Will The Internet Always Be American?


The internet embodied American values of openness and free speech when it came into its own at a time of exuberant globalization. To this day, the leading players connecting millions of people around the world to ideas and to each other are U.S. firms -- the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Alphabet, and Microsoft.

We are now entering a period of resurgent nationalism, when everyone from European regulators to authoritarian regime censors and even the U.S. government appear eager to reassert more control and oversight of the internet.

What does this nationalistic, populist backlash portend for the future of the American-centric internet and the values that initially defined it?

Join Future Tense on Tuesday, January 24, in Washington, D.C., to explore the internet’s nationality, the extent to which it’s an expression of American culture, and to ask if that's about to change.

Lunch will be served.

Follow the conversation online using #AmericanInternet and by following @FutureTenseNow.

Future Tense is a partnership of Arizona State University, New America, and Slate.


Andrés Martinez
Editorial Director, Future Tense


12:00 pm Introduction

12:05 pm The Internet's Identity Crisis: Trojan Horse for Free Speech or Censorship?

Rebecca MacKinnon
Director, Ranking Digital Rights, New America
Author, Consent of the Networked
Co-founder, Global Voices

Emily Parker
Author, Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground
Future Tense Fellow, New America

Nu Wexler
Senior Manager of Communications, Twitter

12:35 pm Data's Yearning to Transcend Borders and Boundaries

Carolyn Nguyen
Director of Technology Policy, Microsoft

Ross Schulman
Co-Director, Cybersecurity Initiative at New America
Senior Policy Counsel, New America’s Open Technology Institute

Jennifer Daskal
Associate Professor of Law, American University

1:05 pm Live-Streaming the Chinese Dream  

Hao Wu
Fellow, New America
Documentary Filmmaker

1:15 pm The Universality of Online Culture 

Ellery Roberts Biddle
Advocacy Director, Global Voices
Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Joshua Keating
Staff Writer, Slate

Hao Wu
Fellow, New America
Documentary Filmmaker