Nathan Freitas leads the Guardian Project, an open-source mobile security software project, and directs technology strategy and training at the Tibet Action Institute. His work at the Berkman Center focuses on tracking the legality and prosecution risks for mobile security app users and developers worldwide.
Berkman in the News
A 2012 paper on youth and social movements, a collaboration between Lady Gaga’s Born this Way Foundation and Harvard University’s Berkman Center, found young people to be powerful agents for social change, crediting undocumented-youth sit-ins for convincing President Obama to grant DREAMers a reprieve from deportation in 2012. The paper’s author writes of youth activists primed to “call out or identify systems of oppression, speak up, and mobilize their peers.”
But back doors aren’t the answer, others say. Weakening security for everybody doesn’t automatically mean you can catch the bad guys, says Bruce Schneier, a cryptography and security expert who has authored 13 books. “This notion that encryption suddenly makes this impossible to uncover makes no sense. Encryption isn’t magic,” says Schneier, who is also chief technology officer at Resilient Systems, a cybersecurity company, and a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “If the FBI, or the Chinese government, or the [National Security Agency] wanted to get into your computer, they’d be in your computer” via advanced hacking.
A recent study by Professor Urs Gasser and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society examines the diverse efforts to develop an Internet Bill of Rights. In “Towards Digital Constitutionalism? Mapping Attempts to Craft an Internet Bill of Rights,” Professor Gasser and his co-authors conduct an analysis of 30 initiatives that have sought to articulate a Bill of Rights for the Internet. The authors find that each of the distinct initiatives are “engaged in the same conversation, seeking to advance a relatively comprehensive set of rights, principles, and governance norms for the Internet, and are usefully understood as part of a broader proto-constitutional discourse.” “Towards Digital Constitutionalism?” provides a comparative examination of these diverse efforts toward digital constitutionalism, and provokes new questions for further research and study.
“The lack of that data had a significant effect on how people viewed the law enforcement system in this country, how do you hold that system accountable if you don’t know what it’s doing?” said Clarence Wardell, a Presidential Innovation Fellow and affiliate of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer who is a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society and chief technology officer at the security firm Resilient Systems, said the Paris attacks may be used “to scare people” to weaken encryption. Schneier said leaked emails from September suggest that the US administration would seek to use a terror attack to get more public support for surveillance.
The Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Yochai Benkler ’94 has written extensively on the “networked public sphere,” including his influential book, “The Wealth of Networks.” He spoke about his proposal for a defense of whistleblowers, his testimony in a trial of a well-known leaker of military documents, and a problem he calls a growing crisis in the country.