Among the groups signing the letter to Obama were the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. Security experts signing the letter included Ronald Rivest, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; and Dan Wallach, a computer science professor at Rice University.
Berkman in the News
New York is one of the states in which an individual can secretly record other people – either on the telephone or in person – as long as the person who makes the recording is aware of it, according to the Digital Media Law Project, which is sponsored by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Federal laws on eavesdropping are essentially the same as New York’s statute, the two attorneys said.
“What’s interesting about Bitcoin isn’t the currency itself, but rather the underlying technology, the blockchain,” explained Primavera De Filippi, research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, speaking at Nesta’s FutureFest. “It’s the decentralised public ledger that relies on cryptography in order to ensure that every transaction is valid.”
This would also go a long way to keeping library knowledge relevant, for this information could be linked from other sources of information about authors, courses, geography, historical weather data . . . to everything. There are important efforts — such as the Linked Data for Libraries project led by Cornell, Harvard, and Stanford — getting started on that task. Opening up resources in this way enables the culture of libraries to be knit into the online network where our culture has taken up residence. Someday perhaps the content will catch up. David Weinberger is a senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
The reasonableness of that expectation would depend on the particular factual circumstances, according to the Digital Media Law Project, a project of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “Therefore, you cannot necessarily assume that you are in the clear simply because you are in a public place,” according to the center.
Matthew Battles’s “Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word” is an exploration of the “magisterium of writing,” which is his way of describing writing’s robust and inescapable “influence on human experience.” Rather than a dense, comprehensive history of writing and literacy, Battles, a program fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and the author of “Library: An Unquiet History,” offers a meditation on the uses, abuses, and misunderstandings of writing across cultures and centuries, from early pictographic representations to contemporary computing.
What if we end up living in a world without strict rules on cameras? What if, wherever we go, we know we might be caught on film and the images shared with strangers? It could have the unexpected effect of making our society more tolerant, says Judith Donath at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. If more of us have embarrassing footage floating around on the internet, then perhaps we’ll be forgiving of others who have it too.
“Of all the things to worry about now in Turkey, to have the country ban a source of information seems both an overreaction and totally misplaced,” says Zeynep Tufekci, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and a specialist on Turkish Internet activism. “Unfortunately, it seems like instead of controlling the situation, there is this emphasis on controlling the flow of information. It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t address the tumultuous situation to begin with.”
Dalia Topelson Ritvo, assistant director of the cyberlaw clinic at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, concurred, saying that it’s important to make sure both parties in the relationship are on the same page. “My best advice for a company is to have clear policies regarding when it is appropriate for an employee to use their own devices, and create technological protocols to ensure the company retains control over the information,” she said.