[Virtual Series] Where, What, and Who is Digital Public Infrastructure?

November 10th, 2020 - 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

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.

Laura DeNardis will join in conversation with Beatrice Martini for the third session. They will consider the internet as an “on/off” switch and how the digitization of physical systems and places influences our most fundamental rights. They will be joined by experts building physical/digital alternatives. This session will include breakouts to give participants time to discuss potential paths forward. 



  • Lydia X. Z. Brown, Policy Counsel, Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Greta Bynum, Co-Director, Community Tech NY and The New School’s Digital Equity Lab
  • Rachel Coldicutt, Technology Strategist and Director of Research Consultancy, Careful Industries
  • Laura DeNardis, Professor and Interim Dean of the School of Communication, American University
  • Jimmy Garcia-Meza, Co-Founder and CEO, Cloudplugs
  • Beatrice Martini, Practitioner Fellow, Digital Civil Society Lab; Education Coordinator, AccessNow Digital Security Helpline
  • Marleen Stikker, Founder, Waag
  • Sander van der Waal, Project and Concept Developer, Waag

Discussion Synthesis - Prepared by Lucy Bernholz

Full Series Resources

Other Events in this Series

Digital Public Infrastructural Possibilities

October 20, 2020

Digital Public Infrastructure: A Corporation for Public Software

October 27, 2020