Berkman in the News
One of Posner’s opponents was Jonathan Zittrain, another distinguished cyberlaw professor, based at Harvard University. He drove to the other extreme. Even if we might see some merit in Europe’s data laws, Zittrain is not at all happy about them being used to carve holes out of Google search. To counter the database of ruin argument, he says we are creating a “swiss cheese internet”. The nub of Zittrain’s concern is that the practice of shaping what stays and what goes from the database is hopelessly individualistic. By allowing the delisting of information that is incorrect, outdated or harmful for individuals, who knows what else will follow. It sets us on a path, Zittrain claims, where the internet becomes the lowest common denominator result of what all the world’s countries and courts are prepared to leave behind.
Since 2014, the Internet Monitor project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society has been collecting data about Internet access and analyzing what different communities around the world are saying. Internet Monitor’s online data platform presents and analyzes data from about 100 countries with the two-part goal of providing better data for better decision making, and conducting original research that analyzes this data to see what it says about the status of the Internet.
Dr. Powers: China’s multifaceted approach of government regulation, censorship, monitoring, self-regulation, encouragement of national industry, and protectionism has been highly effective at keeping Chinese netizens away from foreign applications and content. This effort coincides with a concerted campaign to reframe access to the internet as a privilege rather than a right, for those citizens able to use the Web in ways fit for China’s harmonious society. Despite Western predictions of its inevitable failure, China’s approach has worked. According to Harvard University’s Berkman Center, 96 percent of all page views in China are of Web sites hosted within China.
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.
What’s more, cellphone carriers typically keep basic details — or metadata — about text messages their customers send for billing purposes. Such records include the date and time of the message and the phone numbers the messages were sent to and from, but not the messages themselves. “They could get details of whom [Brady] texted and when,” said Nathan Freitas, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. But, “the actual text is what is really hard to get, if not impossible,” to get from a carrier.
A few weeks ago, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society released a report that documents the achievements of Holyoke Gas & Electric (HG&E) Telecom, a municipal electric utility that now provides fiber-optic broadband Internet to local businesses in several western Massachusetts towns.
So, last year the Obama administration lifted sanctions on American tech companies that sell personal communication technologies. “It is fully legal to sell cellphones, laptops, tablets, modems, Wi-Fi routers and most of the software that most people use every day,” says Vivek Krishnamurthy, who teaches at Harvard Law School. But, Krishnamurthy says, that hasn’t meant that American tech companies have jumped into Iran — there’s still no Apple Store there. “Doing business with Iran is extremely difficult today because of the comprehensive financial sanctions,” he says. “It’s really hard to get money in or out of the country.”
“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.”
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.