ACM Web Science 2013, May 2-4th in Paris


Saturday Panel: How the Web will Revolutionize Society

May 2, 2013
by Harry Halpin

The very idea of a scientific study of society began in earnest in the wake of the French revolution of 1789, with the term “sociology” being coined by Auguste Comte. Today, we face a new kind of revolution – the digital revolution – whose effects may end up being just as profound as the revolution that spawned sociology. What relationship, and responsibility, does Web Science have to these revolutionary changes in society?

Hosted by Harry Halpin, this panel will invite four guests, each of whom have made ground-breaking socio-technical contributions, to debate the future of society and the Web.

  • Amelia Andersdotter represents the Pirate Party as a member of European Parliament, where she has heavily campaigned – and won – on Web issues such as fighting ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), and is now working on eID and Data Protection amongst other topics.
  • Nigel Shadbolt of University of Southampton is not only one of the founders of Web Science, but has helped establish the first state-sponsored open data portal and now co-directs the Open Data Institute with Tim Berners-Lee.
  • Louis Pouzin, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Prize and member of the Internet Hall of Fame, invented the “datagram” – sending a packets of data across a network and reconstructing them later – whe he built the CYCLADES Network, a design that later fundamentally influenced Vint Cerf in the construction of the Internet.
  • Jérémie Zimmermann is co-founder of La Quadrature du Net, a grassroots citizen advocacy group that defends freedom online against threats such as ACTA, and is a contributor to Julian Assange’s 2012 book Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet.

So there’s good reason to stay till Saturday! See you Saturday morning to debate the role of Web Science in shaping the digital revolution throughout society.

Vint Cerf Keynote

April 19, 2013
by Hugh Davis

Vint Cerf, the “godfather” of the internet and an inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame will be presenting the   opening keynote for ACM WebSci13 on the morning of Thursday May 2nd, in association with ACM CHI and the other ECRC conferences. Vint’s presentation is titled: “Conversations with a computer.”

Cory Doctorow Keynote

April 19, 2013
by Lisa Sugiura

Cory Doctorow is a novelist and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (<>), and a contributor to The Guardian, the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He was formerly Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a Visiting Senior Lecturer; in 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.

His latest young adult novel is PIRATE CINEMA, a story of mashup guerillas who declare war on the entertainment industry. His latest novel for adults is RAPTURE OF THE NERDS, written with Charles Stross and published in 2012. His 2008 Bestseller LITTLE BROTHER describes a kid with a knack for programming who finds himself leading the  resistance to a government takeover of the Web. A sequel, HOMELAND, will be published this February.

Cory’s presentation is titled: “Computer scientists save the world” or, “HOWTO: teach politicians the most important thing they need to understand about general purpose computers and end-to-end networks.” Of all the technical fallacies that politicians fall prey to, none is so deadly as the idea that you can solve problems by selectively breaking computers. What’s more, the problem is about to get much, much worse. Computer scientists must close ranks on this score and make policymakers understand that there is no such thing as a computer that runs every program we can compile except for the one that frightens voters, and that trying to solve problems by selectively breaking computers inevitably converges on rootkits.


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