Nicolas Suzor researches the regulation of networked society. He is a Professor at the Law School at Queensland University of Technology, and one of the leaders of QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre. He is also a Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. His research examines the governance of the internet and social networks, the regulation of automated systems, digital copyright, and knowledge commons. Nic is a member of the Oversight Board, an independent organisation that hears appeals and makes binding decisions about what content Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove, based on international human rights norms. He is the author of Lawless: the secret rules that govern our digital lives (Cambridge, 2019).
Nic teaches intellectual property and technology law at QUT. He is an award winning educator, receiving QUT’s David Gardiner Teacher of the Year medal in 2016 and was nationally recognised as a recipient of an Australian Awards for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2017 for his engaging and innovative teaching.
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Funding, research integrity, and other organisations
I believe strongly in the importance of independent scholarship. I commit to upholding the ethical principles of academic research, including particularly the shared statement from Robin Feldman et al., Open Letter on Ethical Norms in Intellectual Property Scholarship, 29 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 1-14 (2016). In accordance with these principles, I do not accept funding from sources that impose restrictions on the publication of research results.
Organisations I have been affiliated with:
- From 2020, I am one of the inaugural members of the Oversight Board, an independent organisation that hears appeals and makes binding decisions about what content Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove, based on international human rights norms.
- From 2016 – 2020, I was a founding board member and Deputy Chair of Digital Rights Watch, an Australian non-profit organisation whose mission is to ensure that Australian citizens are equipped, empowered and enabled to uphold their digital rights.
- From 2014 – 2020, I was the Chapter Lead of the Creative Commons Australia project.
- From 2007 – 2010, I was a member of the Board of Electronic Frontiers Australia, including periods as Chair and Deputy Chair.
In the interests of promoting transparency in academic research, I have received funding from the following sources:
- The Australian Research Council
- The Australian Digital Alliance
- The Queensland Taxi Council
- The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
- The Consumer Policy Research Center
- The OECD
- The Conversation
In addition to this research funding, I have consulted with various industry organisations, including Facebook and Google. This work is a direct extension of my research, where I seek to further the public interest in technology policy. I am not paid for this work, but I do accept funding for travel expenses.
None of these organizations has any right to exercise editorial control over my research publications.
I am one of the inaugural members of the Oversight Board, an independent organisation that hears appeals and makes binding decisions about what content Facebook and Instagram should allow or remove. We work to improve accountability and help ensure that Facebook’s rules align with global human rights norms.
The Oversight Board is governed by an independent trust. It is funded by Facebook, but Facebook has no ongoing power to interfere with the operation of the Board. Board Members are expected and empowered to exercise independent judgment, and that independence is guaranteed through the Board’s Charter and Bylaws. We aim to hold Facebook to account, and we are committed to being a strong, independent force to promote freedom of expression and respect for fundamental rights.
Nothing in my relationship with the Oversight Board will compromise the independence of my scholarship or my willingness to speak out about the impact that tech companies have on our human rights. I have committed to maintaining the confidentiality of Oversight Board proceedings — this is critical to ensure we can do our work. Importantly, however, no entity is entitled to interfere with my research or publication of results.