McMaster University’s Communications Governance Observatory (CGO), led by Dr. Sara Bannerman, Canada Research Chair in Communication Policy and Governance, is dedicated to monitoring and providing original perspectives on traditional forms of communications governance such as copyright, intellectual property, and privacy law, as well as governance undertaken through non-state actors: governance by code, technologies, and private companies. The CGO works to describe and critically assess the networked governance of communication and creativity.

Communication is increasingly regulated by technologies and private organizations, as well as by governments. This raises important questions about who governs, and how regulators are kept accountable. While some theorists are optimistic that such changes may lead to greater decentralization and democratization, others are pessimistic, arguing that networked governance in the globalized networked information economy is as exploitative and undemocratic as those that came before.

Major Projects

Dr. Bannerman and Communications Governance Observatory researchers are currently researching the privacy implications of smart cities, privacy and datified political campaigning, platform regulation in Canada, algorithmic governance, fake news, international intellectual property, and other aspects of communications governance.

Past projects have included research toward Dr. Bannerman’s book Canadian Communication Policy and Law and a study on Canadian musicians’ use of crowdfunding.



The Communications Governance Observatory issues a weekly newsletter covering news and events in Canadian and international communications policy. To view the weekly newsletter, click here. To learn more about the newsletter and how to subscribe via e-mail, click here.

Join Us

The Communications Governance Observatory welcomes all those who are working on areas of communications governance as students, researchers, and network members. We are interested in research relating to the networked governance of expression and censorship, telecommunications, broadcasting, new media, the internet, defamation, privacy, surveillance, and intellectual property, among other areas.

To join our observatory,  contact us!


Research Funding

The work of the Communications Governance Observatory is or has been funded by McMaster University, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council the Digital Ecosystems Research Challenge, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.