Research Project

Evolving Internet Interfaces: Content Control and Privacy Protection

The project aims to analyze conflicts between spheres of authority in transnational internet governance. It focusses on conflicts between public and private authority as well as on conflicts between national and international/transnational spheres. In internet governance, these interface conflicts do not take place between established, solid spheres of authority but between liquid ones. They are an essential element in the emergence and evolution of spheres of authority in a rapidly changing field which has not yet found its final shape. The project will analyze the evolution of these interface conflicts over time, the normative justifications employed and the outcomes of those conflicts. 

Project goals

  • researching the conditions under which interface conflicts within and across overlapping spheres of authority become manifest
  • finding responses to conflicting rules originating from overlapping spheres of authority
  • looking into these responses from the theoretical point of view: If responses are justified with reference to normative principles, what are these principles and how are they operationalized concretely?
  • researching the consequences of the different ways of responding to interface conflicts regarding the global order as a whole
  • moving beyond the study of issue-area specific international institutions or organizations
  • targeting the question of the international order understood as a system of overlapping and interacting spheres of authority



Academic network

  • Freie Universität Berlin (Berlin)
  • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva)
  • Helmut-Schmidt-Universität (Hamburg)
  • Hertie School of Governance (Berlin)
  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Berlin)
  • University of Potsdam (Potsdam)
  • WZB Berlin Social Science Center (Berlin)

Involved Hertie researchers