Exploring power, digital technology and global politics through a study of disputes between the United Kingdom and technology companies

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Computer Science


Recent events such as the decision to remove news items from Facebook in Australia or the suspension of President Trump's accounts from various social media networks have highlighted how the role of technology companies in society is increasingly contested on the basis of power. This concern over power is reflected in the increasing numbers of regulatory investigations and actions by actors like the Competition and Markets Authority and the Federal Trade Commission. However, the power of technology companies is also observed in non-economic fields as technology companies impact freedom of expression and other digital rights, digital accessibility and countless other areas.

International Relations (IR) has so far neglected a thorough conceptualisation of technology companies' influence and authority in global politics. To challenge this omission, I adopt a social construction of technology (SCOT) approach to theorize the power of technology companies as international actors and digital technologies as institutions. I study three disputes around digital technology between the United Kingdom and technology companies to examine the relationship between technology companies and state power.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022503/1 01/04/2019 30/09/2027
2253308 Studentship EP/S022503/1 23/09/2019 30/09/2023 Niamh Healy