Berkman in the News
And as a lawyer rather than a professional librarian (a fact he seems a tad defensive about), Palfrey is particularly good at explaining new legal challenges to preserving information. Libraries can purchase books and then lend them out as often as they like. But when libraries are renters rather than owners of digital materials — as is the case with e-books — their ability to lend is limited by licensing agreements. Because of longstanding copyright laws, “the digital age could perversely become an era with less accessibility, not more, than the analog age.”
“Problematic new laws are emerging in democratic and authoritarian countries alike,” according to the summary of Freedom on the Net 2014, a report released in 2014 by the independent watchdog organization Freedom House. While every government has a legitimate need to protect its country’s infrastructure, trade secrets, and public safety, “the problem here is to balance our concerns over protecting our computer networks—especially in the way they interact with critical infrastructure—with personal liberty and privacy,” said Timothy H. Edgar, a CAS computer science visiting lecturer, in a talk at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
But other scholars, like Rey Junco, a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, at Harvard, say social media merely raises the profile of behavior that used to take place out of the view of the public.
“We don’t see, statistically, an uptick in riskier behaviors,” Dr. Junco said.
Co-founded by Felipe Heusser, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the concept for this service was inspired while exploring independent media coverage of the 2011 Chilean Student Protests. The idea is that every day, countless events happen that so many people don’t have the opportunity to see — and even when someone is able to record them, it often takes too much time to share or post that content.
But Helmi Noman, research affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center in Massachusetts, said the survey does not necessarily “reflect objective claims of right and wrong” because different cultures view morality in different ways.So people living under repressive regimes or in countries that tightly control online content might also view the Internet as a bad influence on morality.
“It taps into a larger fear, especially in Europe, of Google’s dominance and the power it exercises over all of us,” said Vivek Krishnamurthy of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, speaking of the EU’s complaint.
Krishnamurthy believes that “the Android action is potentially much more significant” than the formal search complaint because Europe’s concern — that Google forces phone makers to install its search engine and other products — has “shades of the U.S. antitrust case against Microsoft” for favoring its Web browser.
“Anyone with a Harvard ID can tap in, sit down, and do their thing,” says Chris Bavitz, Clinical Professor of Law and managing director of the HLS Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Dean’s Designate to the i-lab. “That means anything from having shared space to work to looking at a physical bulletin board where people are looking for a software developer or lawyer. Nearly every night of the week, there’s programming about venture capital or how to deal with employment issues or any number of other legal and business concerns that startups face.”
A 2015 study, “Score Another One for the Internet? The Role of the Networked Public Sphere in the U.S. Net Neutrality Policy Debate,” looks at the public debate on net neutrality in the United States as the FCC was rewriting its regulations from January to November 2014, when President Obama made his announcement. The authors utilized the pioneering analysis tool Media Cloud, a joint project between the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and the Center for Civic Media at MIT, to examine more than 16,000 stories published on the subject during that period. The researchers — Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, Bruce Etling, Dalia Othman and Yochai Benkler — also analyzed the connections between media sources formed by more than 10,000 links among the stories.