Wednesday, November 7, 6:00 pm Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East A Room
The models of individual behavior upon which U.S. legal scholars and policymakers habitually rely are too narrow and unrealistic to yield useful insights into information policy problems. Configuring the Networked Self seeks to remedy this deficit, and in the process to develop a unified framework for conceptualizing the social and cultural effects of legal and technical regimes that govern information access and use. It offers guiding principles for information policy reform that move beyond the themes of “access to knowledge” and “network neutrality.” The everyday behaviors of ordinary people require spaces where they can be enacted, tools with which they can be pursued, and meaningful legal guarantees in which they can claim shelter. This requires more careful attention to the semantic structure of the networked information environment. The mixture of freedom and control that human beings require to flourish is achieved most effectively when regulatory architectures are characterized by operational transparency—by access to the underlying logic of information systems—and by semantic discontinuity—by gaps and inconsistencies within systems of meaning that leave room for the play of everyday practice.