[Virtual Series] Digital Public Infrastructure: A Corporation for Public Software

October 27th, 2020 - 9:00 am to 10:30 am

Online Event


Event Series – Reclaiming Digital Infrastructure for the Public Interest

Learn more about the rest of the series

Session Description

Imagine living in a society in which most of the land and buildings available for meeting and working were owned by a few for-profit corporations. Churches, governments, groups of friends, schools, nonprofits, and grassroots social movements would each have to reserve space on — or have a key to — a privately-owned facility, often on a large corporate campus, in order to meet and work together. It would be a society with no domed capitol buildings, city halls, temples, open campuses, public parks, community centers, or nonprofit spaces. 

Fortunately, this is not the society we live in, but it does describe the online spaces where our digital information is stored and where much of contemporary life – including civil society action – now takes place. This scenario is inherently threatening to democracies, in which free expression and public participation presuppose people have both the ability and space to assemble outside of corporate or government monitoring.

Please join us in Reclaiming Digital Infrastructure for the Public Interest. This is a 3-part series to build awareness, intention, and engagement in an ecosystem of ideas and practices that could bring into being digital infrastructure that aligns with community aspirations, protects personal and group safety, and prioritizes people, communities, and a public good.

The second session features John Gastil and Todd Davies’s proposal for a Corporation for Public Software. They will be in conversation with experts on regulatory, legal, and conceptual approaches to how we think about infrastructure. All of the sessions will include time for participation by attendees.



  • Derrick Cogburn, Professor, American University; Executive Director, Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP); Faculty Co-Director, Internet Governance Lab
  • Todd Davies, Academic Research and Program Officer, Symbolic Systems Program and Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University
  • Melanie Dulong du Rosnay, Associate Research Professor, French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • John Gastil, Distinguished Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences, Penn State University
  • Jasmine McNealy, Associate Professor of Telecommunication, University of Florida
  • Catherine Sandoval, Associate Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law

DPI Series Booklet

[pdf-embedder url='https://pacscenter.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/DPI-Series-Booklet_FINAL_DIGITAL.pdf']

Discussion Synthesis: Prepared by Lucy Bernholz

[pdf-embedder url=”https://pacscenter.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/DPI-Oct-27-Session-2-Reflection-Doc.pdf” title=”DPI Oct 27 Session 2 Reflection Doc”]

More Resources

[pdf-embedder url=”https://pacscenter.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/DPI-Oct-27-Session-2-Resource-Links.pdf” title=”DPI Oct 27 Session 2 Resource Links”]

Other Events in this Series

Digital Public Infrastructural Possibilities

October 20, 2020

Where, What, and Who is Digital Public Infrastructure?

November 10, 2020