Berkman in the News
“Girls are seldom imagined as potential customers of a new technology,” said Whitney Erin Boesel, a researcher at the Berkman Center for World wide web and Society at Harvard University.Apple Overall health invites customers to determine their sex, but its many other categories are gender neutral as far as I can detect. There are neither concerns about prostate checkups, nor concerns about fertility cycles and breast lump checks.And that is typical with wellness tracking apps, which often attempt to make the solution gender neutral with out a way to customize it. But that’s a challenge.
By BRUCE SCHNEIER
Earlier this month, a mysterious group that calls itself Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer systems and began revealing many of the Hollywood studio’s best-kept secrets, from details about unreleased movies to embarrassing emails (notably some racist notes from Sony bigwigs about President Barack Obama’s presumed movie-watching preferences) to the personnel data of employees, including salaries and performance reviews. The Federal Bureau of Investigation now says it has evidence that North Korea was behind the attack, and Sony Pictures pulled its planned release of “The Interview,” a satire targeting that country’s dictator, after the hackers made some ridiculous threats about terrorist violence.
However, the communist Cuban government has rebuffed companies seeking to increase connectivity among its citizens, and Cuban President Raúl Castro’s speech Wednesday revealed very little in the way of Havana’s next steps. In it, he broadly called for the United States to remove “restrictions on traveling, direct post services and telecommunications.”
“It’s hard to believe they will suddenly change their behavior. You can’t change the dynamic overnight,” said Ellery Biddle, editor at Global Voices Advocacy and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society has a number of new faces on their team and interesting projects scheduled for the fall. Lauren Reed and Paige Pascarelli asked the Center about some of the fall happenings. Enjoy!
Tell us about some of Berkman’s new projects for the fall. Are there any in particular that you are most excited about?
The Berkman Center has nearly two dozen active research projects, spanning the range from privacy to freedom of expression to digital humanities. One of our most exciting endeavors this fall is the Digital Problem Solving Initiative (DPSI), a University-wide program to match students with mentors from various backgrounds to collaboratively tackle real-life matters of technical policy, practice and design.
Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer studies at Harvard University, said Sony was unquestionably facing anger over the breach and the resulting disclosure of thousands of sensitive documents. But the movie studio may be able to mitigate that reaction and potential legal exposure if it’s established that North Korea was behind the attack.
“If Sony can characterize this as direct interference by or at the behest of a nation-state, might that somehow earn them the kind of immunity from liability that you might see other companies getting when there’s physical terrorism involved, sponsored by a state?” Zittrain said.
Internet Monitor, a research project based at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, recently published the project’s second annual report, “Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World.” The report is a collection of roughly three dozen short contributions that highlight and discuss some of the most compelling events and trends in the digitally networked environment over the past year.
It’s also quaint to think that users would click through the multiple dialogue boxes necessary to mimic informed consent, said Jonathan L. Zittrain, director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Would you? Instead, he said, there ought to be independent proxies who represent the users and can perform that checking function.
“I worry about leaning too hard on choice,” he said, “when the real thing is just treat your users with dignity.”
– The growth of Internet monitoring across the globe and rising assertion of extraterritorial sovereignty over Internet data by courts in the U.S. and elsewhere are among the topics covered by the Harvard University’s Berkman Center for internet and Society’s 2014 Internet Monitor annual report out yesterday. The report also covers the ironic rush of both the Chinese diaspora and the Tibetan exile community to Chinese messaging apps despite their content restrictions. http://bit.ly/1wE48Xz
The case concerned union officials whose intercepted cell phone conversations landed in the hands of a radio commentator who broadcast the contents. At the high court, the media defendants were given a pass from violating a federal wiretap law as they “played no part in the illegal interception,” “their access to the information on the tapes was obtained lawfully, even though the information itself was intercepted unlawfully by someone else” and finally, “the subject matter of the conversation was a matter of public concern.”
That decision offers tremendous hope for news organizations that Sony’s threats against the news media are empty. “Unless the media is involved in the hacks themselves, the Bartnicki case puts the law on the side of the media,” says Andy Sellars at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Net neutrality, the demise of Aereo, personal privacy, and activism on the Internet emerged as central themes of debate this year, according to the folks who keep watch at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
In a collection of essays released Tuesday, as the second annual Internet Monitor Report, scholars at the Berkman Center weighed in on the issues that captured the attention of citizens and their governments, worker ants and their CEOs.