SMIT-IBBT research on global internet governance

  • Audenhove L
  • Morganti L
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Both authors work at the research institute SMIT of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. SMIT is part of the Flemish IBBT, which is a multidisciplinary virtual research centre, representing 18 research centres in the area of ICTs and broadband research. The IBBT was set up to stimulate research between industry and universities. SMIT is one of the four research centres focussing on policy, business and user research in projects mainly focussing on technological innovation. This introduction is important because this setting gives us access to state-of-the-art technological developments and insights into upcoming evolutions influencing the future of the Internet. Our current research on Internet related policies is closely associated with ongoing research projects. EtoE QoE (End to End Quality of Experience) focuses on guarantying quality of service of video based applications going over different (both fixed, mobile and wireless) networks. Video Q-sac (Video to the Home - Quality sensing, aggregation, & control)—carried out in collaboration with different industrial players—focuses on network management technology both in the network and the house—distributing video in an intelligent way over wifi. From a user perspective we are looking at how people use different types of video and how viewing behavior is starting to shift, both in terms of content, what types of video do people watch on what types of screens (computer, TV, iPod, etc.) and in terms of place (living room, kitchen, kids rooms, etc.) and interaction with other persons. From a business perspective we are looking into the role of quality and trust in current and possible future business models for video content. From a policy perspective we have developed a new conceptual model for analysing control issues at the level of the network i.e. the distribution of content, which is guiding our current and future research into policy questions on the Internet. In this framework we focus on how the industry and government are starting to control central aspects of distribution i.e. time, space, speed, quality, access and attention. The conceptual framework consists of three layers i.e. the actors involved, the central aspects of control, the new technology and software applications allowing control and the regulatory framework influencing what and how it can be controlled. By using a conceptual framework we hope to be able to systematise our research into a more comprehensive understanding of what is happening in the Internet sphere. By also integrating our research on users and business models we hope to be able to come up with more nuanced policy analysis and proposals. Concretely for 2008 we are focussing on issues of controlling quality in the local network and the related discussion on net neutrality, on the possible shift from DRM to filtering in the network and the related policy discussions, on DRM technologies and related policy discussions. Projects in the pipeline are projects on video filtering software using watermarking and perceptual hashing.




Audenhove, L. V., & Morganti, L. (2008). SMIT-IBBT research on global internet governance. In 1st International Giganet Workshop. Paris,France.

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