Social scientists are increasingly interested in researching the implications of high-tech security devices, such as those used, for example, for surveillance, authentication, or risk assessment. However, a clear understanding of the inner workings of these technologies and their related processes is often missing. For many, the Internet itself remains elusive and concepts such as "the cloud" reinforce the virtual, intangible character of the digital. As a result, there is a limited understanding of how the "Information Age" is structured by material constraints, such as power consumption, bandwidth, and processing power, preventing social scientists from providing critical studies of such processes.

In this presentation, Professor Blanchette (UCLA) will give an introduction into the material dimension of computing technologies, providing a vantage point from which to better appreciate the concrete limitations of cloud computing, and how these limitations inevitably shape its future evolution.

Jean-François Blanchette is an associate professor in the Department of Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of _Burdens of Proof: Cryptographic Culture and Evidence Law in the Age of Electronic Documents_ (MIT Press, 2012), the co-editor of _Regulating the Cloud: Policy for Computing Infrastructure_ (MIT Press, 2015), and currently completing the manuscript for _Running on Bare Metal: A Material History of Bits_ (University of Chicago Press).


8:30- 8:45 Welcome (Mareile Kaufmann)

8:45 – 9:30 Key Note: Jean-Francois Blanchette, University of California LA

9:30 – 9:40 Discussant (Rocco Bellanova)

9:40 – 10:00 Open Discussion with Audience

A light breakfast will be served from 8:15 onwards.

Please register at For questions send an email to Vicky (

This breakfast seminar is organised in the framework of the NordSTEVA project.