Who Regulates the Internet?

A search without end. Discussion as part of series “Digital Humanism - Shaping Transformation” at Vienna City Library.

Picture: Adobe Stock/Who is Danny

March 13th 2023

  • 18:30 – 20:00 CET
  • Wienbibliothek im Rathaus
  • 1010 Vienna, Eingang Lichtenfelsgasse
    Stiege 6, 1. Stock

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This is an event organized by a cooperation of Vienna City Library, Wiener Zeitung, and University of Applied Arts Vienna. You can register and find further information here.


The Internet is an integral part of our daily lives. It spans the globe, is decentralized and cannot be legally located. The Internet also reflects the political situation of individual countries and their legal views. However, almost all countries are of the opinion that the Internet, as a global communications network, requires regulation. There is a consensus on this.

There is no consensus on who is responsible for regulation at all and who can make multilateral, binding decisions. The key question here is how freedom rights on the Internet can be guaranteed for as many people as possible. The success of the Internet is based on a completely open architecture without surveillance and censorship. What is difficult in this context is compliance with human, international and civil rights, as well as fair global trade. So who should set the rules? The states or the stakeholders, top-down or bottom-up? Do we need agreements or tough laws? In its report “The Age of Independence,” the United Nations called for “effective, digital cooperation that strengthens multilateralism despite all the pressures.” But this requires international actors who trust each other, who think about “Internet governance” in an interdisciplinary and effective way, and who work out solutions. Because otherwise it will remain a search without end.


  • Introduction: Anita Eichinger, Director of the Vienna City Library
  • Welcome: Martin Fleischhacker, CEO of Wiener Zeitung
  • Panel Discussion: Barbara Prainsack, Professor at the Department of Political Science and Head of the Research Platform “Governance of Digital Practices” - University of Vienna
    Petra Schaper Rinkel, Professor of Science and Technology Studies of Digital Transformation and Head of IDea_Lab - The Interdisciplinary Digital Lab of the University of Graz - Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
    Stefan Woltran, Professor and Head of Research Unit “Databases and Artificial Intelligence” at TU Wien, Co-head of CAIML
  • Moderation: Thomas Seifert, Deputy Chief Editor of the Wiener Zeitung