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"Trafficking Data" by Dr. Aynne Kokas

Updated: Jul 4

How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty


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.


Aynne Kokas is the C.K. Yen Professor at the Miller Center and an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ research examines Sino-U.S. media and technology relations. 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 fellow in the National Committee on United States-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. And Kokas is a recipient of Abe Fellowship.

This talk is co-hosted by the Japan Foundation and the Social Science Research Council, organized by James Farrer (Professor of Sociology, Sophia University) and Christian Hess (Associate Professor of Chinese History, Sophia University), along with Linda Grove. (Professor Emerita, Sophia University)


Flyer (PDF) Download from HERE


July 20, 2022, 06:00 PM Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo

  • Face to face (Room capacity: 30, Registration closes on July 17) and Zoom

  • Face to Face Session, please register from here F2F

  • Zoom Session, please register from here ZOOM