Global governance of smart cities, facial recognition and the internet

Full Program > Panels > 3B | Global governance of smart cities, facial recognition and the internet

Global governance of smart cities, facial recognition and the internet

Day 3: 27 June 2021

Melbourne, AEST (UTC +10) | 11:15 – 12:15

Beijing, CST (UTC +8) | 09:15 – 10:15
London, BST (UTC +1) | 02:15 – 03:15
New York, EDT (UTC -4) | (26 June) 21:15 – 22:15
Los Angeles, PDT (UTC -7) | (26 June)18:15 – 19:15

Ang Peng Hwa | Nanyang Technological University
Marcus Foth | Queensland University Technology
Min Jiang | UNC Charlotte
Lorraine Kisselburgh | Purdue University

Min Jiang


The governance of the Internet and emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, facial recognition and AI and their applications throughout various industries and urban spaces presents urgent issues for data security, privacy and governance. To the extent that China has developed the only technological ecosystem over the last three decades that can rival the one based in Silicon Valley, it is necessary and critical for us to debate China’s role in the global tech ecosystem, its unique policy approaches towards data and information technologies, and the implications for global tech policymaking.

In this panel, we bring together speakers from around the world to provide comparative perspectives on the various issues and approaches to Internet governance in the US, Europe, Australia, Singapore, and China. Our panellists are academics and members of both ICA and ACM with an interest to advance interdisciplinary conversations on technology, communication, and policy.

This discussion panel on Internet policies addresses issues of privacy, security and data governance in global settings. Specifically, we are interested in governance issues that manifest in areas ranging from smart cities, facial recognition, to artificial intelligence technologies. We hope to bridge the CIRC community with international standard and policy organizations, and integrate Chinese internet discourse into global discussions on these frontier issues:

  • Global governance of data, smart cities, facial recognition, and AI; 
  • Smart cities as complex systems of technologies that provide ubiquitous connectivity of people in urban spaces; 
  • Comparative governance perspectives from the US, Europe, Australia, Singapore and China; 
  • Comparative tech policy models of China, the US, and EU; and 
  • China’s tech influence in the Global South. 

Specifically, Ang explores the implications of China’s technological independence in a tri-polar perspective of Internet governance (American, European and Chinese); Jiang analyses the relative strengths and weaknesses of China’s cyber sovereignty approach against those of US and EU in the current US-China tech rivalry, and the future possibilities of global data governance; Foth discusses the governance challenges in smart cities designed to connect people, place and technology based on Australian experiences; and finally, Kisselburgh discusses recent “soft law” policy approaches from civil and scientific society organizations, noting key points of consensus and challenging gaps in global governance of AI in the context of smart cities and facial recognition technologies.

The multidisciplinary nature of this panel will hopefully generate highly engaged discussions between panellists and the audience, and challenge communication researchers to reconsider how we contribute to and inform public policy. Coming from diverse perspectives, we will discuss interdisciplinary approaches to policy challenges, research agendas, and best practices.

Panel logistics

The session will contain: (1) 15-minute pre-recorded presentations from each panellist discussing their research and perspectives; (2) a 45-minute discussion between panel members on key research issues, policy challenges, and boundary crossing opportunities; followed by (3) a 15-min Q&A session with the audience.


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