Bibi Reisdorf on her Career of Research on Digital Inequalities


Dr Bibi Reisdorf, Quello’s Post Doctoral Fellow, has been focused on digital inequalities from the earliest stages of her studies and subsequent career in academia. In a talk for the Department of Media and Information at MSU, Bibi provided an outline of her progress over time, including her most recent work focused on inequalities related to specialized groups of users, such as youth, seniors, rural residents, and her most recent focus, prisoners. The title of her talk was ‘Unlocking Potential: New Frontiers in Digital Inequality Research’, and it is viewable here:

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Muzammil Hussain on the Use of Big Data by States: China & India


Professor Muzammil Hussain visited the Quello Center and gave an informative talk based on his new multi-year project on ‘Bio-Social Data Innovation & Governance in Asia’ (Big-DIG). The Big-DIG project seeks to use qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to understand how IT infrastructure and big data mining strategies (e.g., bio-metrics and social credit systems, in India and China, respectively) are being developed and applied as governance and management tools by over 22 Asian countries with respect to their citizens. You can view his talk here.

Professor Hussain’s talk provided a valuable perspective on how big data approaches are fulfilling some of the functions of the longterm state dream of identification cards and national databases about citizens. These developments are quite different from the more positive visions of mining big data for social and economic development. It is certainly valuable that Muzammil’s research is putting the state role of big data in a new light, and to the attention of more development researchers.

Muzammil M. Hussain – Digital Rights from Quello Center on Vimeo.

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Rob Ackland on Social Media and Development


Rob Ackland, a professor at the Australian National University, was able to visit the Quello Center in early May. In addition to kicking off a valuable roundtable discussion of digital social science, he also gave a very useful talk on social media and development at a Quello Seminar on 5 May 2016. His talk, which you can view here, was based on a background paper he co-authored (with Kyosuke Tanaka) for the World Bank. The key contribution of the talk by Rob was his offering a number of competing and complementary theoretical perspectives on how social media might link to social and economic development objectives. While there have been many case studies of the Internet and other new media such as mobile phones in development processes, there is a relative absence of theoretical reasoning about the links between social media and development. Rob is an economist, but his theoretical arguments move beyond economics and merit careful examination by researchers on ICT4D (information and communication technologies for development).

Rob Ackland – Social Media and Development from Quello Center on Vimeo.

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Annie Waldherr Seminar on Food Safety in Online Issue Networks


Annie Waldherr presented a joint Media & Information and Quello Center seminar entitled “Discussing food safety in online issue networks: Empirical results and methodological prospects.”  Her talk highlighted that civil society actors concerned about food safety issues—GMOs, pesticide residues, and antibiotic-resistant superbugs—build coalitions that can eventually result in movement networks.  These connections can be empirically observed in online issue networks—sets of interlinked websites treating a common issue.

To assess mobilization potentials of actor coalitions Annie and her colleagues study the extent to which actors link to each other and to which actors talk about the same topics.  They combine hyperlink network analysis with probabilistic topic modeling to gain empirical insights on both, the structural as well as the content dimension of the issue networks.  Preliminary results for the US indicate a densely connected issue network spanning from central challenger actors to websites of mass media and political actors. A high number of issues expand through major parts of the network, such as contaminated food and regulation, genetically modified food, organic farming and sustainable agriculture. A fewer number of issues such as use of antibiotics or pollution of drinking water remain restricted to specific parts of the network.

Dr. Annie Waldherr is a Researcher in the Division of Communication Theory and Media Effects, Institute for Media and Communication Studies at Freie Universität Berlin.  Annie has used agent-based modeling (ABM) and network analysis to study computer-mediated communications processes. Her recent work using ABM was published in the Journal of Communication.



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Elizabeth Kirley’s Talk on Online Reputation and the Law


Elizabeth A. Kirley presented a talk for the Quello Center that addressed alternative approaches to protecting reputations online. Professor Adam Candeub served as a respondent. So much is said about protecting reputations online that it is brilliant to have a thoughtful and well informed discussion of international agreements on human rights, national legal doctrines, and online reputation.

Entitled ‘Trashed: A Comparative Exploration of Law’s Relevance to Online Reputation’, through case studies, Dr. Elizabeth Kirley explores the cultural and historical influences that have resulted in very distinct legal regimes and political agenda. Her central thesis is that digital speech is sufficiently different in kind from offline speech that it calls for a more 21st century response to the harms it can inflict on our reputational privacy.

Elizabeth Kirley – Trashed: A Comparative Exploration of Law’s Relevance to Online Reputation from Quello Center on Vimeo.

Dr Elizabeth Kirley is a 2015-16 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Nathanson Centre for Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in Toronto and a frequent lecturer in issues raised by digital speech, technology crimes and robotic journalism. Recent research and presentation activities include the European University Institute, Florence; the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford UK; the American Graduate School of Paris; Ecole des hautes etudes commerciales de Paris; Sciences-Po University in Paris; Osnabruck University in Germany; and the Limerick School of Law, Ireland. She is a barrister and solicitor and called to the Ontario bar.

Professor Adam Candeub is on the Law Faculty at Michigan State University, and a Research Associate with the Quello Center. He was an attorney-advisor for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Media Bureau and previously in the Common Carrier Bureau, Competitive Pricing Division. From 1998 to 2000, Professor Candeub was a litigation associate for the Washington D.C. firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, in the issues and appeals practice.

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Alexander Heffner on Civil Discourse in the New Media Age


Alexander Heffner on Civil Discourse in the New Media Age: The Open Mind Turning 60

Alexander Heffner visited the Quello Center at MSU about one year ago, to discuss his thoughts on on ‘Millennials, Public Media and The Future of Civil Discourse’. His program launched in 2014, The Open Mind, on PBS Channel THIRTEEN/WNET and CUNY TV, revived the longest-running public affairs interview program in the history of American public television, which was launched in 1956 by his grandfather, Richard Heffner. As Alexander approaches the 60th Anniversary of The Open Mind, there could not be a more appropriate time to remind ourselves of the valuable contribution of public affairs programming, and such high-quality interview programs.

Quello Lecture and Panel on ‘Millennials, Public Media and The Future of Civil Discourse’ by Alexander Heffner (NEW) from Quello Center on Vimeo.

I hope you can listen to Alexander Heffner’s brief but important talk. He spoke on how to foster a more civic-minded journalism culture, non-adversarial broadcasting in the public interest, and the critical exploration of pro-social ideas. In the midst of the primary elections for the 2016 Presidential election, it might be valuable to revisit Alexander’s ideas on how to support and renew the character of our political discourse. Clearly, the revival of The Open Mind has been a move in the right direction at the right time. My congratulations to Alexander for envisioning and finding creative ways for renewing this public affairs interview program during a time when civil and informative discourse is so important to our politics and society.

See The Open Mind at:

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Laura DeNardis on Internet Governance


Professor Laura DeNardis gave a Quello Lecture in Washington DC that updates her perspectives on the key issues facing what she refers to as the ‘destabilization’ of Internet governance. Laura is one of the world’s leading authorities on Internet policy and governance, and this video enables you to see why.

Laura DeNaris – The Destabilization of Internet Governance from Quello Center on Vimeo.

Laura was welcomed to the Quello Lecture by the Dean of MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences, Professor Prabu David, and the College’s Director of Development, Meredith Jagutis.

Bill Dutton and Laura DeNardis

Bill Dutton and Laura DeNardis

Laura DeNardis with Dean Prabu David and Meredith Jagutis

Laura DeNardis with Dean Prabu David and Meredith Jaguits

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Quello Talk on ‘Cybercrime Offending and Victimization’, by Tom Holt


Identifying Risk Factors Associated with Cybercrime Offending and Victimization

Tom Holt presented an informative talk on his research focused on who is most likely to be a victim of online cybercrime, and who is most likely to be an offender. Given the many scary stories in the media, you might find this to be a useful presentation to view. In general, he finds a number of common patterns that conform with key patterns in the real, offline world, such as the centrality of peer influence. He empirically examines the importance of traditional criminological theories in accounting for involvement in various forms of cybercrime and deviance, as well as the risk of person and property-based forms of cybercrime victimization using various data sources. The findings demonstrate that offending is partially learned through social interactions with intimate peers, as well as through latent individual traits such as impulsivity. These same factors also disproportionately increase the risk of victimization, leading to challenges for policy-makers and parents to deal with inappropriate behaviors.

Thomas J. Holt – Identifying Risk Factors Associated with Cybercrime Offending and Victimization from Quello Center on Vimeo.

Dr. Thomas J. Holt is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University specializing in cybercrime, cyberterror, and policy. He received his Ph. D. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis in 2005. He has published extensively on cybercrime and cyberterror with over 40 peer-reviewed articles in outlets such as British Journal of Criminology, Crime and Delinquency, and the Journal of Criminal Justice. Dr. Holt has
co-authored multiple books, including Cybercrime and Digital Forensics: An Introduction (Routledge), and Policing Cybercrime and Cyberterror (Carolina Academic Press). He has also given multiple presentations on cybercrime and hacking at academic and professional conferences around the world, as well as hacker conferences across the country including Defcon and HOPE.

His recent work on social media gained media coverage over a finding that 1 in 4 children are sexually harassed online – by their own friends. We hope you can join this informal noon brown bag seminar.

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What is ‘Special Access’ and Why is It So Important? by Aleks Yankelevich


Dr Aleks Yankelevich gave a one hour Quello Center brown-bag presentation entitled “Regulating the Intranet: What is Special Access and Why is it Important?” (yes Intranet, not Internet) on January 26th 2016. His talk clarified the concept of special access, how it is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, and ended with some ideas on research that might focus on this relatively under-researched area.

Aleksandr Yankelevich – Regulating the Internet – What is Special Access And Why Is It Important from Quello Center on Vimeo.

Special access lines are dedicated high-capacity connections used by businesses and institutions to transmit their voice and data traffic. These connections are used by businesses to facilitate intranet communication, by wireless providers to funnel cell phone traffic between towers, and by banks to connect to their ATMs. When the costs of special access services increase, these costs are passed on by businesses to consumers. Because many parts of the United States face limited competition in the provision of special access, these services are highly regulated. In this brown-bag seminar, Aleks will discuss the significance of the special access market, why regulation of the intranet is relatively under-studied, and briefly explain a number of FCC related proceedings with respect to special access as well as his ongoing and potential research on the topic.

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The Importance of Public Service #ChangeAgents by David A. Bray


Here is the Webcast of Dr David A. Bray’s Quello Lecture on ‘The Importance of Public Service #ChangeAgents in Exponential Times’, which was given at MSU’s Quello Center on 21 September 2015.

David Bray – The Importance of Public Service #ChangeAgents in Exponential Times from Quello Center on Vimeo.


Technology is rapidly changing our world, the 7 billion networked devices
in 2013 will double 14 billion in 2015 to anywhere between 50 to 200 billion in 2020. The ability to work and collaborate securely anywhere, anytime, on any device will reshape public service. We must ensure security and privacy are baked-in at code development level, testing
from ground up and automating alerts. Legal code and digital code must work together, enabling more inclusive work across government workers, citizen-led contributions, and public private partnerships. All together, these actions will transform Public Service to truly be “We the (Mobile, Data-Enabled, Collaborative) People” working to improve our world.

Dr. David A. Bray is a 2015 Eisenhower Fellow, Visiting Associate on Cyber Security with the University of Oxford, and Chief Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission.

He began working for the U.S. government at age 15 on computer simulations at a Department of Energy facility. In later roles he designed new telemedicine interfaces and space-based forest fire forecasting prototypes for the Department of Defense. From 1998-2000 he volunteered as an occasional crew lead with Habitat for Humanity International in the Philippines, Honduras, Romania, and Nepal while also working as a project manager with Yahoo! and a Microsoft partner firm. He then joined as IT Chief for the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leading the program’s technology response to during 9/11, anthrax in 2001, Severe Acute Respiratory System in 2003, and other international public health emergencies. He later completed a PhD in Information Systems from Emory University and two post-doctoral associateships at MIT and Harvard in 2008.

In 2009, Dr. Bray volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan to help “think differently” on military and humanitarian issues and in 2010 became a Senior National Intelligence Service Executive advocating for increased information interoperability, cybersecurity, and protection of civil liberties. In 2012, Dr. Bray became the Executive Director for the bipartisan National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, later receiving the National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal. He received both the Arthur S. Flemming Award and Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership in 2013. He also was chosen to be an Eisenhower Fellow to meet with leaders in Taiwan and Australia on multisector cyber strategies for the “Internet of Everything” in 2015.

Dr. Bray has served as the Chief Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission, leading FCC’s IT Transformation since 2013. He was selected to serve as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a Visiting Associate for the Cybersecurity Working Group on Culture at the University of Oxford in 2014. He also has been named one of the “Fed 100” for 2015 and the “Most Social CIO” globally for 2015, tweeting as @fcc_cio.

Discussion of this talk is also available online at:

David Bray – The Importance of Public Service #ChangeAgents in Exponential Times – Discussion from Quello Center on Vimeo.

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