Berkman in the News
CopyrightX is offered to different student populations in different ways. For instance, the in-person version of the course is offered in a traditional classroom to HLS students. The online version, which is taught in parallel with the campus course, has been offered since edX began in 2012. The third, hybrid version of the course began almost by accident, according to William Fisher, the WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law, the course’s main instructor.
European regulators want Google to take down search results on all versions of Google, not just the European ones. Google has balked at this for now, but it isn’t inconceivable that Europe’s views could reach beyond its borders. “It surely could,” says Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “Right now, when something is taken down because its alleged to be copyright infringing, Google doesn’t take it down when an American complains under American law from Google.com it takes it down from all Google portals.”
Student intellectual property rights. As I said at a recent White House meeting with staff from the Office of Science and Technology Policy and at a recent Berkman Center student privacy event, we need to craft legislation that also protects students’ rights to their own data. That not only means that students should have the right to protect their privacy but also the right to retain their data and intellectual property to use as they wish at any time in their lives.
Cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, says another way to protect consumers is corporate accountability. “What government can do about data breaches is increase the penalties,” he says. “Right now your data is not very well protected because the cost of losing it isn’t very high to the companies that have it.” Schneier wants to see the next president take on privacy too — what should police be able to access without a warrant, and what should companies be allowed to store. So far, we’ve just kind of assumed the answer is … everything.
Some think differently. Cable companies already have scant competition for supplying Internet service, said Susan Crawford, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.”High-speed Internet access today is a utility” that’s essential for education and job searching, Crawford noted. “Yet in American cities, cable is the dominant provider of that private utility and can charge whatever it wants to whoever it wants.”
Companies fear that if its users, like the French teacher, win cases against them, it could require them to tailor-make their sites for each specific country’s laws — an expensive task even in the E.U., which has 28 member states. That makes the issue of jurisdiction key to many cases. “This question that is on everyone’s minds right now, not only for Facebook but also Google and Twitter, because all these entities have international scope and reach,” says Adam Holland, project coordinator for the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “We don’t want to let local laws dictate global policy, because where will that end?”
The courts can settle this matter, but only if they are allowed to consider the legality of the secrets Snowden disclosed. USC-Berkeley Journalism Dean Edward Wasserman and Harvard Law School Professor Yochai Benkler believe there should be a public interest defense to protect whistleblowers in cases like Snowden’s. It is hypocritical that sources are punished while their press contacts win prizes for using their information. And it should not be a crime to expose a crime.
But when it comes to putting all this into practice, one Harvard internet law professor thinks he has spotted a flaw. “Why would we assume that now and forever no one entity could command more than half of the computing power of the people mining a Blockchain?” asks Prof Jonathan Zittrain. “I haven’t really heard a satisfying answer to that.”
For anyone angered by the secret recordings, their website points to an ACLU website that enables people to contact their representatives in Congress. There’s also the question of legality. “New York makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on an in-person or telephone conversation unless one party to the conversation consents,” the Digital Media Law Project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society explains on its website. “Thus, if you operate in New York, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance.”
Airing on Monday, May 18, 2015: First up on today’s show, Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, joins to to talk about giving people the choice to opt out of being recorded in public on livestreaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope.