Berkman in the News
“For a lot of people, libraries represent a certain kind of quiet, a certain kind of place, a certain kind of book in large numbers,” said Matthew Battles, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society and co-author of “Library Beyond the Book.” “These are beautiful ideas and ideals. But they demand reinterpretation and cultivation from generation to generation.”
“As a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, I have been interested in the problem of information asymmetry when it comes to social media, and how technology can provide us better solutions to understand the world around us in a way that is more open, and participatory,” he says. The TV sector was the most interesting to him because it’s in the hands of fewer gatekeepers, Heusser explains. “I’m extremely motivated with the idea to open and democratize the TV sector, starting with ‘live TV’ powered by mobile technologies,” he says.
Other report authors include Harold Abelson, a computer science professor at MIT; Josh Benaloh, a leading cryptographer at Microsoft; Susan Landau, a professor of cybersecurity at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and formerly a senior privacy analyst at Google; and Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and a widely read security author.
The connection between Internet use and offline community dangers for minors has also been an area of intense study and scrutiny. For an overview, see a comprehensive 2008 report for the state attorneys general of the United States, led by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
In an age of eBooks, Google, and Smartphones, many have questioned the importance of libraries. John Palfrey ’01, has penned a new book, which he calls “a love letter to libraries,” that makes the case that libraries are more relevant than ever. Palfrey, who currently serves as Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover, and as director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, spoke about his new book, “BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In An Age of Google,” at HLS on June 22. Palfrey previously served as vice dean for Libraries and Information Resources at Harvard Law School and as executive director of the Berkman Center from 2002 to 2008.
“I am delighted that the Ransom Center has joined other world-class institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University and Cornell University in opening up material,” said Peter B. Hirtle, fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and a senior policy advisor at Cornell University Library.Future efforts will involve removing restrictions for other materials believed to be in the public domain and making them available through the Ransom Center’s digital collections portal.
“Digital gerrymandering occurs when a site instead distributes information in a manner that serves its own ideological agenda,” wrote Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of law and computer science at Harvard University, in the New Republic. “There are plenty of reasons to regard digital gerrymandering as such a toxic exercise that no right-thinking company would attempt it.”
Google’s decision to remove “revenge porn” from its search results is the latest in a string of efforts made by Internet companies to help thwart harassment online, and a win for advocacy groups that have been working on the issue. But any decision by Google to limit its search results automatically sends ripples through First Amendment circles. To get a sense of what this means for Google and the rest of us, we asked Andy Sellars, a First Amendment Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, to walk us through the issue.
On April 2, Harvard Law School Professor Jonathan Zittrain ’95 addressed the impact of algorithms on our lives, on and offline. His lecture “Love the Processor, Hate the Process: The Temptations of Clever Algorithms and When to Resist Them” marked his appointment as George Bemis Professor of International Law.
“Long-term, there’s no reason all of these tasks need to be carried out by one company,” says Ben Doernberg, a bitcoin expert and research assistant at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “A designer in Brazil can build a lovely mobile app that sends your ride request to a matching engine based in San Francisco that pulls trust ratings from a blockchain-based decentralized identity system. When someone in Chicago makes a better matching engine, decentralized Uber switches over and doesn’t miss a beat.”