Information may want to be free, but there are a multitude of economic and political forces that aim to control information flows, especially between nation-states. This talk will explore the geopolitics of the gigabyte, or the various ways in which nation-states aim to exert control — via policy, economic tools, discourse, and infrastructure — over transnational information flows. Specific attention will be paid to case studies examining investments in circumvention technology, protections from foreign technology companies, contests over internet governance, and the development of intranet-based systems in order to explore the overlapping complexity of geopolitical competition in this space.
Shawn Powers serves as the acting chief strategy officer at the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) where he focuses on strategic planning, innovation, research and evaluation, and policy coordination for USAGM, as well as positioning the agency within the broader U.S. government and with key stakeholders. He has a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC) and more than a decade of experience working at the nexus of public diplomacy, technology, and national security.
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