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Preface by the Collaboratory Steering Group MIND 4

Preface by the Collaboratory Steering Group MIND 4

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The Steering Group of the Internet & Society Collaboratory Martin G. Löhe, Dr. Philipp S. Müller, Ulrike Höppner, Dr. Max Senges, John H. Weitzmann

As an open collaboration platform and community of practice, the Internet & Society Co:llaboratory brings together experts from all areas of society to contribute to the public debate on solutions to societal questions around the internet - in Germany and beyond.

Through the publication of the Co:llaboratory Discussion Papers, we offer thought leaders a platform to introduce innovative and constructive arguments, develop these in a dialogue with other stakeholders and consequently impact societal discourse. The Co:llaboratory Discussion Papers are modern-day pamphlets. At the center of the publication is a poignant and thought-provoking proposition. Selected stakeholders from civil society, academia and the technical community, the private sector as well as government and parliament, are then invited to contribute responses.

This volume focuses on the struggle for freedom of speech and human rights on the internet, an area which is - at the latest since the Arab Spring - at the foundation of today’s discourse. More and more actors are seizing the opportunity to shape the global network according to their respective interests and value systems. The internet, which emerged from a specific cultural sphere incorporating liberal (technical) values, and its governance are becoming truly globalized. But this implies that cultural differences become more apparent and the limits of freedom of speech are challenged around the world. Therefore, the governance question is not merely technical but also political, and hence require innovative and value-oriented solutions. Today, we are facing an ever growing internet governance challenge and we will have to take it up!

Thus, we should strive to find modes of governance allowing us to address the technical and cultural challenges of our complex and interdependent online and offline lives, if we want to seize the opportunities for a brighter future of humanity. The Co:llaboratory Discussion Papers are meant to contribute to a transparent, innovative, controversial and fact-based discourse about the future of the internet and society. Internet policy affects all of us, and thus its processes should involve as many stakeholders as possible. Please visit us on our website, get involved in our collaborative experiment, read further analysis and join the debate.

Gordon Süß
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