Category Archives: Global Media Policy

Rethinking cars as communication devices, #ANZCA2014

We presented our current thinking at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) 2014 conference last week, at Swinburne University Melbourne, Australia.

For this version, we focussed on the mobile media policy gap, i.e. how policy is slow to adapt, is ignorant towards the cultures of use and is slow to adapt, and focussed on the autonomous automobility area. The work was well received with two significant pieces of feedback.

Firstly, Ben Goldsmith pushed our thinking around the privacy concerns of cars that are driven by mobile phones. Beyond the concerns of your data being captured and used in ways not previously thought of, ala FourSquare, what are the consequences of users relying on their mobile phones to arrive at a destination to be ‘hijacked’ and re-routed. A very plausible consideration for manufacturers and policy people to address.

Given the tight time constraints, we only had time for one other comment, provided by Jason Farman asked a great question around the cyclic nature of mobile communication and and cars. Given the past development of cars ‘accommodating’ mobile phones and then becoming an ideal space for mobile communication, are we seeing a similar turn in the current thinking? I.e. mobile phones being incorporated through app development and integration to only advance to the next space of phones driving communication and entertainment in vehicles.

Certainly two great ideas from two amazing scholars that we will incorporate as we move forward with this research.

The Connected Cars Ecology

The Connected Car Ecology

We are beginning to understand the connected car ecology as a precursor to autonomous automobility. Interestingly, and form discussions with industry experts of late, autonomous automobility isn’t the issue here – driverless cars are here in various incarnations. What many specialists are saying is difficult to imagine at this stage is how cars will communicate with other cars.

A great example is an oil spill on the road. ‘In the future’ cars will identify the oil spill, proceed with caution, alert other cars to avoid the spill or proceed with caution, and alert authorities to come and fix it.

Another interesting area I have been thinking about lately was established with my recent conversation with the Zoox crew. In talking about the transition of the horse and cart technology to the combustible engine technology, low value driving was  re-introduced as a task for the driver . The driver would have taken care of the low level driving, potholes, tree branches, gradients, while the driver would have taken care of the high level driving – location A to location B. Driverless cars once again take the low level thinking out of mobility.

These are some of the threads we are developing in the latest Moving Media discussions. In the meantime, enjoy our latest visualisation of the Connected Car ecology that highlights the organisational, political and commercial actors identified in the discussion to date. More to come…

The Connected Cars Ecology

The Connected Cars Ecology


The Award Winning Dr Timothy Dwyer – Shanghai Surprise!

We are delighted to announce that recently Dr Tim Dwyer was the recipient of the Top Paper Award for the ICA Shanghai Regional Conference, 10 November 2013, for his paper Transferring Digital Media Industry Cultures: Accessing News in Asian Mobile Internets. Congratulations Tim!

Tim’s paper is not only a credit to an outstanding academic career, but also marks a significant contribution to the Media Diversity section of the Moving Media project. He has also set the benchmark for all additional outputs from the research project.

From Dr Dwyer’s paper:

As part of a broader Australian Research Council-funded project into the mobile Internet we assume the enduring importance of media diversity, in particular news diversity, as a policy priority in a convergent media era. The purpose of the news diversity research component of the Moving Media project is to investigate the implications of mobile news content provision, including for the development of media diversity policies. The research examines how news production practices operate in a context of proliferating media devices, escalating social media usage, media convergence and mobility. As people increasingly access news by way of mobile Internet-connected devices, it is suggested that mobile Internet media cannot be based upon naïve assumptions of service or content plurality, despite the expansion of online publishing outlets and delivery systems. Mobile computing and software raise complex industrial and socio-cultural questions regarding access to Smartphone news apps. By investigating the openness (and restrictedness/exclusivity) of mobile Internet platforms/news apps, the research aims to develop our understanding about how these mobile media ecologies are being used by media producers and consumer/citizens. These Asian case studies explore the dynamic relations between old and new media industries including as part of these transformations: the governance/content management of digital news apps and how this relates to other masthead content; their availability and how they’re accessed; the usage patterns of particular news brand apps; and, their affordability together with platform access and handset (cultural) histories, including branded/proprietary content arrangements associated with specific portals and telecommunications networks.

Day One, #ANZCA2013

Digital Media Regulation, credit: David S. Waller

Digital Media Regulation, credit: David S. Waller

Wednesday 3 July was the official first day of this year’s Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference. It is the yearly opportunity for communication scholars of this region to gather and share research, meet and greet with each other and develop future collaborations with colleagues from other universities. Day one was no exception with an outstanding display of research along with some provocational keynote addresses. The following is a recap on some of the significant moments I was privileged enough to catch.

The first keynote presentation was by Ang Peng Hwa who is an internet governance expert from the Nanyang Technology University. The focus of his presentation was the black out of communication in Nepal during 2006 which provided an opportunity to examine human reaction when forced to deal with an uprising and no communication channels. He also provoked us in that technology is important, but not that important – a notion I struggled with. Some key take away points include most people are not politically motivated but become so when faced with a communication blackout – media anxiety creates interest in politics; People go to the streets for information in these times creating a swell of protesters; leadership becomes localised, i.e. there are multiple leaders in an uprising where it is possible to create at a local level as opposed to national level. He then called for a liberalism approach towards media regulation with a hint of ‘nirvana’ as a humanity index.

Session two provided some wonderful papers including Donell Holloway’s look into an emerging firewatch website in WA and Simon Order’s reflection on community radio within WA. A standout paper of a parallel session was Kate Raynes-Goldie’s Radical Transparency: Privacy and Facebook. Her take on radical transparency was to examine Facebook historically as a key player to shift user behaviour in relation to privacy: Facebook always pushes the boundaries, has a reaction from the users and then eases slightly. The result has been a gradual shift in user behaviour through our approach towards privacy: user behaviour has now moved from anonymous activity to clearly identifying ourselves on the internet. Her last question was how does Google Glass challenge this current societal norm, given Google’s recent banning of pornography and facial recognition?

Session three was our turn to present our Moving Media project, but to also talk about the Mapping Global Media Policy website. Given the level of interest after this presentation from other candidates, it appears our research and the GMP website are valuable to others working in this area.

The standout presentation for the day however, was the final plenary session with MIT scholar Mia Consalvo who took us through the history of game studies and presented this in a way that most communication and media scholars could apply the thinking, or at least the game study problems, to their work. From the formalisation process of cultural policy within game studies DIGRA, to the first sports game Tennis For Two, through to the more complex issues surrounding LambdaMOO and MUD’s, Mia presented the edge of game studies that clearly overlapped with many issue media and communication scholars are faced with more broadly. She also provided us with multiple lenses to view these issues through, namely The Magic Circle which addresses how games shift between in world/out world realities, and keys and frames as a means of understanding the realms. A standout message  for me was the procedual approach of gamers where their agency is questioned: is the act of playing more important than the user agency, and if so how does that effect the user experience?

Looking forward to the coming days of ANZCA and the many new networks that are emerging amongst the scholars.

The Mobile Internet Policy Global Media Policy Section, so far…

On our other site where we are collectively contributing policy documents to the Global Media Policy website, specifically our Mobile Internet Policy section, we are starting to make some progress. There has been significant developments in the data we have collected, with each f the project’s research streams now in full swing. What this means is we have found an ever-increasing amount of policy actors relevant to mobile internet policy and have located these within a global context – inclusive of a broader set of internet governance actors. These will of course continue to develop in the coming months.

In the meantime, it is useful to visualise our work to date. Below is the sunburst representation of the policy actors involved in mobile media policy. We would encourage you to look through this static graphic here, but to also follow this through the Global Media Policy website to examine its broader position of global internet governance.


The Mobile Internet Policy section of the Global Media Policy cohort

The Mobile Internet Policy section of the Global Media Policy cohort

Early days with Global Media Policy

The kind folk at Global Media Policy (GMP) have been busy helping us develop our section on their site and we are happy to announce we have our very own space, the Mobile Internet Policy section.

As the research develops in the Moving Media project, we will contribute ‘profiles’ to the GMP site, including People, Organisations and Actors, Policy Documents and Resources to align with the taxonomy of the existing site. The objective of contributing our research findings to the GMP site is the additional profiles will highlight how the governance of mobile media and communication intersects at a global level. For example, after entering three Organisational Actors into the Mobile Internet Policy section, Apple Inc., Nokia Corporation and the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA), we can visualise how these three stakeholders interact with each other AND how they relate to other media and communication governance sections. Currently we have five visualisations available to us: List, Sunburst, Dendrogram, Network and Arc.

There is a great deal of work to develop and a significant amount of data entry required, but we have the early developing stages of a rigorous research collaboration. To start things off, here is the first visualisation we have extracted form the GMP site:

Beginning of the research

Beginning of the research