Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty

9 Dec
10:00 - 11:30 am (HKT, UCT+8)
Online via Zoom
Prof Aynne KOKAS

In Trafficking Data, Aynne Kokas looks at how technology firms in the two largest economies in the world, the United States and China, have exploited government policy (and the lack thereof) to gather information on citizens. Kokas argues that US government leadership failures, Silicon Valley's disruption fetish, and Wall Street's addiction to growth have fueled China's technological goldrush. In turn, American complacency yields an unprecedented opportunity for Chinese firms to gather data in the United States and quietly send it back to China, and by extension, to the Chinese government. Drawing on years of fieldwork in the US and China and a large trove of corporate and policy documents, Trafficking Data explains how China is fast becoming the global leader in internet governance and policy, and thus of the data that defines our public and private lives.


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The seminar will be moderated by Professor Masaru YARIME.


Professor Aynne KOKAS
C.K. Yen Professor, Miller Center Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia

Her book Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty (Oxford University Press, October 2022) argues that exploitative Silicon Valley data governance practices help China build infrastructures for global control. Her award-winning first book Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017) argues that Chinese investment and regulations have transformed the U.S. commercial media industry, most prominently in the case of media conglomerates’ leverage of global commercial brands. 

Kokas is a non-resident scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program. She has received fellowships from the Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Japan’s Abe Fellowship, and other international organizations. 

Her writing and commentary have appeared globally in more than 50 countries and 15 languages. In the United States, her research and writing appear regularly in media outlets including CNBC, NPR’s Marketplace, The Washington Post, and Wired. She has testified before the Senate Finance Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Professor Aynne KOKAS

The Division of Public Policy (PPOL) is the organizer of the seminar "Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty". The seminar is presented by Professor Aynne KOKAS and moderated by Professor Masaru YARIME on Friday, 9th December 2022. Everyone is welcome to join us via Zoom.