Virtual Forum Bits & Bäume

From commerce to commons -

Designing an Internet for the common good

We would like to draw your attention to the fourth forum Bits & Bäume "From Commerce to Commons - Designing an Internet for the Common Good"
The event will take place online on Monday, June 15, 2020 from 16 -19 hrs


About the Forum

We associate the Internet with freedom, openness, communication, networking and free information. In recent decades, however, commercial interests have grown so much that the digital space is increasingly resembling a marketplace. For example, Wikipedia is the only non-commercial offering among the 50 most visited websites worldwide. Applications that have emerged in the spirit of the Commons idea are being monetized - such as video platforms. Also in the Sharing Economy private overnight accommodations have become a business, like Couchsurfing under the label of hospitality, from which now above all the platform Airbnb earns money.

This "commercialisation of the Internet" is accompanied by an expansion of online marketing. Through personalization in combination with on- and offline tracking and AI/Big-Data applications, commercial advertising on the web is becoming more and more effective. These developments not only endanger data protection. By providing information on the company side, they also promote power asymmetries in favour of digital companies vis-à-vis the users. In addition, consumer incentives are being created and more energy is being consumed - with effects on the environment.

However, limiting commercialization is challenging, as many digital business models are based on data trading and advertising. In addition, large tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple dominate the market, squeeze out non-commercial companies and influence social opinion.

The 4th Forum Bits & Bäume will discuss how politics can promote an Internet oriented towards the common good: 

  • What solutions are there to limit commercialisation, power asymmetries and monopoly formation? 
  • How can commons-based and public-interest oriented infrastructures and services be supported? 

The promotion of cooperative models, commons structures, fair payment for digital services and the regulation of online marketing and tracking are only a few selected approaches. These and other political options for shaping an Internet oriented towards the common good will be the focus of the interactive forum. 

More information about the event and registration.



About the Forum Bits & Bäume

For more than two years, the Forum Bits & Bäume offers an open discussion space in order to focus more on the sustainable design of digitisation and to introduce scientific and civil society issues and demands into the political discourse. The events will be conducted in dialogue formats with active workshop elements in order to develop concrete policy proposals and design options and prepare them for public and political discussion. It is organized by the Junior Research Group "Digitization and Social-Ecological Transformation" of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW) and the Technical University of Berlin in cooperation with the Einstein Center Digital Future and other partners. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the Social-Ecological Research (SÖF) funding priority.