we research power and contestation in transnational media infrastructures. the critical infrastructure lab aims to create space to co-develop alternative infrastructural futures that center people and planet over profit and capital. we aim to do this by establishing a community around three infrastructural subtopic (geopolitics, standards, environment), producing a sound body of research, and developing actionable policy recommendations and strategic insights. do you want to know more? have a look at our slide deck or send us a message.

upcoming activities

open reading group infrastructure reading group

open reading group environment reading group

call for papers Open Panel “Exploring, doing, and making infrastructural ideologies that center limits, reduction, and redistribution” at EASST-4S conference, Amsterdam July 2024

call for papers Open Panel “Making 5G Matter: Transformations in Network Infrastructure and Research” at EASST-4S Conference, Amsterdam July 2024

publications

consultation White Paper “How to Meet Europe’s Digital Infrastructure Needs? (in Dutch) - consultation submission by the critical infrastructure lab June 2024

report Network paradigms and infrastructural ideologies: Standards and protocols in a geopolitical context, Maxigas, https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10912418 april 2024

report Down with Data Centres: Developing Critical Policy - report on a workshop organised at Privacy Camp 2024 by University of Delft and the critical infrastructure lab, Fieke Jansen & Corinne Cath, https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.11059837 march 2024

podcast Eaten by the Internet with Dr. Corinne Cath & Dr. Fieke Jansen Futures podcast

academic publication Internet Sanctions on Russian Media: Actions and Effects. Free and Open Communications on the Internet 2024, 1:1–12, Kristoff, John, Moritz Müller, Arturo Filastò, Max Resing, Chris Kanich, and Niels ten Oever. 2024

research article Interrogating the standardisation of surveillance in 5G amid US–China competition. Information, Communication & Society, ten Oever, Niels, and Nanni Riccardo. January 2024

academic publication Infrastructural Insecurity: Geopolitics in the Standardization of Telecommunications Networks. Media International Australia, ten Oever, Niels, and Christoph Becker. January 2024, https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X231225748

academic publication Website blocking in the European Union: Network interference from the perspective of Open Internet Policy and Internet, Vasilis Ververis, Lucas Lasota, Tatiana Ermakova, Benjamin Fabian. September 2023, https://doi.org/10.1002/poi3.367

podcast Tech Talk: Talking Tech with Mallory Knodel and Niels ten Oever On Inclusive Language in Internet Standards

report Shifting terrain: “Standards, Protocols, Ecosystem” — Report on a round-table discussion Maxigas and Alek Tarkowski, funded by the ford foundation and DIGI at new america, https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10155807 november 2023

book Eaten by the Internet, edited by Corinne Cath October 2023

report Exploring the public interest in media infrastructures through the lenses of geopolitics, standards, and the environment. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10002322 october 2023

report Digital infrastructures and environmental justice: policies, practices, and visions. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2023i0.13522 october 2023

special issue branch magazine: issue #6 green screen, Katrin Fritsch, Fieke Jansen, Maya Richman, and Katherine Waters. September 2023

academic publication geopolitics in the infrastructural ideology of 5G. maxigas and niels ten oever. global media & china, Global Media and China, Auigust 2023, https://doi.org/10.1177/20594364231193950.

working paper fieke jansen, merve gülmez, becky kazansky, harriet kingaby, claire fernandez, and jan tobias mühlberg. 2023. the climate crisis is a digital rights crisis: exploring the civil-society framing of two intersecting disasters. ninth workshop on computing within limits

report building a relational infrastructure; the launch of the critical infrastructure lab, fieke jansen, niels ten oever, maxigas, et al (2023)

report loud men talking loudly report on exclusionary cultures of internet governance, corinne cath, funded by the ford foundation, april 2023

report thinking infrastructurally about open source software thomas streinz, funded by the ford foundation, april 2023

essay fieke jansen. 2023. Article 37 Environment protection, internet infrastructure and the data economy, in Giannopoulou (ed) digital rights are charter rights. digital freedom fund, pp. 50-52

media podcast by bits of freedom featuring fieke jansen introducing the lab, april 2023

media radio interview at dutch public national broadcaster radio 1 on internet shutdowns, april 2023

working paper ten oever, niels. towards the multistakeholder imposition of internet sanctions, 2022

academic publication ten oever, niels. 2022. 5g and the notion of network ideology, or: the limitations of sociotechnical imaginaries, telecommunications policy, elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.telpol.2022.102442

academic publication ten oever, niels, corinne cath, mirja kühlewind, and colin perkins. report from the iab workshop on analyzing ietf data (aid) 2021. request for comments. internet engineering task force, september 2022. doi: 10.17487/rfc9307.

academic publication ten oever, niels, and stefania milan. the making of international communication standards: towards a theory of power in standardization in journal of standardisation 1 (june 29, 2022). https://doi.org/10.18757/jos.2022.6205.

academic publication becker, christoph., ten oever, niels, and riccardo nanni. the standardisation of lawful interception technologies in the 3gpp: interrogating 5g and surveillance amid us-china competition, washington dc: tprc2022

working paper maxigas and ten oever, niels. the people’s 5g laboratory: critical perspectives on media technologies, 2021

report human rights are not a bug: upgrading governance for an equitable internet report about the governance of the internet infrastructure, funded by the ford foundation, 2021

academic publication ten oever, niels. 2021. 5g and the notion of network ideology, or: the limitations of sociotechnical imaginaries in giganet annual symposium 2021 proceedings. katowice: giganet, internet governance forum

academic publication dunajcsik, peter “maxigas,” and niels ten oever. 2021. geopolitics in the infrastructural ideologies of 5g aoir selected papers of internet research, aoir2021 https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12163.

academic publication ten oever, niels. 2021. the quantum state of infrastructure reconfiguration in 5g in selected papers in internet research 2021. research from the annual conference of the association of internet researchers. aoir 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12056.

academic publication ten oever, niels (2021) norm conflict in the governance of transnational and distributed infrastructures: the case of internet routing, globalizations, doi: (doi:10.1080/14747731.2021.1953221)

ten oever, niels (2021) “this is not how we imagined it”: technological affordances, economic drivers, and the internet architecture imaginary. new media & society. 2021;23(2):344-362. (doi:10.1177/1461444820929320)

software benthall, sebastian, nick doty, niels ten oever, and christoph becker. bigbang (version 0.4.0). python, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5243261.

people and governance

people

niels ten oever

niels@criticalinfralab.net – co-principal investigator – geopolitics lead

niels is assistant professor of ai and european democracies and co-principal investigator with the critical infrastructure lab at the university of amsterdam. next to that, he is a research fellow with the centre for internet and human rights at the european university viadrina, non-resident fellow with the center for democracy and technology, affiliated faculty with the digital democracy institute at the simon fraser university, and an associated scholar with the centro de tecnologia e sociedade at the fundação getúlio vargas. he also serves as vice-chair for the global internet governance academic network. his research focuses on how norms, values, and ideologies get inscribed, resisted, and subverted in communication infrastructures through their transnational governance.

niels tries to understand how invisible infrastructures provide a socio-technical ordering to information societies and how this influences the distribution of wealth, power, and possibilities.

maxigas

peter ‘maxigas’ dunajcsik – maxigas@criticalinfralab.net – co-principal investigator – standards lead

maxigas is senior lecturer in media & culture at the media department of the university of amsterdam. he interested in hacker culture, cybernetic ideologies, infrastructural imaginaries, and the materiality of the digital. he uses media ethnography and digital methods to answer philosophical questions about contemporary social conflicts. with a thoroughly interdisciplinary background in the social sciences and humanities, a decade long industry experience in it, and a history of media activist practice, he brings a theoretically sophisticated, technologically grounded, politically savvy perspective to debates on media and culture. his papers have been published in leading journals in science and technology studies as well as media studies, from the social studies in science, through the journal of peer production, to most recently in the internet policy review.

fieke jansen

fieke jansen – fieke@criticalinfralab.net – co-principal investigator – environment lead

fieke is a postdoc researcher at the university of amsterdam. previously she was a postdoc at the data justice lab at cardiff university, where she researched the relationship between datafication on labour in the netherlands. in her phd she looked at the institutional and societal implications of data-driven risk scoring and biometric recognition in brussels, belgium, the netherlands, and the uk. fieke is a former mozilla and green web foundation fellow where she explored ways to frame the climate crisis as a core digital rights issue. prior to starting her phd fieke worked for hivos where she set up the digital defenders partnership and at tactical tech where she lead the politics of data program.

fieke's research interest is to understand how the material impact of expending infrastructures are shaping the management, distribution, and depletion of natural resources.

nadia gorchakova

nadia gorchakova -- nadia@criticalinfralab.net -- program manager

nadia is a program manager at the critical infrastructure lab and has a background at the intersection of technology and climate justice. in her previous role, nadia worked for a global climate advocacy 350.org where she and her team managed the digital infrastructure of the organization.

sarah vorndran

sarah -- sarah@criticalinfralab.net -- research assistant

sarah is a research assistant at the critical infrastructure lab with an interdisciplinary background in area- and media studies. her soft spot for design and its socio-technical dimensions manifests in creative explorations of urban infrastructures and digital interfaces. 

In her previous role, sarah assisted research on the modelling of uncertainty in climate communication, funded by the chinese university of hong kong. formerly, she was also affiliated with the educational radio às margens da cidade at the universidade federal de são carlos, where she participated as researcher on urban inequalities in brazil.

fellows

corinne cath

corinne@criticalinfralab.net – fellow 2023-2024 – environment

corinne is an anthropologist studying internet infrastructure politics. she brings ethnographic praxis to the study of computing cultures, cloud politics, and internet governance. 

as an inaugural critical infrastructure lab fellow, she will be investigating the rough cultures that define internet governance communities and how cloud computing is changing power dynamics in the internet industry. she also has a keen interest in researching the intersection between space governance and internet technologies, including satellites and cosmic content delivery networks.

andreas baur

andreas@criticalinfralab.net – fellow 2023-2024 – geopolitics

Andreas Baur is a research associate at the International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW), University of Tübingen, Germany. There, he has been working on several research projects on IT infrastructures and their governance, technology ethics, security, and privacy. He is an external PhD candidate working on ‘The Politics of the Cloud’ at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam.

Andreas’ research focuses on the intersection between information and security technologies and society, especially with regards to questions of power, autonomy, and dependency.

jen liu

jen@criticalinfralab.net – fellow 2024-2025 – environment

Jen Liu is a researcher and designer studying the ecological, social, and political implications of computing technologies and infrastructures. She is currently a PhD candidate in Information Science at Cornell University where she is studying the impact of climate change on networked infrastructures in coastal landscapes. 

senka hadzic

senka@criticalinfralab.net – fellow 2024-2025 – environment, standards

Senka is a researcher interested in affordable last mile connectivity solutions for remote areas and disadvantaged populations.
As an Information Control Fellow supported by the Open Technology Fund, Senka is working with the critical infrastructure lab team on the digital security aspects and resilience of last mile solutions, such as community networks.

Thymen Gomperts

fellow 2024-2025 – standards

Thymen Gomperts is a carpenter and builder situated in the historic heart of Amsterdam. The building industry has always been deeply entangled with the development and practical application of infrastructure and standards.

Being both practically involved and highly interested in the subject, he helps give the lab insights into the common problems associated with organizing and applying infrastructure and standards in the real world and its changes throughout history.

becoming a fellow

are you interested in becoming a fellow? for us a fellow is someone  who is connected to the infrastructure lab and adds to the body of knowledge and activities of the lab. the relationship should be mutually beneficial and contribute to creating new infrastructural imaginaries. fellows are selected for an academic year with the possibility to add another year. what we request of you is that you join our reading groups, organize an activity, and/or (co-)author a paper with us. what can we offer: an affiliation, participation in the (intellectual life of the) lab and the possibility to present on lab days, and have a space and platform to co-organize something. if needed, we can also explore if we can be fiscal sponsor for your projects. we provide desk space if needed. interested? contact one of the co-pis!

former fellows & staff

Szilvia Mondel

project manager

Szilvia Mondel was the first project manager of the critical infrastructure lab. she has extensive experience with managing educational and institutional projects at the university of amsterdam. her organizational, administrative, and logistical skills were indispensable to running the critical infrastructure lab. she also loves windsurfing and painting.

ellen strickland

fellow 2023-2024 – geopolitics

ellen is an internet policy practitioner and researcher who has been studying and engaging in the shaping of internet governance and infrastructure since the early 2000s, during the WSIS process. She has engaged from across sectors, including as a government official, technical community leader, civil society advocate, and satellite investment company founder.

as a fellow she was reflecting on approaches to research and praxis, building on her previous research grounded in a critical political economy perspective and exploring discursive and sociological practices of internet policymaking.

she has a keen interest in reform of multilateral and multistakeholder Internet governance, as well as Internet infrastructure development to help people respond to and reduce the impacts of climate crisis. 

vasilis ververis

fellow 2023-2024 – standards

vasilis is a researcher studying the technical implications of internet censorship in the eu and worldwide.

during their fellowship at the critical infrastructure lab, vasilis worked on a system that can track, categorize, and enumerate incidents of internet censorship, and network disruptions due to human or natural disasters that affect websites and Internet services. 

jenna ruddock

fellow 2023-2024 – environment

jenna is a researcher and advocate interested in the intersections of law, technology, media and environmental justice.

as a critical infrastructure lab fellow, she continued her research on data centers, water use, and community resistance/governance. this work aimed to situate data center construction, operations, and expansion within a broader history of industrial infrastructure politics. 

jef ausloos

fellow 2024 – geopolitics

jef ausloos is an assistant professor at the institute for information law at the university of Amsterdam, and a research fellow at the centre for IT & IP law at the university of Leuven. His work is driven by a critical understanding of the political economy of digital infrastructures and a desire for social change. Jef has worked in/with NGOs and people across disciplines and geographies. Currently, his work mainly centres around data rights and transparency of digital infrastructures.

visiting the lab

if you want to come visit us, you can do so every Wednesday between 14:00 – 16:00 at turfdraagsterpad 9, 1012 XT in amsterdam, room 0.12.