The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World

Subtitle featuring author, Jennifer E. Rothman, Professor of Law and Joseph Scott Fellow, Loyola Law School Teaser

Jennifer E. Rothman will be talking about her book, The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World (Harvard University Press 2018).She challenges the conventional story of the right of publicity's development, and questions the transformation of people into intellectual property.

Parent Event Berkman Klein Luncheon Series Event Date Apr 3 2018 12:00pm to Apr 3 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Harvard Law School campus
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East A (Room 2036, second floor)
RSVP required to attend in person
Event will be live webcast at 12:00 pm

Who controls how one's identity is used by others? This legal question, centuries old, demands greater scrutiny in the Internet Age. Jennifer Rothman uses the right of publicity - a little-known law, often wielded by celebrities - to answer that question not just for the famous, but for everyone. Rothman challenges the conventional story of the right of publicity's development, and questions its transformation of people into intellectual property. This shift and the right's subsequent expansion undermine individual liberty, restrict free speech, and suppress artistic works.

About Jennifer

Jennifer E. Rothman is Professor of Law and the Joseph Scott Fellow at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.  She joined the Loyola faculty from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was an Associate Professor of Law.  Professor Rothman currently teaches Trademarks and Unfair Competition, Torts, Intellectual Property Theory and the Right of Publicity. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and an affiliated fellow at the Yale Information Society Project at Yale Law School. 

Professor Rothman is nationally recognized for her scholarship in the intellectual property field, and has become the leading expert on the right of publicity. She researches and writes primarily in the areas of intellectual property and constitutional law. In addition to focusing on conflicts between IP rights and other constitutionally protected rights, such as the freedom of speech, her work also explores the intersections of tort and property law, particularly in the context of the right of publicity and trademark and unfair competition law. Her forthcoming book, The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World, will be published by Harvard University Press. Professor Rothman created Rothman’s Roadmap to the Right of, the go-to-website for right-of-publicity questions and news.

Rothman’s essays and articles regularly appear in top law reviews and journals, including Cornell Law Review, Georgetown Law JournalVirginia Law Review, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy and the Stanford Law & Policy Review. She is regularly invited to speak at a variety of esteemed institutions, including Columbia, Michigan, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, U.C. Berkeley, UCLA and Yale.

Rothman received her A.B. from Princeton University where she received the Asher Hinds Book Prize and the Grace May Tilton Prize.  Rothman received an M.F.A. in film production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she directed an award-winning documentary.  Rothman then worked in the film industry for a number of years, including positions at Paramount Pictures and Castle Rock Entertainment.

Rothman received her J.D. from UCLA, where she graduated first in her class and won the Jerry Pacht Memorial Constitutional Law Award for her scholarship in that field.  Rothman served as law clerk to the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco and then practiced as an entertainment and intellectual property litigator in Los Angeles at Irell & Manella.




Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Accuracy, Fairness, and Limits of Predicting Recidivism

Subtitle featuring Julia Dressel Teaser

COMPAS is a software used across the country to predict who will commit future crimes. It doesn’t perform any better than untrained people who responded to an online survey.

Parent Event Berkman Klein Luncheon Series Event Date Mar 6 2018 12:00pm to Mar 6 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus
Pound Hall, Ballantine Classroom
Room 101
RSVP required to attend in person
Event will be live webcast at 12:00 pm

Algorithms for predicting recidivism are commonly used to assess a criminal defendant’s likelihood of committing a crime. Proponents of these systems argue that big data and advanced machine learning make these analyses more accurate and less biased than humans. However, our study shows that the widely used commercial risk assessment software COMPAS is no more accurate or fair than predictions made by people with little or no criminal justice expertise.   This event is supported by the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. In conjunction with the MIT Media Lab, the Initiative is developing activities, research, and tools to ensure that fast-advancing AI serves the public good. Learn more at  

About Julia

Julia Dressel recently graduated from Dartmouth College, where she majored in both Computer Science and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is currently a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Her interests are in the intersection of technology and bias.   



Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Yemen War Online: Propagation of Censored Content on Twitter


This study documents and analyzes the sharing of information on Twitter among different political groups related to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. 

Publication Date 28 Feb 2018 Author(s) Thumbnail Image: External Links: Online reportDownload from DASH

This study, conducted by the Internet Monitor project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, analyzes the sharing of information on Twitter among different political groups related to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. The study finds that the networks on Twitter are organized around and segregate along political lines. The networks cite web content, including censored websites, that reflects and informs their collective framing of the politically sensitive issues. Each of the factions relies almost entirely on their own sources of information.

The study also tests for the availability of this open web content shared on Twitter in the countries most engaged in the public debate over the conflict and find that national filtering policies also seek to shape the narrative by blocking views and perspectives that diverge from government positions on the conflict. While selective exposure to web content is often associated with polarization, the paper shows that social media—in this case Twitter—is used to propagate censored content from the open web, making it more visible to users behind open-web filtering regimes. The evidence shows that government attempts to corral social media users into government-friendly media bubbles does not work, although government filters make it more difficult to access some content. Instead, social media users coalesce into self-defined media spheres aligned around social and political affinities.

Producer Intro Authored by
Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Your Guide to BKC@SXSW 2018


Headed to SXSW this year? If so, be sure to check out some of these panels and discussions led by members of the Berkman Klein community.

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Headed to SXSW this year? If so, be sure to check out some of these panels and discussions led by members of the Berkman Klein community.

The Future of Secrets

Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky, and Rachel Kalmar

Details: March 9-17 - Fairmont Verbena Room
Are secrets uniquely​ ​human?​ Our​ ​private​ ​lives ​are mediated and​ ​recorded​ ​by​ ​digital​ ​devices. ​Where​ ​are​ ​our​ ​secrets​ ​now? Where​ ​will​ ​they​ ​be​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future,​ ​and​ ​who—or what—might​ ​read​ ​them?​ ​How​ ​will​ ​intelligent systems​ ​of​ ​the​ ​future​ ​process​ ​the​ ​data ​we​ ​leave​ ​behind?​ ​Will​ ​they​ ​know​ ​things​ ​about​ ​us that​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​(and​ ​never​ ​could)​ ​know​ ​about​ ​ourselves?

The​ ​Future​ ​of​ ​Secrets​​ ​is​ ​an​ ​interactive​ ​installation​ created by Sarah Newman, Jessica Yurkofsky, and Rachel Kalmar from metaLAB at Harvard. It is an immersive experience that includes sound, projection, and interaction; the installation asks​ ​participants​ ​to​ ​anonymously share​ ​their​ ​secrets ​as​ ​a​ ​way​ ​to​ question​ ​the​ ​trust we​ ​place​ ​in​ ​machines​, and ultimately​ ​reflect​ back​ ​our​ ​own​ ​humanness.​ ​What​ ​does​ ​it​ ​mean for​ ​us​ ​to​ ​share​ ​so​ ​much​ ​of​ ​ourselves​ ​through ​complex ​systems and digitally distributed networks?​ The installation inspires delight, surprise, and reflection while evoking questions about uncertain technological futures.

Keep the Internet International, Not Internal!
Fabro Steibel, Barbora Bukovská, Malavika Jayaram, Jan Gerlach
Details: Friday, March 9th, 2018; 11am-12pm – Hilton Austin Downtown Salon F
The internet enables access to knowledge for everyone and across national borders. However, legislators and courts around the world are now seeking to enforce national laws globally. Such extraterritorial jurisdiction to remove content from the web is a worrying trend both for fundamental rights online and the cohesion of the internet itself. Our panel explores the threat of creating many disconnected national networks and what should be done to avoid it.

What Does it Take to Change People’s Minds?
Laura Dawn, Elizabeth Spiers, James Slezak

Details: Saturday, March 10th, 2018; 11am-12pm – Fairmont Congressional B

In the era of Trump, the notion of truth is under attack today as never before. With digital media rapidly displacing models that served us for two generations, we face crucial choices. Will the new landscape further divide and misinform us, or can new forms of digital communities, campaigns and services reverse the slide? Four leading figures from the worlds of digital media, advocacy and data join for an interactive session to debate emerging solutions and threats, and explore what we can do.


Ending the Dangerous Disconnect Between DC and AI
Tim Hwang, John Delaney, Terah Lyons, Clark Jennings

Details: Saturday, March 10th, 2018; 5-6pm – Hilton Austin Downtown Salon F

The AI and DC communities are just beginning a crucial conversation about how to ensure the benefits of the AI revolution are shared and its risks are minimized. In 2016, the Obama Administration published a roadmap to help policymakers prepare for AI. In this session, experts from DC and Silicon Valley advance the debate, addressing how best to engage policymakers, what issues require the most urgent attention, and how to work constructively with the stakeholders shaping our intelligent future.


Smashing the Firewall: Reporting in Iran

Simin Kargar, Fred Petrossians, Anastasia Kolobrodova, Amin Sabeti

Details: Monday, March 12th, 2018; 2-3pm – JW Marriot Salon FG

How can the power of the internet be harnessed for change in countries with strict censorship? The right talent and tools can facilitate political debate, connect persecuted minorities, embolden women, and amplify voices otherwise unheard in Iran. Three organizations fighting for internet and media freedom will discuss the innovative digital tools that are breaking through government censorship to connect with – and empower – Iranians.


A Game-Changing Shift in Control of Personal Data

Nicky Hickman, Karen McCabe, Doc Searls

Details: Monday, March 12th, 2018; 3.30-4.30pm – Fairmont Manchester EFG

An extinction-level event is occurring in the digital economy. Power will soon shift from organizations to people as legal, social and market forces give citizens new rights. New AI, machine learning and blockchain solutions will empower individuals to sovereignly govern their own data and relationships, and new business models will replace the non-compliant and/or illegal tracking-based practices of the past. Explore GDPR and more with Doc Searls and our IEEE Tech for Humanity Series experts!


Starting the Internet All Over Again

Sara Watson, Muneeb Ali, Dries Buytaert, Andrei Sambra

Details: Wednesday, March 14th, 2018; 5-6pm – JW Marriott Salon E

On the Internet, all of the power seems consolidated with a few companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. Consumers blindly exchange personal data for services, with little regard for the long-term consequences. But there's a movement afoot to build a secondary portal to the web that relies on Blockchain technology to give users freedom over their data. Join pioneers of the first web and the second, decentralized web to discuss how we'll experience it all in the next 5 to 10 years.


AI Creativity in Art, Neuroscience, and the Law
Sarah Schwettmann, Jessica Fjeld, Sarah Newman, Alexander Reben

Details: Thursday, March 15th, 2018; 12.30-1.30pm – Fairmont Manchester A

Artificial intelligence now produces compelling works of art, raising questions both metaphysical—does AI creativity raise it on par with the human?—and practical—how will we license its inputs and outputs? Will the creative outputs of AIs upend our conception of autonomy and personhood? Will they change our basic understandings of human intelligence and subjectivity? Two artists, an attorney, and a neuroscientist will grapple with these questions in a provocative conversation and demo.


BKC Alums
Why Black Women are 2018’s Best Investment

Cheryl Contee,* Kathryn Finney, Sarah Koch

Details: Tuesday, March 13th, 2018; 3.30-4.30pm – Hilton Austin Downtown Salon B

Fewer than twenty African American women have raised more than a million dollars in venture capital. What’s going on here? Meet some of those women and the investors who back them. Learn why they are building the next breakthrough businesses that will change America.

Hacking the Brain: The Power of Neuroenhancement
William ‘Jamie’ Tyler, Miriam Meckel,* Léa Steinacker, Henry Greely

Details: Sunday, March 11th, 2018; 3.30-4.30pm – Fairmont Manchester EFG

Advances in neuroscience and consumer electronics have elevated the brain as a resource for self-optimization. Using electrodes and implants, a new industry now offers to effectively alter numerous neurological functions, including cognitive skills, motor ability, and mood. While such technological developments can help those with disabilities unlock their potential, they also commercialize artificial enhancement of humans and raise ethical questions about the brain as a productivity factor.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Seeking Research Assistant for the Harmful Speech Online Project

The Harmful Speech Online Project is seeking a Research Assistant! The goals of this project are to map the complex sphere within which harmful speech online occurs, convene and connect people working on these issues, and translate academic findings into useful information for policy makers. The RA will review and synthesize relevant literature and news, and assist with ongoing research projects. Time commitment is approximately 6-10 hours/week. Please send cover letter, resume, and short (2-4 page) writing sample to Nikki Bourassa at Start date is immediate; for summer inquiries, please apply to our summer internship program.

Research Assistant Information and Eligibility:

* The wage is $11.50 per hour.

* Time commitment is 5-10 hours per week.

* RAs do not have to be students.

* RAs do not have to be affiliated with Harvard University.

* We are unable to hire RAs who will conduct their work outside of the state of Massachusetts.

* We do not have the ability to provide authorization to work in the U.S.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The inception of ESLint

If you're like me, you probably use a lot of open source tools every day without thinking about how they got started. Few projects share the "why" of their creation: the actual problem they were trying to solve and when they first came across that problem. You can, of course, benefit from open source projects without understanding their origin story, but I always find it interesting to hear about how it all started.

I recently realized that I'd never shared the origin story of ESLint. I've shared some of the decisions I made along the way in previous posts but never the initial domino that fell and led to ESLint's creation. As you will see, ESLint wasn't created through some divine intervention or stroke of insight, but rather through a series of events that eventually built up to ESLint's creation.

The bug

I was still fairly new at Box when a teammate was working on a strange bug. A client had reported problems using the web application in Internet Explorer 7 (we were probably one of the last companies supporting IE7 at that point). A developer had apparently used the native XMLHttpReqest object in some JavaScript code instead of our in-house wrapper. This wasn't a problem for any other browser, and there wasn't a problem testing with IE7 internally. The problem occurred because the client had an internal security policy that disabled ActiveX in Internet Explorer, and since the native XMLHttpRequest object in IE7 was really just a wrapper around the ActiveX object, it was blocked as well.

The solution was easy enough, just make sure everyone knows to use the in-house Ajax wrapper instead of the native XMLHttpRequest object. But how could we enforce this? It turned out that Box had a JavaScript "linter" as part of the build system. I put the word linter in quotes because it was really just a series of regular expressions that were run against JavaScript code. For this case, my teammate added a regular expression for "XMLHttpRequest" and that was the solution. The build would break going forward if someone tried to commit a JavaScript file matching that pattern.

In my experience, using regular expressions on source code was never a good idea. I wished that there was a better way to do checks like this one during the build. I figured that someone must have already solved this problem and so I started looking for solutions.

Could it be JSHint?

The first thing I did was email the maintainer of JSHint at that time, Anton Kovalyov[1]. I had remembered reading a blog post[2] that said JSHint was planning to support plugins but couldn't find any information about that feature being implemented. From past experience contributing to JSHint and from modifying JSLint for a project at Yahoo, I knew JSHint hadn't initially been setup to support plugins, and without formal support there wouldn't be an easy way to modify JSHint to do what I wanted.

Anton informed me that the plugin proposal had stalled and didn't look like it would be implemented. I was disappointed, as this seemed like the most direct path to solving the problem. I thanked him and asked him to please not be offended if I create a linter that did what I needed. I wanted to support JSHint, but I felt like this was a problem that needed to be solved with JSHint or without it.

The inspiration

After digging around in the build system at Box, I found there was actually a PHP linter running in addition to the makeshift JavaScript linter. The PHP linter, however, was a lot more involved that the JavaScript one. Instead of using regular expressions, the PHP linter parsed the code into an abstract syntax tree (AST) and then inspected the AST for the patterns to report.

I was probably shaking my head "yes" as I read through that code. Immediately I realized that this was exactly what I needed to do for JavaScript. If only there was some way to parse JavaScript into an AST and then inspect the AST for problems.

The groundwork

With all of this floating around in my brain, I invited Ariya Hidayat[3] to give a talk at Box about whatever topic he pleased. It just so happened that he gave a talk on Esprima[4], the JavaScript parser he wrote in JavaScript. During that talk, Ariya discussed why having an AST representation of JavaScript was useful and referenced several already-existing tools built on top of Esprima. Among those tools were estraverse for traversing the AST and escope for scope analysis, both written by Yusuke Suzuki.

As Ariya continued talking and giving examples of the types of problems an AST can solve, the idea for a new tool formed in my head. It made sense to me that there should be one tool that could perform all of the evaluations Ariya mentioned. After all, they are all just using the AST for difference purposes. Why not have one AST they all can use?

The beginning

Thanks largely to the availability of Esprima, estraverse, and escope, I was able to put together the first prototype of ESLint over a couple of weekends. To me, these three utilities represented everything that I needed to create a new tool that could easily find problem patterns in JavaScript code. If I had to create those from scratch, I have no doubt that ESLint would not exist today. Building on top of those tools, I was able to iterate quickly, and eventually, the tool you know today as ESLint was born.

(I feel it's important to point out that I was not the only one looking to create an AST-based linter at the time. JSCS[5] was also under development at around the same time, and current ESLint maintainer Ilya Volodin was working on his own project before discovering ESLint. If I had not come up with something like ESLint then someone else undoubtedly would have. All of the pieces were already out there thanks to Ariya and Yusuke, someone just had to put them together in a useful way.)

  1. Anton Kovalyov (
  2. JSHint 3 Plans (
  3. Ariya Hidayat (
  4. JavaScript Code Analysis (
  5. JSCS (
Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

New Website Draws on International Perspectives to Highlight Issues related to Inclusion and Artificial Intelligence


This new suite of resources aims to establish key themes, questions, and opportunities for ensuring that voices and perspectives from diverse populations help shape the future of AI.

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New suite of resources aims to establish key themes, questions, and opportunities for ensuring that voices and perspectives from diverse populations help shape the future of AI.

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is pleased to share a newly-published interactive webpage,, which highlights salient topics and offers a broad range of resources related to issues of AI and inclusion. The materials contribute to the Diversity and Inclusion track of the broader Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative. Launched in Spring 2017, the initiative is anchored by the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab, who have been working in conjunction over the past year to conduct evidence-based research, bolster AI for the social good, and construct a collective knowledge base on the ethics and governance of AI.

The site reflects lessons learned from a wide-ranging international effort, and includes a number of resources produced from the Global Symposium on AI and Inclusion, which convened 170 participants from over 40 countries in Rio de Janeiro last November on behalf of the Global Network of Centers to discuss the impact of AI and related technologies on marginalized populations and the risks of amplifying digital inequalities across the world.

Some of the primary resources available on the webpage include foundational materials that address overarching themes, key research questions, the initial framing of a research roadmap, and an overview of some of the most relevant opportunities and challenges identified pertaining to AI, inclusion, and governance. The research, findings, and ideas presented throughout the page both illuminate lessons learned from the past year, and lay the groundwork for the initiative’s continued work on issues of inclusion, acknowledging that the resources found here are only a starting point for this important conversation.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. If you have any questions about the webpage or about the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence initiative, please contact  

Learn more about this effort in the Medium post "Why Inclusion Matters for the Future of Artificial Intelligence" by Amar Ashar and Sandra Cortesi

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Iran's National Information Network: Faster Speeds, but at What Cost?


In this Internet Monitor research bulletin, Berkman Klein Center Affiliate Simin Kargar analyzes the effectiveness of the Iranian government’s campaign to encourage domestic content consumption and hosting through its National Information Network.

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In this Internet Monitor research bulletin, Berkman Klein Center Affiliate Simin Kargar analyzes the effectiveness of the Iranian government’s campaign to encourage domestic content consumption and hosting through its National Information Network.

With over $6 billion invested, the NIN is the most costly national telecommunications project in the history of the Islamic Republic. Other affiliated costs align well with the NIN’s overarching goals: $1.5 billion on a domestic search engines project and $135,000 in additional subsidies to go toward mature development of domestic messaging applications. This strategy is to substantially cut reliance on international applications such as Telegram.

The recent events in Iran put the investment to the test and underscored the challenges of fundamentally changing user behavior. While an increase in speed allows for services that potentially improve access and more sophisticated information sharing, these benefits only apply to domestically hosted platforms that have not been popular. As the recent protests affirmed, when popular international tools became inaccessible, users showed little interest to limit their traffic to domestic websites and tools, even at a discounted price. Despite Iran’s concerted efforts to popularize the NIN’s application, appealing to users and acquiring their trust may be much harder than the government had envisioned.

Read the complete bulletin on the Internet Monitor site.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The Global Lives Project: A Platform for Building Empathy & Connection

Subtitle featuring founder and Executive Director, David Harris Teaser

How can a multimedia project build empathy and connect the experiences of humanity around the globe?

Parent Event Berkman Klein Luncheon Series Event Date Feb 27 2018 12:00pm to Feb 27 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein West A
(Room 2019, Second Floor)
RSVP required to attend in person
Event will be live webcast on this page at 12:00 pm

The Global Lives Project presents 24-hour-long videos of daily lives of individuals from around the world both online and through in-person exhibits. This 15-year project is an online and real-world collaboration between thousands of filmmakers, photographers, translators and everyday people from around the world.

The project's latest exhibit, Lives in Transit, showcases unedited footage of the daily lives of transportation workers from around the world, including Vietnam, Nepal, Turkey, China, India, South Korea, Colombia, Spain and Canada. The exhibit premiered at Lincoln Center for the New York Film Festival, and previously showed at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the CITRIS Tech Museum, and will show later this year at the Smithsonian.

Lives in Transit is currently on display at the Harvard Science Center through March 2018.

David Evan Harris, Global Lives Project Founder, will speak about the evolution of the project, and its ambitious goal of connecting the diverse experiences of humanity around the globe, and building empathy.

About David

David Evan Harris is Founder and Executive Director of the Global Lives Project, Chancellor’s Public Scholar at UC Berkeley, and Research Director at the Institute for the Future. David is a cross-disciplinary mediamaker, working at the intersection of art, activism and academic inquiry on the politically charged questions surrounding globalization and social justice.

David wrote and directed newscasts for CurrentTV; and penned articles and shot photos for the BBC, the Guardian, Adbusters, Focus on the Global South, AlterNet, and Grist. He has spoken publicly about his work to audiences at the Smithsonian, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, United Nations University, Apple, Google, Adobe, and numerous other venues around the world. He speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. David founded the Global Lives Project in 2004 and holds a BA in the political economy of development and environment, with a minor in forest science, from UC Berkeley and an MS in sociology from the University of São Paulo.

Exhibition & Reception

The Global Lives Project: Lives in Transit is a large-scale video installation featuring 24 hours in the daily lives of individuals who move people and things around the world.

The exhibit is on display at the Harvard Science Center through March 2018.

A small reception will be held on Tuesday, February 27 from 5:30-6:30pm in the Harvard Science Center lobby.



Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

John Perry Barlow and the Foundational Values of the Net

Subtitle an interview with Charles Nesson Teaser

Berkman Klein Center Founder and Director Charles Nesson shares his thoughts on how John Perry Barlow helped build the values of the Internet.

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Internet pioneer John Perry Barlow passed away late last week at the age of 70. As the Berkman Klein Center's inaugural fellow in 1998, his ideas helped provide the foundation for the work of much of our community in the two decades since. Berkman Klein Center Founder and Director Charles Nesson sat down to share some thoughts on how Barlow helped build the values of the Internet.


How did you first encounter John?

I read a piece he wrote The Economy of Ideas (Wired, March 1, 1994) and just heard his voice. It was Barlow. The openness of it spoke a truth to me that I hadn't quite connected with this effectively. His sense of what a connected environment actually was and the implications for changing how we think. It led me to ask him to become the first fellow the Berkman Center. I believe his spirit of connection is evident in all the work we've done: creative commons, open law, open radio, open economy, open health, free open libraries.

He is the net. He was the net. That openness of spirit that he expressed in his music, in his writing, and his connection with everyone radiated out through his friends like threads that make the net. He was extraordinary.

Where did some of these ideas come from about openness? And why did they ring so true to this community? How does his work seems so clarifying?

There was a clear feeling between the spirit of the 60s and of post World War ideas that somehow there is a “good America,” and that it has to do with community. The whole Vietnam experience was formative for Barlow and contemporaries, very much framed by the questions of justice and the place of America in the world, very much the environment in which Barlow emerges as a voice of connection. It's the idea that the Grateful Dead stand for. "Cool out, calm down, have a sense of enjoyment in your life and interaction, play fair, be fair." The better angels of our nature that make up of the "liberal naïveté" of those who don't feel it. So it's kind of like a core value of collective spirit. It believes in community at some deep level, and equality, almost radical equality to the point where it's seen as deeply threatening to an environment that is based on and values secrecy.

It sounds like he was foundational in a lot of the ideas of how we think about information and the Internet now that maybe that weren't taken for granted back then, that information and communication would be somewhat open and free. Would you describe his ideas as that foundation?

Yes I would. He brought threads together in a way that looked extremely clear-eyed. In The Economy of Ideas he was really talking about the music business. The question of what happens when there is no physical object to which you could attach a price tag. That was completely insightful and clarifying, and very much connected to how we began to understand the net.

What was it about the net that you think excited him and animated his spirit?

Recently Andrew McLaughlin circulated John's article about wiring Africa for Internet access (Africa Rising, Wired, January 1, 1998). Reading that, you're just blown away by the adventures and the joint venture that he exhibited, himself heading off on an expedition to see what connectivity in Africa was about and whether it could be a success. Brilliant reporting and just a stunning piece.

I think that he more than contemporaries saw the dimensional change that we were going through with Internet connectivity. The change from the pre-net world to what he could see as the cyber-world. He saw that as somehow deeper, more more encompassing than others. And in doing that he offered a vision of a future that people could connect with.

Do you feel like we've reached what his vision of the Internet was and could be, or has it always been this kind of thing to strive for?

I can't imagine that he didn't have brighter visions than what appears to be evolving. That is, the incredible dominance of capital power on the net. I've thought that university might be a power for openness, and still have that belief. Seems to me that's where the power of openness naturally resides. So the idea of John at the core of thinking in an Internet dimension seems just right to me.

What's become clear though is that the power on the open side of the net has a rhetorical quality to it. It's a narrative force that is capable of gaining viral power, and opposing capital force. Learning to use that power is a challenge that John left.


This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity by Daniel Dennis Jones. Photos CC-licensed courtesy of D. Yvette Wohn and Doc Searls

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

metaLAB + friends openLAB


Please join us for metaLAB’s 2018 openLAB, showcasing work by metaLAB and friends. March 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm at Arts @ 29 Garden, 29 Garden St. in Cambridge.

Event Date Mar 6 2018 5:30pm to Mar 6 2018 5:30pm Thumbnail Image: 

metaLAB + friends openLAB
March 6, 5:30-7:30
29 Garden St. Cambridge, MA

Please join us for metaLAB’s 2018 openLAB, showcasing work by metaLAB and friends.

March 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm at Arts @ 29 Garden, 29 Garden St. in Cambridge. Refreshments will be served!

For more information, get in touch.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

An Open Letter to the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Regarding the Adoption of Actuarial Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System


The following open letter — signed by Harvard and MIT-based faculty, staff, and researchers — is directed to the Massachusetts Legislature to inform its consideration of risk assessment tools as part of ongoing criminal justice reform efforts in the Commonwealth.

Publication Date 9 Feb 2018 External Links: Read the letter on Medium

The following open letter — signed by Harvard and MIT-based faculty, staff, and researchers Chelsea BarabasChristopher BavitzRyan BudishKarthik DinakarUrs GasserKira HessekielJoichi Ito, Mason Kortz,  Madars Virza, and Jonathan Zittrain  — is directed to the Massachusetts Legislature to inform its consideration of risk assessment tools as part of ongoing criminal justice reform efforts in the Commonwealth.

In light of the extraordinarily rapid pace of technical development with respect to the sorts of RA tools under consideration; the relatively nascent state of our understanding of such tools and the consequences of their implementation; the far-ranging impacts these tools can have once implemented; the risk that institutional inertia might make it difficult to move away from them once they are adopted; and the complex and multivariate interplay between the use of RA tools and other aspects of the criminal justice system, we submit that the appropriate approach here is not a mandate in favor of adoption. Rather, we believe that the time is ripe for study, reflection, and development of transparent processes and comprehensive best practices.

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Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Summer Internship Program

About the Program |Time Commitment | Payment | Commitment to Diversity | Eligibility | Summer 2018 Opportunities | To Apply

We are looking forward to engaging a diverse group of students who are interested in studying—and changing the world through—the Internet and new technologies; who are driven, funny, and kind; and who would like to join our amazing community in Cambridge this summer for 10 weeks of shared research and exchange.

We are now accepting applications for summer 2018 internships.  The application deadline for all students for summer 2018 is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET           About the Program

Each summer the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University swings open the doors of our vibrant yellow house to welcome a group of talented and curious students as full-time interns - Berkterns! - who are passionate about the promise of the Internet. Finding connected and complementary research inquiries among their diverse backgrounds, students represent all levels of study, are being trained in disciplines across the board, and come from universities all over the world to tackle issues related to the core of the Center’s research agenda. Summer interns jump head first into the swirl of the Berkman Klein universe, where they are deeply and substantively involved in our research projects and efforts.

Becoming invaluable contributors to the Center’s operation and success, interns conduct collaborative and independent research under the guidance of Berkman Klein staff, fellows, and faculty. Specific roles, tasks, and experiences vary depending on Center needs and interns' skills; a select list of expected opportunities for this coming summer is below. Typically, the workload of each intern is primarily based under one project or suite of projects, with encouragement and flexibility to get involved in additional projects across the Center.

In addition to joining research teams, summer interns participate in special lectures with Berkman Klein Center faculty and fellows, engage each other through community experiences like weekly interns discussion hours, and attend Center-wide events and gatherings with members of the wider Berkman Klein community. As well, each year interns establish new channels for fun and learning, such as organizing debates and pub quizzes; establishing reading groups and book clubs; producing podcasts and videos; taking on the Mystic lakes and Brooklyn Boulders; and hosting potlucks, cook-offs, and BBQs (fortunately for us, people share).

The word "awesome" has been thrown around to describe our internships, but don't take our word for it. Get a behind the scenes look at what it's like to be a summer intern at the Center through the Summer Snapshot 2017 developed by summer 2017 Berktern Tym Yee; there you'll hear from interns about their experiences, projects, and out-of-the office explorations!  And an evergreen-in-spirit quote from former intern Zachary McCune in 2008 continues to sparkle (even as the rock band reference dates it): "it has been an enchanting summer working at the berkman center for internet & society.  everyday, i get to hang out with some of the most brilliant people on the planet. we talk, we write (emails), we blog, we laugh, we play rock band. and when things need to get done, we stay late hyped on free coffee and leftover food. it is a distinct honor to be considered a peer among such excellent people. and i am not just talking about the fellows, staff, and faculty, though they are all outstanding. no, i mean my peers as in my fellow interns, who are almost definitely the ripening next generation of changemakers."

          Time Commitment

The summer 2018 program will run from Monday, June 4, 2018 through Friday, August 10, 2018.  Summer internships are full time positions (35 hours/week).


Interns are paid $11.50 an hour, with the exception of certain opportunities for law students who receive summer public interest funds (more about these specific cases at the link for law students below).

No other benefits are provided, and interns must make their own housing, insurance, and transportation arrangements.

Commitment to Diversity

The work and well-being of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are profoundly strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and much more. We actively seek and welcome people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, persons with disabilities, and people at intersections of these identities, from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods.

  • Internships are open to students enrolled across the full spectrum of disciplines.
  • Internships are open to students at different levels of academic study including those in bachelor’s, master’s, law, and Ph.D programs.  We also welcome applications from recent graduates and those in between academic programs.
  • Summer interns do not need to be U.S. residents or in school in the U.S.; indeed, we encourage international students to apply. 
  • Selected interns must be authorized to be employed in the United States during the summer.  The Berkman Klein Center works with the Harvard International Office (HIO) to sponsor J-1 Student Intern Visas, which permit employment, for selected summer interns who meet the visa requirements.  More information can be found on the HIO website at
  • Summer interns do not need an existing affiliation with Harvard University.
Select Expected Summer 2018 Opportunities

Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence
We are seeking to hire a small group of interns to focus exclusively on research related to artificial intelligence and how to shape its development in a way that advances the public good. Machine learning and related computational techniques present a new set of challenges for not only engineers and computer scientists, but also for social scientists, ethicists and philosophers, legal scholars, economists, and policymakers. Throughout the summer, the interns will work closely with a team of researchers and faculty members at Berkman Klein to conduct research that helps conceptualize the challenges and implications of AI (broadly defined), and works toward identifying practical solutions and tools. Tasks may include (a) writing research memos, op-eds, and articles, and contributing to tool and database development; (b) researching and synthesizing a variety of AI-focused articles, books, and other publications; and (c) supporting the Center’s work across a range of topics relating to AI, algorithms, and machine learning, including the use of algorithms in the judiciary, media and information quality, and global governance and inclusion. This position requires high degrees of flexibility, strong writing and communication skills, as well as the ability to find, absorb, critically analyze, and debate large amounts of materials from various sources and across disciplines. No technical background is required. For more information on the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative, check out our webpage at

The Berkman Klein communications team is looking for a creative, motivated candidate to work  on variety of editorial, administration, and digital media tasks that help tell the Berkman Klein story to the public and target audiences. The comms intern may be asked to assist with any aspect of the Center’s communications activities, including editing and writing website and social media content, designing materials, pitching in with multimedia production, assisting with events and outreach, and developing new and creative ways to share and amplify the research and other activities undertaken by the Center and its projects. It is a great position for someone looking to familiarize her/himself with the Berkman Klein Center community, its activities and interests, and the Internet and society issues of the day. The right candidate will be sharp, flexible, and reliable and will possess strong organizational skills to help juggle multiple tasks, people, and projects. An understanding of both traditional and social media is key for this position. Interest across the broad areas of Berkman Klein research is big plus. Familiarity with website content management systems, Mailchimp, InDesign, audio editing, and media monitoring software is helpful, but not required.

Cyberlaw Clinic
The Cyberlaw Clinic provides pro bono legal services to individuals, startups, non-profit and other mission-driven organizations, and government entities. Every summer, Clinic interns contribute to a range of real-world projects related to the Internet and technology. Interns may assist the Clinic team in providing guidance on copyright and trademark issues; support advocacy efforts to protect civil liberties; consider domestic and global human rights impacts of technology on privacy and free expression; and work with agencies and organizations that promote innovation in the delivery of government services. Interns in the Cyberlaw Clinic can expect direct hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of the Clinic's staff attorneys. More information about the Cyberlaw Clinic can be found at

Berklett Cybersecurity
The Internet and the devices attached to it are, in important ways, broken. They are not secure. And yet we depend on them – and treasure the openness that in some ways is at the root of some vulnerability.  Solutions to this problem are not only difficult to develop, but also exquisitely hard to implement. The Internet environment is a distinctly shared space: it comprises many interdependencies and perspectives among the public and private sectors.  But the actions taken by government and corporate actors has been highly fragmented.  Further complicating matters, trust in government -- particularly in the intelligence community -- to help address the mounting concerns around cybersecurity is low.  The Berklett Cybersecurity project is a unique forum for discussing true and important, and often novel, facts, and perspectives, and achieving surprising consensus on enduring questions of cybersecurity that are core to government, foreign intelligence, law enforcement, and industry.  Our aim is to achieve a depth of trusted and honest discussion between experts across a broad range of issues, and to significantly advance our collective understanding of the problems and their potential solutions.  More information about the project can be found at

Digital Communication, Politics, and Collective Action
We are seeking a research assistant who will contribute to ongoing work around two projects, one focused on media manipulation and the other on harmful speech online more broadly. Our media manipulation work centers on empirical scholarship that seeks to address the most important issues and challenges in the public interest at the intersection of political communication and digital media. The goals of our work on harmful speech online are to map the complex sphere within which it operates, convene and connect people working on these issues, and translate academic findings into useful information for policy makers. Summer interns may help review and synthesize relevant literature across fields; gather, analyze and visualize data; analyze digital, social, and other forms of online media and discourse; and write and edit essays, publications, and translational communications. More information can be found at and

Freedom of Expression
The Berkman Klein Center's suite of freedom of expression-related projects, including Internet Monitor, is seeking an intern to conduct research on Internet filtering, monitoring, and control efforts around the globe; engage in related data gathering efforts using online sources; contribute to report writing; blog regularly about issues concerning online freedom of expression; and manage various projects' social media accounts. In the past, interns have also supported research on blogospheres and other online communities around the world, contributed to literature reviews, and hand coded online content. Basic HTML skills and a familiarity with content management systems are helpful. Foreign language skills, particularly in Persian, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese, are useful. More information about some of the Berkman Klein Center’s work on freedom of expression can be found at the following link:

Geek Cave Software Development
The Berkman Klein Geek Cave is a great place to dive into technical and software development projects over the summer. Interns joining the Geek Cave will work to extend open source development projects of various kinds. We have four fun, talented, devoted, full-time developers on staff, which interns will work with to help hone their 1337 skillz. Interns will also have opportunities to manage the complex system of hamster wheels that keep the network moving. Our team also regularly works with ruby, php, bash, javascript, elasticsearch, solr, postgresql, and a slew of other tools. Geek Cave interns applying this summer should be familiar with one or more of [ruby, php, javascript]. Experience with ubuntu linux, rails, meteor, wordpress and drupal is a plus. More info about the projects that we work on can be found on our github organization page:

Global Access in Action
Global Access in Action (GAiA), a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, is seeking a paid summer intern from June to August 2018. GAiA is a dynamic global health non-profit organization that focuses on improving access to lifesaving medicines in low- and middle-income countries through the implementation of legal, policy, and regulatory reform. GAiA seeks to expand access to lifesaving medicines and combat the communicable disease burden that disproportionately harms the world’s most vulnerable population. We work with key domestic and international stakeholders. Interns will be responsible for assisting with a variety of tasks including research, writing, event management, project administration, and communications. In particular, interns will help with: (1) communications and outreach for GAiA; (2) events and conferences with stakeholders; (3) website management and (4) writing of blogs. We are looking for candidates who are detail-oriented and committed to global public health. Experience with global health, intellectual property, and communications are helpful but not required. You may refer to our website for more information on our projects:

Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)
HOAP fosters open access (OA) to research, advises on OA policies and projects, undertakes research on OA, and provides OA to timely and accurate information about OA itself. HOAP interns may enlarge the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki-based encyclopedia of OA, contribute to the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP), a social-tagging project organizing knowledge about OA, and/or test and promote TagTeam, a HOAP-directed open-source tagging platform built at the Berkman Klein Center to support OATP. They may help with ongoing HOAP research projects or use some of their time on an OA-related project of their own, with support and feedback from the other members of HOAP. More information about HOAP can be found at

Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data
The Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project brings together expertise in computer science, statistics, law, policy, and social science across five research centers across Harvard and MIT. It seeks to develop methods, tools, and policies to further the tremendous research potential of data containing information about individuals while protecting privacy. The legal team, led by Prof. Urs Gasser at the Berkman Klein Center, explores cross-disciplinary approaches to data privacy and devises new privacy frameworks, legal instruments, and policy recommendations that complement privacy-preserving technologies being developed in the project. To support this work, the Berkman Klein team is looking for rising second and third-year law students to conduct research and analysis on topics related to privacy law and policy. Summer interns will write legal memoranda on selected topics in privacy law and policy, draft data sharing agreements, survey the academic literature on privacy, contribute to the development of new tools for privacy and data sharing, and attend lectures and events with privacy experts from a wide range of disciplines. More information about the project can be found on the Privacy Tools project website at

Special Projects with Executive Director Urs Gasser
We are seeking to hire a small team of summer interns to work on a variety of projects undertaken by Berkman Klein's Executive Director Urs Gasser, including but not limited to, a new project that explores the evolving role of law in the digital age, engineering a “re-coding” of cyberlaw that better aligns the law with the spheres of technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, and new modes of blended, multimodal governance. Please read Urs’ article in the Harvard Law Review Forum, “Recoding Privacy Law: Reflections on the Future Relationship Among Law, Technology, and Privacy,” for more information. Additional research topics during the internship include privacy, cybersecurity, comparative law, digital health, interoperability, and Internet governance. Tasks include (a) research for presentations and events, op-eds, a book, and articles, (b) editorial work, and (c) general support on a range of international initiatives. This position requires high degrees of flexibility, strong communication skills, as well as the ability to find, absorb, critically analyze, and debate large amounts of written and other media materials from a various sources. This position is an ideal opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing graduate or legal studies in the future, as well as those individuals currently enrolled in graduate or law school. Knowledge of foreign languages is a plus. More information about Urs’ research can be found at

Technology, Law and Library Innovation
The Library Innovation Lab explores intersections of technology, law and libraries. Each summer we welcome 2-3 Berkman Klein Center interns to collaborate on projects big and small with our band of developers, designers, lawyers and librarians. This summer, as part of our Caselaw Access Project, we’ll be experimenting with a huge new dataset of all US court decisions, working on an API to promote public access and research use of the data, and pursuing small discovery and demonstration projects to help illustrate the possible uses of this important dataset. We’re also working to transform textbooks and expand open educational resources through a major redesign and relaunch of our H2O platform. And we’re building open source software called that helps scholars, courts and many others preserve web citations against link rot. Those are some of our big projects. We also have many other small sketches and explorations in motion all the time. We welcome applicants of all backgrounds and perspectives who share our enthusiasm for this work. Technical expertise is great but not required. Please join us!

To Apply

We know what you're thinking. Yes please. I want that. That sounds magical.  Did I mention that I have incredible dance moves?  Here's what you should do...

  • Law students: please find application instructions and important additional information here.
  • Students from disciplines other than law: please find more information and application instructions here.

The application deadline for all students for summer 2018 is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET


Please start with our Summer Internship Program FAQ

Have questions not covered in the FAQ? Email Rebecca Tabasky at



Tenacious 'terns wanted to help us untangle the Internet.
Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Media Migration, Signage, and Smoked Fish: the Library Consortium as Studio, Platform, and Metacommunity

Subtitle featuring Nate Hill, Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) Teaser

In this talk, Nate will give an overview of the programs at METRO/599, talk about the challenges associated with this organizational recalibration, seek input and ideas from the group, and extend an invitation to attendees to come take part in the fun.

Event Date Feb 13 2018 12:00pm to Feb 13 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Ballantine Classroom, Room 101
Pound Hall, Harvard Law School
1563 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

RSVP required to attend in person.

METRO/599 is a studio in Hell’s Kitchen that connects more than 250 of New York’s libraries, archives, and knowledge organizations. With 6000 square feet of event and studio space, supporting projects in digital privacy, multimedia media archiving, metadata aggregation, and podcasting, and offering tools for everything from software preservation to signage prototyping to spaghetti and meatball crafting, METRO/599 is reinventing the multi-type library consortium as a metacommunity center. In this talk, Nate will give an overview of the programs at METRO/599, talk about the challenges associated with this organizational recalibration, seek input and ideas from the group, and extend an invitation to attendees to come take part in the fun.


About Nate Hill

Nate grew up in upstate New York and began his career in libraries at Brooklyn Public Library’s Stone Avenue Branch. After almost ten years of service and several different roles within Brooklyn Public Library, he relocated to Silicon Valley to retrain and re-tool as a web designer and developer for the San Jose Public Library. Before joining METRO in June 2015, Nate served as Deputy Director of the Chattanooga Public Library, where he led the 4th Floor project, a 12,000 square foot library loft space featuring a public access makerspace, civic laboratory, and gigabit laboratory.

Nate was named a "Mover and Shaker" by Library Journal in 2012. He earned his undergraduate degree in art from Skidmore College and an MLIS from Pratt Institute’s School of Information. Nate currently serves on the New York State Board of Regents Advisory Committee on Libraries and the advisory board for the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy. His projects have been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and he has spoken about his work in Denmark, Scotland, Greece, Colombia, and elsewhere.

When he’s not busy library-ing, Nate enjoys hiking, gardening, carpentry, design, and tinkering alongside his wife and kids.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Past, Present, and Future of the Digital Public Library of America

Subtitle featuring John Bracken, newly appointed executive director of the DPLA, and colleagues Teaser

Please join DPLA's new executive director John Bracken and colleagues to reflect on the DPLA’s past, present and future and explore the way in which libraries can contribute to a stronger civic life in the midst of disruptive times.

Event Date Feb 2 2018 3:00pm to Feb 2 2018 3:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Friday, February 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus
Caspersen Room, Langdell Hall (4th Floor)

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Please join us for a discussion about the role of libraries in a technological society. Conceived of at Harvard and incubated by the Berkman Klein Center, the Digital Public Library of America recently announced the appointment of John Bracken as its new executive director. We will reflect on the DPLA’s past, present and future and explore the way in which libraries can contribute to a stronger civic life in the midst of disruptive times. Co-hosted by the Berkman Klein Center and the Harvard Law School Library, the gathering will take place on Friday, February 2, from 3:00-5:00pm in the Caspersen Room (fourth floor) at the Harvard Law School Library, with a reception to follow.


About John S. Bracken

As Executive Director, John Bracken leads DPLA’s staff, board, and key stakeholders in developing a clear vision and strategy for DPLA’s future with a focus on continued growth, innovation, and services. Bracken joins DPLA from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he was vice president of technology innovation. He previously directed Knight’s journalism and media innovation program, before becoming vice president of media innovation. Bracken received his undergraduate degree from the Claremont Colleges’ Pitzer College, and a Master’s degree from the Annenberg​ ​School​ ​for​ ​Communication​,​ ​at the University​ ​of​ ​Pennsylvania. Bracken previously worked at the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He currently serves on the board of Illinois Humanities.


We will also be joined by our colleagues:

Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law; Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources; Faculty Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society; Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government

Bob Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University librarian, emeritus, Harvard 

Maura Marx, President, Fidelity Foundation

Jocelyn Kennedy, Executive Director, Harvard Law School Library

Mary Minow, Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow, Harvard 

Nicco Mele, Director, Shorenstein Center

Philipp Schmidt, Director of Learning Innovation, MIT Media Lab

Urs Gasser, Executive Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society; Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School

Download original audio and video from this event.

Subscribe to the Berkman Klein events podcast to have audio from all our events delivered straight to you!

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Health Care Costs and Transparency

Subtitle featuring John Freedman, President & CEO of Freedman HealthCare Teaser

Health spending continues outpace wages and GDP, while some new insurance designs transfer greater shares of that to patients’ own out of pocket costs. What is driving health care costs up, who is benefiting, and how are data harnessed to study the problems and remedy them?

Parent Event Berkman Klein Luncheon Series Event Date Feb 6 2018 12:00pm to Feb 6 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Milstein West B, Room 2019
1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Wasserstein Hall, Harvard Law School

RSVP required to attend in person.
Event will be live webcast at 12:00 pm.


Health spending continues outpace wages and GDP, while some new insurance designs transfer greater shares of that to patients’ own out of pocket costs. In this talk, Dr. Freedman will discuss what is driving health care costs up, who is benefiting, and how data is harnessed to study problems and remedy them.


About Dr. John Freedman

John Freedman MD MBA has 30 years’ experience in care delivery, performance measurement & improvement, health IT, and health care reform. Before founding Freedman Healthcare, he held leadership roles at multiple innovative health care firms. Dr. Freedman served as Medical Director for Quality at Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado region, and as medical director for specialty services and coordinated care at New England’s largest community health center, overseeing 50 staff in 16 specialties. As medical director for quality and medical management at Tufts Health Plan, he helped them climb to a #2 national NCQA quality ranking. He has served on the boards of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, Network Health (a 300,000 member Medicaid health plan), and the Fishing Partnership (which improves health in fishing communities). Dr. Freedman graduated Harvard College, U. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and
the U. of Louisville School of Business. Freedman Healthcare is a leading consulting firm in health care reform, health policy analysis and development, and it has been engaged in many states to create all-payer claims databases, implement health insurance exchanges, and support health care transformation.


Loading... Related Content: Berkman Klein Luncheon Series
Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

#FellowFriday! Get to know the 2017-2018 Fellows

This series of short video interviews highlights the new 2017-2018 Berkman Klein fellows. Check back every week for new additions!

Published Friday, January 26

Soroush Vosoughi is creating algorithms that can track and counter the spread of misinformation on social networks.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

The question I'm really interested in and what I'm working on as a fellow at Berkman and also as a postdoc at MIT Media Lab is interventions to dampen the effects of misinformation on social media. My PhD focused on automatic detection of rumors on social media.

Right now I'm interested in intervention strategies, so one idea I have is maybe an automated tool like a bot on Twitter and on Facebook that would detect misinformation using the algorithm I developed for my thesis. And then contact people who are on the path of the misinformation to let them know that they might be exposed to this thing. Kind of vaccinating them before they're actually exposed to the virus of misinformation. Now I think it's become pretty obvious that rumors and misinformation in different domains are super important, and damaging to society, specifically rumors in the political domain. They undermine the core democratic values of our society, because if you don't have a shared truth with the other people who are voting in the same election as you then you're not judging the candidates based on the same facts.

What excites you or scares you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

I think technology is always neutral, almost always neutral. So it can be used for good or evil. What excites me, and what makes me fearful is actually the same technology, which is specifically recent advances in deep neural networks. A lot of the problems in classical AI have already been solved using this new method in the last decade, so problems that we thought we would not be able to solve in a century we've already solved. So that's really exciting. But again, the same algorithms and systems that we've used to solve these problems, they're big black boxes. We never know exactly what goes in them. And so if you give them too much power to govern our society, they might actually make decisions that we would never understand, and that we'll never be able to interpret — and that scares me.


Published December 15

Doaa Abu-Elyounes  is a doctoral student at Harvard Law School studying how judges are beginning to use AI and algorithms in the courtroom.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you. 

In the criminal justice system judges are using algorithms ("risk assessment tools" they call it) in order to determine how risky defendants are. I'm focusing on the pre-trial stage, which is the first stage that defendants encounter with judges. They need to decide whether to keep them in jail, to wait for the end of the trial in jail, or to release them with conditions, or without conditions. The tools that are being used now are based on regression analysis, and I'm trying to estimate the impact of artificial intelligence on these tools. What makes me passionate is to improve our broken criminal justice, and to try to see how we can benefit from this increasingly emerging technology, and maybe to be a little bit more just.

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

I'm hopeful about the future of technology. Technology is getting better and better. I'm a blind person, and it definitely changed my life, so I'm hopeful that it's going to change others' lives. People who maybe made a mistake in their lives, they still deserve a fair, due process. It's the law. And I'm hoping that technology will help us reach that goal faster.


Luke Stark is a post-doc in sociology at Dartmouth College who explores how psychological techniques are incorporated into social media platforms, mobile apps, & AI systems.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you. 

One research question I'm really interested in this year is how we think about expanding the ethical horizons of science and technology, especially around STEM education, computer science, and engineering. I think it's important because these technologies that get designed and built by computer scientists and engineers have a huge impact on our world. And they have a lot of say in how social life gets organized these days. I think it's important for all of us to understand the social and ethical implications of those technologies.

How did you become interested in this topic?

I remember when I was in my early 20s, I had a job working for the government of Ontario in communication. And I sort of realized that the politicians were really interested in how newspapers got laid out. They cared about where the headline was on the page, how many column inches they got. And it just underscored to me the truth of Marshall MacLuhan's axiom about the medium being the message. That the newspaper, which is also kind of a technology was important to the way these politicians' values and messages got out. That really helped spark my interest. I think in the last year or so there have been so many stories in the news about why the ethics of technology are important. Debates about "fake news," about persuasion, about the way that social media shaped electoral politics and that kind of thing. I think a lot of people realized the importance of these questions in their every day digital media use before 2017. But I think it's really hard to ignore those things now.


Published December 8

Pritha Chatterjee is researching the privacy and public health implications of India's new universal ID system.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year.

I am looking at how population health can be improved with the use of technology, in particular in low and middle income countries and "disadvantaged" populations in high-income countries. I am looking especially at maternal health outcomes.

What in particular are you looking at with regard to technology and health in India?

We have this universal identification system in India called Aadhaar, which is being linked to track people, and that has potentially a lot of use in public health. So for example, with our tuberculosis program, the financial assistance that is provided is being linked through [the ID system]. The privacy implications of this are really huge. so I guess, what technology can do, we should also be wary of those very same things at the same time so that balance is -- I don't know how we are going to find it. I'm working on it myself. So the potential is huge, but if you say like in a country like India that you're not going to provide the services if a person does not have that ID yet, that is a problem, because implementation is a huge challenge. Secondly, the privacy part of it really scares me, because you're linking all sorts of data through this one ID, and the government has access to all of it. I don't think enough is being done to address that, or even research on how to mitigate those concerns. Like how can you use the technology for the good, but also reassure citizens? There should be a mechanism to protect the privacy of citizens, and I don't think enough is being done on that front yet.  


Published December 8

Chien-Kuan Ho is a prosecutor who researches cybercrime and the new challenges posed by digital anonymity and encryption.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

This year my research will primarily focus on how to more effectively investigate cyber crime. With the development of technology, many criminals may use new cyber tools to commit a crime, such as mobile malware, and ATM fraud, et cetera. The growth of cybercrime remains a great threat to security in our world. Therefore, law enforcement authorities have to improve their capability to investigate cybercrime more effectively.

Why should people care about this issue?

With the massive use of the technology of the Internet, everyone could be a potential victim of this technology. In our world, the reality is that everyone who is connected to the Internet is vulnerable to cyber attack. It's not only big companies that are under threat. Individuals who don't think they have much to offer the hackers can be also targeted. So even if you don't think you are a big target, you should still care for this risk.

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world? What scares you the most?

Modern technology is certainly fascinating. Social networks have allowed us to share almost anything, anytime, anywhere. Smartphones and the Internet have dramatically changed the way we communicate. But criminals may also use these technologies to commit crimes. What scares me the most about technology is the increasing misuse of anonymity and encryption services on the Internet has become a critical impediment of the investigation and the prosecution of criminals. If law enforcement cannot keep up with the progress of technology, our world may become a paradise for criminals.


published December 1

james Wahutu studies the impact media reporting on mass atrocities has on our understanding of human rights, collective memory, and cross-cultural exchange.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
I'm interested in two research questions. The first is on the use of images of atrocities by news organizations. Primarily, I'm interested in the efficacy of this and then idea that we could consume African death and pain while sitting in the confines of our home. So what does that then mean for African victims and why is it okay to do this? But most importantly, who owns these pictures of African pain and what does that then mean for advocacy issues?

The next one that I'm also interested in and should be starting to act on in the spring, is the use of perpetrators as sources when news is being written and news is being collected. So, I'm interested in the relationship between quoting a perpetrator of a mass atrocity and the risk of the intensification of violence. In my prior work it turns out that perpetrators are pretty media savvy and they know that if a Western news organization quotes them, it gives them the kind of cultural capital that they need that they then hope to change into economic capital during negotiation processes and hopefully score a seat in the new regime and the new government that should be coming up.

Why is this important to you?
It's important for us as Africans to be able to tell our stories, but also realize who is telling our stories, because whoever is telling our story owns that particular story. In my undergrad career, I realized that I kept quoting Western academics that were writing about atrocities in African countries, but not necessarily talking to Africans. The challenge is in changing how we raise awareness about mass atrocities and thinking about the unintended consequences of how we've been doing it thus far.


published December 1

Keith Porcaro works to enable greater participation by all communities in an age of increasingly complex systems.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
The big part of my work focuses on how legal norms form and digitizing society. The narrower question that I'm working on here is, how can communities take control and make decisions about the data that they're creating and the data that's being created about them? How can we use existing vehicles, like trusts, as a way to first give communities power to be able to make these decisions, and be able to protect it against uses that they don't want? But then the other side of that is once you've given communities that power, how do you help them understand sort of what the surface area of those decisions are. And how to understand what the ramifications of some of their decisions might be.

I kind of think of it as two sides of a coin so on the one side of the coin, it's how can we use law to deal with new technology, to deal with the fact that increasingly more of our lives are digital or online, and then the other side of that is, how can you use technology to understand how complicated systems work like law or like anything else and especially for people who don't have the time to sort of think about this professionally.

What's a good example of a complex issue?
So for somebody who is you know just facing a legal issue for the first time, or just finding out that somebody is doing a census in their neighborhood, the expectation that we should have is not that they should become a lawyer, they should go to law school, they should learn about how databases work, but it should be what can we use, and what interfaces, what explanations, what structures can we use to help people understand enough of the system to be able to make an informed decision about how it should work.


published November 20

Jie Qi is hacking the patent system to make innovation more equitable and impactful.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
I'm really excited about exploring open innovation, specifically around patents, and how we can hack the patent system to support sharing of inventions, rather than closing it off. The reason I care deeply about this is because as a maker, and an entrepreneur, and an individual that's not a giant company, I'm interested in exploring alternative ways to create and make an impact with my inventions. For example, one of the inventions that I created as part of my PhD research is this idea of using stickers that are also electronics. We took flexible printed circuit boards which we find in our cell phones or laptops or whatever, and we added conductive glue to the bottom of them, such that when you take the sticker, which is a circuit board, and stick it down to like a conductive ink or conductive tape, you actually build circuits, but it feels like you're playing with stickers and tape and pens, and that is kind of a creative, crafty way to learn electronics.

What excites you and scares you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?
Technology is very powerful. It's a tool, which means it can do wonderful things, and it can do scary things. It itself is not bad. However, with the many forces that are at play in the world I can see people or institutions with means getting control of these technologies and using them in a negative way that perhaps the original inventors didn't imagine or perhaps none of us have ever imagined. What I'm excited about, as someone who creates technology and teaches people electronics and programming, is that it is extremely powerful and it allows you to take the things that are in your imagination and make them real. As an educator, when I see people learn something new and create something that they might not have imagined they could, it's extremely empowering. For me, technology is a way to make you see that the impossible is possible.


published November 20

Kathy Pham is bridging the gaps between software engineers and policymakers.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
Having worked with both a large tech company, as well as within the federal government, I constantly think about how  we build products that are responsible and ethical and take into account our users. Another focus is the intersection of government and technology. How do we get policy folks interested in, and understanding, technology, as well as getting technologists, whether they're engineers, or product managers, or designers, interested in public service or working in the federal government? In my early days as a software engineer, the topics around users and the user experience of something, or even the broader social impact of what we build, wasn't always there.

What are some ideas for addressing this topic?
One of the things that has come up here at Berkman is attacking it from the curricula level: really teaching our computer scientists and engineers how to critically think about the effects in the long term, or even short term effects, of what we build. Think about some of the implications of collecting data. Think about what happens when the data is stored long term. Think about how something can be misused or not used the way we intended for it to be used. What can we do in the policy space that makes sense? You know, it gets tricky because we we get into the free speech realm of we don't want to restrict the ability to build products or people's freedom of speech on different platforms, but what is the responsibility of tech companies in looking at their users?

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?
How can we use technology to really provide better government services for people, people who can't go in-person to different government service locations to get care, whether they're veterans, or people who need to get services? How can we use technology to really make their lives a lot better?  I'm very excited to think about different ways that technology can be used to provide care services our most vulnerable populations and the people who need help the most.


published November 13

Jenny Korn is examining new and evolving representations of race and identity, both online and off.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

I'll be looking at the way people talk about race and gender, both online and in person. I've pretty much always been interested in issues of race because I'm a woman of color that grew up in Alabama. I was reminded of my race in both positive and negative ways at a very early age and ever since then.

Why should people care about this issue?

Talking about race more openly promotes, my hope is that it promotes, a more just society eventually. Because if we can't talk about race then we definitely can't talk about racism. And so we have to get to the point where talking about race is not uncomfortable or feels forced. But rather feels the same as saying what your gender is or what your sexual orientation is. To say it all together naturally and comfortably so that all of us can discuss what that means to everybody across different levels of society.

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

The Internet has definitely changed the way that we socialize but also the ways that we interact with what we believe race is. We're not only consumers of the Internet. We're also producers. We actually can create different ways to discuss race. We can share different representations of race. And to me that's really exciting because we are able to reduce the distance and the time and the speed to creating those representations online instead of relying on publishers for books, or producers and distributors for movies. We can overlook that and use the Internet as the way to produce and broadcast and share those representations. And that means we can change old stereotypes and make new representations of what we believe it is to be of color, or to be white. It's a brand new medium in terms of how far we can get this kind of message. I'm excited by the possibilities.  


published November 13

Nathan Kaiser is a lawyer studying AI and Asia.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year.

I'm a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center. I’m very happy to be here. I'm originally Swiss but spent the past years in in Asia. I'm looking at AI and always from China and maybe a larger Asian angles. The research question is -- it's partially copy/paste from the 10 or 15 year old question. "What about the Internet in China and outside?" And now the question is "What about AI in China and outside of China?" There's a lot of a lot of stuff to to be looked at.

Why should people care about this issue?

AI will have as big an impact on society. And society always means me, you, and the family, and everybody around us. Just as with the Internet years ago, and over time. It would not be wise to say the Internet  is not for me or to say nowadays AI is not for me because it's going to be around you anyway. And so from a personal individual point of view or a company point of view or even a family point of view, I think it makes sense to start looking around and see what's going on. Does it help you? Does it hurt you? Should you use it? Should you not use it? Then once it's clear that you should use it and how do you use it? What are the tools, what are the risks for employees, risk for companies, risk for kids?

What scares you the most about technology and its potenital impact on our world?

I'm always worried about the people who are not able to enjoy a technology. I think that scares me because it creates a even larger gap. You don't only have rich people and poor people. You have an additional divide of using technology or not using technology. Being able and having the money to use technology will make the rich richer and the poor more poor. So that's something that scares me because it creates tension and we've seen that over the past 10 or 20 years.


published November 6, 2017

Joanne K. Cheung is an artist and designer studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

This year I’m developing an analytical framework for looking at public space, so physical space, all the stuff around us, and discourse on the internet. My background is in the fine arts, so I’ve always cared about how to communicate something, how something appears to someone not from my own discipline. A lot of this came from, well, I guess two things. One is the very jarring experience of the past election and realizing that geographically, my understanding of the country that I live in is very different than what I thought it was. Also, this summer I became an American citizen, so learning everything about the democratic process was really interesting, and I thought that I wanted to understand how my own discipline intersected with the political process.

Why should people care about this issue?

There is no opting out of existing in this system and I think now that everyone is so deeply connected... the other side of that is we’re all more alienated from the subjects of our actions, so whether they’re intentional, unintentional, or accidental, I think making those connections visible is really important now. 

What excites (or scares) you most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

I always go back to that William Gibson quote, “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed,” but then I go back and think about my own discipline, which is dealing with land and buildings, and I was thinking, well, the future doesn’t distribute itself, has land ever been evenly distributed? I can’t think of something that has. A lot of that comes down to human agency, it comes down to decisions humans make. I think it’s not technology doing the work, it’s people doing the work, and so, maybe that gives me some worry, it scares me because I want to define who those humans are, but it also gives me a little bit of hope because I’m a human, we all are, so there is potential for making change and making a difference.


published November 6, 2017

Emad Khazraee is a sociotechnical information scientist and an assistant professor in the school of information (iSchool) at Kent State University.

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

Broadly, speaking, I’m interested in how human collectives use information technology to achieve their collective goals. I look at two levels. At one level, I look at very large collectives, how they use information technology for social transformations, for example, how activists use information technology to challenge authorities. On another level, I’m looking at very tightly connected communities, I call them communities of practice, how they use information technologies to produce knowledge. At Berkman Klein Center, I am looking to understand how we can theorize the dynamic of evolution of the tools and methods that activists use to challenge authorities. On a personal side, I’m Iranian and I have seen a lot of transformations in recent years happening in Iranian society. We’ve seen a very young population, educated population, use information technology to progress the state of society.

Why should people care about this issue?

We are living in an era that the pace of technology, changes and advancements, is so high, that some people have become anxious about what the impact of technology is in our society. It’s very important to see whether it helps us to improve our society or not. I think that’s how it is important for the average person, to see, in many contexts, such as oppressive environments, whether the use of information technology can be a force shifting the balance towards a more just and progressive society, or it might give more tools for oppressive governments to repress and restrict humans’ freedom.


published October 27, 2017

Desmond Upton Patton, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Columbia University and a faculty affiliate of the Data Science Instiute and the Social Interevention Group at Columbia University. 

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
This year I'm really trying to understand how communication on social media leads to offline violence. So I'm studying a Twitter dataset of young people in Chicago to better understand how things like grief and trauma and love and happiness all play out on Twitter and the relationship between that communication and offline gun violence. 

I started my research process in Chicago and I have been just completely troubled by the amount of violence that happens in the city. And one of the ways in which that violence happens or occurs is through social media communication. And so I want to be a part of the process of ending violence through learning how young people communicate online.  


published October 27, 2017

Jenn Halen is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the University of Minnesota and a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
I’m working on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence project, here at Berkman Klein. There are a lot of questions as to how exactly incorporating this new technology into different social environments is really going to affect people, and I think one of the most important things is getting people’s perspectives who are actually going to be impacted. So, I’m looking forward to participating in some early educational initiatives and some discussions that we can post online in blog posts and things, to help people feel like they’re more familiar with this subject and more comfortable, because it can be really intimidating.

Why should people care about this issue?
Right now, this technology or early versions of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications are being used in institutions ranging from the judicial system, to financial institutions, and they’re really going to impact everyone. I think it’s important for people to talk about how they’re being implemented and what the consequences of that are for them, and that we should have an open discussion, and that people can’t do that if they’re unfamiliar with the technology or why it’s being employed. I think that everyone needs to have at least a basic familiarity with these things because in ten years there’s not going to be an institution that doesn’t use it in some way.

How did you become interested in this topic?
I grew up in a pretty low income community that didn’t have a lot of access to these technologies initially, and so I was very new to even using a computer when I got into college. It’s something that was hard for me initially, but that I started really getting interested in, partially because I’m a huge sci-fi fan now, and so I think that sci-fi and fiction really opens up your eyes to both the opportunities and the potential costs of using different advanced technologies. I wanted to be part of the conversation about how we would actually approach a future where these things were possible and to make sure that we would use them in a way that would benefit us and not this scarier, more dystopian views of what could happen.

What excites you most about technology and its potential impact on our world?
Software, so scalable, that we can offer more resources and more information to so many more people at a lower cost. We’re also at a time where we have so much more information than we’ve ever had in history, so things like machine learning and artificial intelligence can really help to open up the answers that we can get from all of that data and maybe some very non-intuitive answers that people just have not been able to find themselves.

What scares you most?
I think that the thing that scares me most is that artificial intelligence software is going to be employed in institutions and around populations that don’t understand both ends of the things it has to offer, but also its limitations. It will just be taken as objective fact or a scientific opinion that you can’t question, when it’s important to realize that this is something that is crafted by humans, that can be fallible, that can be employed in different ways and have different outcomes. I think my biggest fear is that we won’t question it and that these things will just be able to be deployed without having any kind of public dialogue or pushback if it has negative consequences.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The “Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non-Humans Hold Copyrights?

Subtitle featuring Jon Lovvorn (HLS), Jeff Kerr (PETA), and a panel of experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues Teaser

Can non-human animals own copyrights? Can artificial intelligence machines? Join the Berkman Klein Center and the Harvard Student Animal Legal Defense Fund for a discussion of the “Monkey Selfie” case and the issues it raises around untraditional definitions of who can be considered a creator under the law.

Parent Event Berkman Klein Luncheon Series Event Date Jan 30 2018 12:00pm to Jan 30 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East C
(Room 2036, Second Floor)

RSVP required to attend in person
Event will be live webcast at 12:00 pm

Complimentary plant-based lunch will be served

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

After a photographer left his camera equipment out for a group of wild macaques to explore, the monkeys took a series of photos, including selfies. Once the photos were posted publicly, legal disputes arose around who should own the copyrights —the human photographer who engineered the situation, or the macaques who snapped the photos. This unique case raises the increasingly pertinent question as to whether non-humans—whether they be monkeys or artificial intelligence machines—can claim copyrights to their creations. Join Jon Lovvorn, Lecturer on Law and the Policy Director of Harvard Law School's Animal Law & Policy Program, as he hosts a discussion panel featuring the General Counsel of PETA, which sued on behalf of the monkey, and experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues.

About Jon Lovvorn

Jonathan Lovvorn is the first Policy Director of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program. Mr. Lovvorn is also a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and will teach our inaugural course on Farmed Animal Law & Policy this Fall. He previously taught the HLS seminar in Wildlife Law in both the Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 terms. In addition to teaching at Harvard, Mr. Lovvorn has taught Animal Law and Wildlife Law at a number of other law schools, including New York University, Georgetown, George Washington University, and most recently Yale. He also has authored several articles concerning animal law and environmental policy, most recently publishing Climate Change Beyond Environmentalism in the Georgetown Environmental Law Review, which focuses on the intersectional threats of climate change to animals, people, and the environment. For several years Mr. Lovvorn has been serving as Senior Vice President & Chief Counsel for the Humane Society of the United States, where he founded and managed the nation’s largest animal protection litigation program. He has argued dozens of successful cases on behalf of both animals and the environment, authored or co-authored hundreds of state and federal animal protection reform laws, and served as the primary legal strategist for most of the major animal protection ballot measures enacted over the last 15 years.

About Jeff Kerr

As general counsel to PETA and its international affiliates for nearly 25 years, Jeff Kerr built and leads the world's largest legal team working for animal rights. His team was named Corporate Counsel magazine's 2017 Best Legal Department, and his high-profile cases—including the 13th Amendment case Tilikum v. SeaWorld, the first two successful constitutional challenges to "ag-gag" laws, and the "Monkey Selfie" copyright case—have made headlines around the world and sparked a global conversation about the legal rights of animals. Jeff’s undergraduate degree is from George Mason University, where he was a Weber scholar, and he received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, which will honor him this weekend with its Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement for his career fighting for and advancing the cause of animal rights.

About Tiffany Li

Tiffany C. Li is an attorney and Resident Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, where she leads the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information. She is an expert on privacy, intellectual property, and law and policy at the forefront of new technological innovations. Li is also an Affiliate Scholar at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. She has been honored as a Transatlantic Digital Debates Fellow (Global Public Policy Institute/New America Foundation), a Fellow of Information Privacy (International Association of Privacy Professionals), and a Fellow and Founding Member of the Internet Law and Policy Foundry. Li is a licensed attorney and has CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPT, and CIPM certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Global Law Scholar, and a B.A. in English from University of California Los Angeles, where she was a Norma J. Ehrlich Alumni Scholar.

About Chris Bavitz

Christopher T. Bavitz is Managing Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He is also a Clinical Professor of Law at HLS, where he co-teaches the Counseling and Legal Strategy in the Digital Age seminar and teaches the seminar, Music & Digital Media. Chris concentrates his practice on intellectual property and media law, particularly in the areas of music, entertainment, and technology. He oversees many of the Clinic’s projects relating to copyright, speech, and advising of startups, and he serves as the HLS Dean’s Designate to Harvard’s Innovation Lab. Prior to joining the Clinic, Chris served as Senior Director of Legal Affairs for EMI Music North America. From 1998-2002, Chris was a litigation associate at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and RubinBaum LLP / Rubin Baum Levin Constant & Friedman, where he focused on copyright and trademark matters. Chris received his B.A., cum laude, from Tufts University in 1995 and his J.D. from University of Michigan Law School in 1998.

About Kendra Albert

Kendra Albert is a Clinical Instructional Fellow at the Cyberlaw Clinic and was formerly an associate at Zeitgeist Law PC, a boutique technology law firm in San Francisco. They received their JD from Harvard Law School in 2016.  Kendra is also a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a writer and speaker on a diverse set of internet issues. Their work has been published in the Green Bag, the Harvard Law Review Forum, and WIRED. Kendra’s undergraduate degree is from Carnegie Mellon University, where they studied lighting design and history. Before starting law school, Kendra worked as a research associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, where they helped found They also served as the first head teaching fellow for CopyrightX, Professor William Fisher’s open online copyright course. During law school, they spent time at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cloudflare, and Public Citizen. With EFF, they co-filed and received a DMCA 1201 exemption request for video game archiving and play.

Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

Global AI Dialogue Series

Subtitle Observations from the China-US Workshop in Beijing (December 2, 2017) Teaser

In December 2017, the Berkman Klein Center co-hosted an exploratory workshop in Beijing, China with Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management and the MIT Media Lab’s Ethics Initiative.

In December 2017, the Berkman Klein Center co-hosted an exploratory workshop in Beijing, China with Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management and the MIT Media Lab’s Ethics Initiative. Drawing together experts and practitioners from both countries to build interfaces for bilateral learning and trust between the AI research communities in China and the US, the event focused on AI impact metrics and measurement in critical areas such as social inclusion and the digital economy.

The excerpt below is from a write-up of observations from the discussion-based workshop. Read the full write-up on Medium or access the PDF from our Ethics and Governance of AI reasearch page

China and the United States are home to leading players in the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems, which promise enormous benefits for the social good and pose significant risks. Investment in startups to apply and commercialize AI technologies is rapidly advancing in both countries, while in parallel different branches of the Chinese and American governments are preparing strategic policy plans for the future of AI. AI’s social impact, however, remains insufficiently examined, and many probable and prospective national and international decision points have yet to be clearly identified owing to differing political, economic, and cultural contexts.

In order to establish a cross-cultural dialogue about specific AI issues and build a learning network for investigating approaches to address these issues within and across domestic and global contexts, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University in collaboration with the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University and the MIT Media Lab’s Ethics Initiative hosted a China-US AI Workshop to bring together experts and practitioners from both countries. The meeting was designed to strengthen and build interfaces for bilateral learning and information sharing on research questions surrounding AI of mutual interest, while fostering trust between the AI research communities in China and the United States.

The purpose of this write-up is to share observations from this initial discussion-based workshop, highlight overarching themes that emerged, and extract insights on next steps for sustaining the cross-cultural, global dialogue.


Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy

The dark side of the networked public sphere: How the right-wing is (ab)using the internet's affordances

Subtitle featuring Jonas Kaiser, Berkman Klein Affiliate Teaser

Far-right, alt-right, identitarians: Right-wing actors are active all over the internet, adapt to platforms, game the system, blur the lines between off- and online, and create their own virtual spaces. This talk will showcase how the right-wing in the United States and in Germany (ab)use the internet, and how social media algorithms involuntarily contribute to the right-wing's reach.

Parent Event Berkman Klein Luncheon Series Event Date Jan 23 2018 12:00pm to Jan 23 2018 12:00pm Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Harvard Law School campus
[LOCATION UPDATE] Pound Hall, Room 101, Ballantine Classroom

RSVP required to attend in person

Watch Live Starting at 12pm
(video and audio will be archived on this page following the event)

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The right-wing is rising. Not only in the United States but also in Germany and other European countries. And the internet helped. Right-wing actors are active all over the internet, adapt to platforms, game the system, blur the lines between off- and online, and create their own virtual spaces. In addition, social media platforms like YouTube contribute involuntarily to the right-wing's reach and, perhaps, influence with their algorithms. But how bad is it? How should we deal with right-wing actors? And what would be a way forward?

About Jonas

Jonas Kaiser is a DFG postdoctoral fellow and affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and Associate Researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. His research interest are the transformation of the networked public sphere, digital methods, and political communication. At the Berkman Klein Center he is working on his research project on the "right-wing web," in which he aims to understand how and where right-wing actors make use of the internet to connect online and form international networks. He wrote his doctoral thesis at Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen about online climate change scepticism in Germany. His academic writing has been published in journals like International Journal of Communication, Communication and the Public, Media and Communication, or Environmental Communication as well as handbooks and edited volumes.


Categories: Tech-n-law-ogy


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