Media releases

  • Brock University, Niagara College to co-host Virtual Spring Clean-up

    MEDIA RELEASE: 6 April 2021 – R0043

    Brock University and Niagara College are hosting a Virtual Spring Clean-up — and they want to encourage community members to do the same.

    In an effort to help build more sustainable communities, the institutions have come together to launch a toolkit that will make it easier for the public to safely hold clean-up events across Niagara and beyond.

    Specific guidelines are provided to help students, community members and organizations take part in clean-up initiatives in a safe manner.

    The kit includes information and simple steps on how to host or join a community clean-up anytime, anywhere. Resources also direct participants to their local health guidelines to ensure all COVID-19 restrictions are followed throughout the process.

    To kick-start the community involvement as Earth Day approaches on April 22, Brock and Niagara College will host a Virtual Spring Clean-up for students from Saturday, April 17 to Sunday, April 25. This is the second joint Virtual Clean-up the schools have collaborated on, with the first held last fall.

    It was after the first event that Brock and Niagara College began receiving inquiries about how to host a clean-up, resulting in the creation of the public toolkit.

    Brock University and Niagara College students have the unique opportunity to engage in conservation activities, such as the Virtual Clean-up events, while working towards the Living Planet Leader Certification through a partnership with World Wildlife Fund-Canada (WWF-Canada).

    Participating students can become WWF-Canada Living Planet Leaders by completing a self-guided certification throughout their time at Brock and Niagara College, where they will take on sustainability-related actions in the categories of volunteerism, personal application of sustainability, application of sustainability in academics, and leadership and teamwork.

    Brock students can sign up for the Virtual Spring Clean-up on ExperienceBU, while students from Niagara College may register on the College’s Sustainability website.

    The Virtual Clean-up toolkit is available here.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

    * Maryanne St. Denis, Writer/Web Editor, Brock University or 905-246-0256

    *Julie Greco, Corporate Communications Consultant, Niagara College or 905-328-2532

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    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock expert available to comment on role of states in internet governance

    MEDIA RELEASE: 5 April 2021 – R0042

    Don’t fear the splinternet.

    That’s the advice offered up by Blayne Haggart, Associate Professor in Brock’s Department of Political Science and expert on internet governance.

    “Should we fear the splinternet — the breakup of the internet due to states playing a larger role in internet governance? I don’t think so,” says Haggart. “The question we should ask ourselves is not how we can preserve our current global internet, which privileges some things over others and has changed massively since it was created anyway, but how can we make it so the most people have their opinions, rights and values reflected in this ultra-important communications network?”

    Haggart, along with co-editors Natasha Tusikov (York University) and Jan Aart Scholte (Leiden University) and a group of global scholars, explores the issue of internet governance in Power and Authority in Internet Governance: Return of the State? published last month by Routledge.

    The book follows on a conference organized by Haggart and Tusikov when they were the first internet governance scholars to visit the Käte Hamburger Kolleg Centre for Global Cooperation Research at Germany’s University of Duisberg Essen in 2018-19.

    Haggart says fears around the “balkanization” of the internet due to state regulations stem from the misguided notion that the internet is a neutral place, when in fact it is the product of a series of decisions driven by motivations and values that often originate with American-based multinational corporations.

    “The concern should not be about whether or not governments should regulate. They have to regulate, because if they’re not going to regulate, someone else is going to do it,” Haggart says. “It would be much more fruitful to leave that debate behind and ask how we want them to regulate, what certain regulations will do and what might be gained or lost from any kind of changes that a government might bring into place.”

    According to Haggart, the idea that internet regulation is itself authoritarian when done by the state is generally misguided.

    “I’ve become increasingly concerned — and I think this is probably shared by my co-editors — that there tends to be a vilification or simplification with respect to authoritarian governments and internet governance,” says Haggart. “We wanted to talk to some people who actually know how authoritarian governments regulate the internet.”

    What the research showed was that many of the challenges that democratic states face, especially around attempting to regulate platforms, are shared by the more authoritarian regimes of China and Russia, in part because even large fines have not deterred platforms like Facebook and Google from changing their business models, driven by engagement.

    “People in internet governance are becoming increasingly concerned with human rights and how we incorporate human rights into internet governance from the network level to dealing with data, dealing with platforms, dealing with speech and content,” says Haggart. “It’s a really tough question and it’s important to know that there is no right answer, but if you want to deal with the fallout that comes from maximizing interconnection and interoperability at all costs, governments have to be involved.”

    Associate Professor of Political Science Blayne Haggart is available for media interviews.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

    * Maryanne St. Denis, Writer/Web Editor, Brock University or 905-246-0256 

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    Categories: Media releases