Whose technology? Whose interests? Power and influence in the Digital Age
Topics for the 2021 edition include:
Content moderation, neutrality, and big tech – Over the past years, policymakers, activists, and the media began to look deeply at social media companies, their content moderation policies, and whose views they amplify. In recent months and weeks, with Trump banned from many platforms, this focus has only intensified.
5G, security, and geopolitics
The rollout of 5G has been accelerating and with it policy debates on whether NATO allies and Eastern Partnership states should purchase such technology from China.
Financial systems, cryptocurrency, and sovereignty
Financial systems are anything but borderless. Laws – and sanctions regimes – continue to target payment processors and systems such as SWIFT, which are tied much more closely to traditional structures of power and sovereignty than their marketing would suggest.
Online social movements, radicalisation, and authoritarian responses
Social movements—both moderate and radical—begin and spread online. What role does online radicalisation play and what steps, such as internet blockages, do authoritarian states sometimes take to undermine such movements?
Anatomy of a journalistic investigation
This year, we will invite a journalist to guide our participants through a prominent investigation that touched upon digital affairs or big tech. We will learn, in step-by-step detail, how such an investigation was set up, what tools it used, the ways in which it uncovered information, and what we can do to better support high-quality journalism.
This session will look back at the disinformation related to the pandemic and vaccines which dominated the headlines in 2021. It will investigate what the main disinformation actors were and whose interests they represented.
Open source investigations
The Internet gave us easy access to plenty of open sources – including satellite imagery, social media data, and transport information. All of those can be used for journalistic and other investigations.
The security training will take participants through encrypted messengers, online privacy, threat modelling, and much more.
Digital Transatlantic Rift
This session explores why the US and EU so often disagree on matters related to digital regulation. Very often, the reasons for the disagreement go beyond economic matters alone: they frequently touch on different political and legal cultures, varied conceptions of freedom, disputed definitions of monopoly, and much more.
Dates and location:
WEASA 2021will take place in July 12-21 2021. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and in the interest of the safety of our participants and staff, we have opted to organize the 2021 edition of the academy in a wholly online format.
Participants and eligibility:
WEASA 2021 is addressed to participants coming from a cross-section of society and specifically from public administration, academia, think-tanks, media and civil society organizations.
We welcome applicants who are citizens and residents of the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans. We typically look for mid-career professionals (usually those with at least five years of professional experience), who work as policy analysts, experts, advisers, civil servants, journalists, private sector specialists and in NGOs and are interested in WEASA related topics.
Please note that WEASA 2021 sessions will all be designed with a non-technical audience in mind – you don’t need to be a digital expert in order to sign up!