Anfang 2012 bis Ende 2022 betrachtet.
Als häufig zitiert gelten Publikationen, die in ihrem Erscheinungsjahr zu den ein Prozent meistzitierten ihres Fachgebiets gehören. Nur wer an besonders vielen Highly Cited Papers beteiligt ist, wird in den exklusiven Kreis der Highly Cited Researchers aufgenommen. 2023 besteht dieser Kreis aus 7.125 Persönlichkeiten aus 67 Ländern.
Gratulation vom Universitätspräsidenten
JMU-Präsident Paul Pauli gratuliert den Forschern: „Dass so viele Würzburger Wissenschaftler wiederholt zu den Highly Cited Researchers zählen, ist auch ein eindrucksvoller Beleg für die internationale Sichtbarkeit unserer Universität. Meinen Glückwunsch an die Ausgezeichneten!“
Higly Cited Researchers 2023
Prof. Dr. Hermann Einsele
Der Leiter des Lehrstuhls für Innere Medizin II und Direktor der Medizinischen Klinik und Poliklinik II beschäftigt sich mit neuen Immuntherapien bei verschiedenen Tumorerkrankungen, dem Multiplen Myelom und Infektionserkrankungen bei immunabwehrgeschwächten Patienten. Unter seiner Leitung laufen immuntherapeutische Studien für viele Tumorerkrankungen. Einsele hat eine Krebstherapie mit spezifisch veränderten Immunzellen entwickelt und diese erstmals in Europa klinisch eingesetzt. An Auszeichnungen erhielt er unter anderen: 2003 den van Bekkum Award der Europäischen Gesellschaft für Zell- und Stammzelltherapie, 2012 Nobel Lecture Stem Cell Biology/Transplantation, Nobel Forum Karolinska Institute Schweden. 2014 wurde er als Mitglied in die Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz aufgenommen. 2022 erhielt er als erster Europäer den renommierten Erasmus Hematology Award für besondere Leistungen bei der Immuntherapie von Krebserkrankungen sowie den Bayerischen Verfassungsorden und 2023 den höchsten Preis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Transfusionsmedizin und Immunhämatologie (DGTI), die Emil-von-Behring Lecture. Er ist Co-Sprecher der Sonderforschungsbereiche 124, 221 und 338 sowie Sprecher des Nationalen Zentrums für Tumorerkrankungen WERA mit Hauptstandort Würzburg.
Prof. Dr. José Pedro Friedmann Angeli
Der Professor für Translationale Zellbiologie am Rudolf-Virchow-Zentrum – Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging ist ein Pionier auf dem Gebiet der Ferroptose. Dabei handelt es sich um eine Form des Zelltods, deren Beteiligung an immer mehr physiologischen und krankhaften Prozessen im Organismus zunehmend klar wird. Die Arbeit in seiner Gruppe zielt darauf ab, diejenigen Stoffwechselwege zu verstehen und zu nutzen, die die Ferroptose-Empfindlichkeit regulieren. Das langfristige Ziel dieser Forschung ist es, Krebsarten wie B-Zell-Malignome, Melanome und Neuroblastome, die von Natur aus empfindlich für die Ferroptose sind, gezielt beeinflussen zu können.
Prof. Dr. Dominic Grün
Der Leiter des Lehrstuhls für Computational Biology of Spatial Biomedical Systems und Direktor am Institut für Systemimmunologie erforscht mit hochauflösenden Methoden Prozesse der Zelldifferenzierung im Knochenmark und im Lebergewebe. Seine Arbeitsgruppe hat zahlreiche bioinformatische Algorithmen entwickelt, um Daten zu entschlüsseln, die mittels Einzelzell-RNA-Sequenzierung gewonnen wurden. Mit diesen Methoden konnte der Physiker einen ersten Zelltyp-Atlas der humanen Leber erstellen und zu einem besseren Verständnis der Gewebearchitektur und Zelldifferenzierung in der Leber beitragen. Seine Arbeit wurde 2020 mit dem GlaxoSmithKline-Preis für medizinische Grundlagenforschung ausgezeichnet. Seine Forschung zur Gewebearchitektur des Knochenmarks wird seit 2019 durch einen mit zwei Millionen Euro dotierten ERC Consolidator Grant des Europäischen Forschungsrates gefördert.
Prof. Dr. Rainer Hedrich
Der Leiter des Lehrstuhls für Botanik I – Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie und Biophysik gilt als einer der Väter der Erforschung der elektrischen Signalübertragung bei Pflanzen. In der Liste der oft zitierten Forscher wird er fortlaufend seit 2003 geführt, ein Gradmesser für zwei Jahrzehnte herausragende Forschungsleistung an der Universität. Hedrich war weltweit der erste, der im Labor von Nobelpreisträger Erwin Neher die Arbeitsweise pflanzlicher Ionenkanäle bestimmte. Im Projekt „Carnivorom“, gefördert vom Europäischen Forschungsrat mit einem ERC Grant, analysiert er fleischfressende Pflanzen. Dabei entdeckte er unter anderem, dass die Venus-Fliegenfalle die Berührungen mit ihrer Beute zählt und die Falle erst nach einer ausreichenden Zahl von Reizen zuschnappen und verdauen lässt. Um herauszufinden, wie die Pflanze zählt, fördert die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Hedrich mit dem renommierten Koselleck-Forschungspreis. In den letzte Jahren hat er mit Hilfe von Licht-aktivierten Ionenkanälen Versuchspflanzen einer unterschiedlichen Zahl von äußeren kalzium-elektrischen Reizen ausgesetzt, um den Mechanismus des pflanzlichen Zählens aufzuklären.
Prof. Dr. Christoph Wanner
Der frühere Leiter des Schwerpunktes Nephrologie an der Medizinischen Klinik und Poliklinik I des Würzburger Universitätsklinikums ist Experte für Nierenkrankheiten bei Diabetes mellitus sowie für Herzkreislauferkrankungen bei Dialysepatienten und nach Nierentransplantationen. Durch weltweit angelegte klinische Studien konnte er erstmals zeigen, dass bei Diabetikern ein in der Niere wirksames Medikament das Fortschreiten der Nierenerkrankung bis hin zur Nierenersatztherapie entscheidend verzögern kann. Die Diagnostik, Prognoseerstellung und Therapie von Fettstoffwechselstörungen bei Nierenkranken sind weitere Schwerpunkte seiner Arbeit. 2018 erhielt er die Franz-Volhard-Medaille. Seit Anfang 2023 wirkt er als Seniorprofessor an der JMU.

Würzburg Centre for Social and Legal Implications of Artificial Intelligence (SOCAI)
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Résultats du 2e concours de bourses du Fonds Guy Rocher

Afin de rendre hommage à Guy Rocher et d’encourager les recherches pouvant s’inscrire en filiation avec son œuvre, le Centre de recherche en droit public (CRDP), de concert avec la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Montréal, offre pour l’année académique 2023-2024 une bourse de maîtrise (5 000 $) et une bourse doctorale (10 000$). 

C’est avec grand plaisir que le CRDP attribut une bourse de maîtrise à Félix Chouinard et une bourse doctorale à Jenny Kumeso Betu. Le CRDP remercie tous.tes les candidat.es du concours.


Félix Chouinard

(Sociologie. Dirigé par Jean-François Bissonnette)

Félix Chouinard est étudiant à la maîtrise en sociologie de l’Université de Montréal. Son projet de recherche porte sur le financement philanthropique du milieu communautaire québécois ; plus précisément, sur les implications de la notion sociale et légale de don dans les attentes et les perceptions des acteurs du monde philanthropique. Après avoir terminé un baccalauréat en sociologie en 2022, il a choisi de poursuivre ses études aux cycles supérieurs afin de pouvoir explorer les grandes questions sociales qui piquaient sa curiosité. Le concept de don s’est vite imposé dans ses réflexions comme une notion fort intéressante par sa polysémie et son importance transcendant les sphères juridique,économique et sociale.

Félix Chouinard remercie infiniment le comité évaluateurs et tous les administrateur.rices du fonds Guy Rocher/CRDP de avoir accordé cette bourse lui permettant de continuer à se consacrer pleinement à ses études et aux sujets qui le passionne.


Jenny Kumeso Betu

(Droit. Dirigée par Pierre Noreau et Amissi Manirabona)

Candidate au doctorat en droit (Ph.D.) à l’Université de Montréal, sous la codirection des professeurs Pierre Noreau et Amissi Manirabona. Son projet de thèse porte sur l’accès à la justice au Canada pour les victimes de crimes commis par des entreprises multinationales canadiennes en Afrique. 

Betu Kumeso est titulaire de deux diplômes de maîtrise de l’Université de Nantes, l’un en droit en droit pénal et carrières judiciaires et l’autre en Management et Administration des Entreprises. Elle est aussi détentrice d’un diplôme de licence en droit pénal et criminologie obtenu à l’Université de Kinshasa. Elle est avocate au Barreau de Kinshasa/Matete en République démocratique du Congo.

Félicitations à nos lauréat.e.s !

Centre de Recherche en Droit Public
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Conférence à venir: Conférence Cyberjustice Europe 2023 – Les nouveaux défis de la cyberjustice : entre information, régulation et démocratie (24 novembre 2023)

Le Laboratoire de cyberjustice a le plaisir de vous convier à la CONFÉRENCE CYBERJUSTICE EUROPE 2023 en partenariat avec le Conseil de l’Europe et l’IERDJ le vendredi 24 novembre 2023 au Conseil de l’Europe à Strasbourg.

La CONFERENCE CYBERJUSTICE EUROPE 2023 est un événement qui rassemble des chercheurs, des experts et des professionnels de nombreux pays pour discuter de l’impact de la technologie sur les politiques et les pratiques de la justice. Les membres de cette riche communauté internationale regroupée pour la deuxième fois par le Conseil de l’Europe et le Laboratoire de cyberjustice (Montréal), l’IERDJ (Paris) et l’Université de Strasbourg, s’interrogeront pendant une journée et apporteront des réponses aux questions de la réglementation de l’IA, des évolutions de la cybercriminalité, de la nécessité de politiques publiques pour accompagner le développement des plateformes et services en ligne, de l’impact de l’ouverture de l’accès à l’information juridique et judiciaire, des professions du droit augmentées, des futurs virtuels de l’audience et se conclura sur la question de savoir si le progrès technologique est encore l’ami de la démocratie.

Programme :




Centre de Recherche en Droit Public
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