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Cyberscholar Working Group

at Yale

Wednesday, May 2nd
40 Ashmun Street, New Haven, Yale University

The Cyberscholar Working Group is a forum for fellows and affiliates of the MIT,  Yale Law School Information Society Project, Columbia University, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University to discuss their ongoing research. This month's presentations will include:

"Incitement to Riot in the age of Flash Mobs" (Margot Kaminski, Executive Director, Yale Information Society Project)

As people increasingly use social media to organize both protests and robberies, government will try to regulate these calls to action. With an eye to this intensifying dynamic, this article reviews First Amendment jurisprudence on incitement, and applies it to existing statutes on incitement-to-riot at a common-law, state, and federal level. The article suggests that First Amendment jurisprudence has a particularly tortuous relationship with regulating speech directed to crowds. It examines current crowd psychology to suggest which crowd behavior, if any, should as a matter of policy be subject to regulation. It concludes that many existing incitement-to-riot statutes are both bad policy and unconstitutional under Brandenburg v. Ohio.  The article consequently suggests that courts should be careful in the application of these statutes, and states should hesitate to build upon existing incitement to riot statutes to regulate new media.

"Innovation in Online Gambling" (Rebecca Bolin, Postdoctoral Associate in Law and Fellow, Yale Information Society Project)

Internet gambling is at a critical moment.  With OLC abandoning federal claims preempting Internet gambling, states are now free to experiment with potentially expansive online gambling operations.  Among the issues states are wrestling are licensing schemes, interests of Indian tribes, age verification, security, competition with entrenched casino interests, and the potential societal harms of Internet gaming.  New players in the market, such as Zynga, are looking to create an entirely new school of Internet gambling, while cash-strapped states are looking for easy money.

Beyond "digital literacy" there is Cybercy:  what does this new concept index? (Catalina Laserna, Berkman Center for Internet & Society)

For the past few months, I have been reanalyzing some excellent footage of teachers and students interacting with (and through)  Rellab, a piece of software designed to teach Einstein's theory of relativity - a topic that neither books nor lab experiments can easily demonstrate or teach.  What I find so compelling about the footage of  Rellab-in-use, is how the emergent joint activity, both linguistic and non-linguistic, can be traced back to preexisting oral and literate ways with words. Since the interaction between novices and experts happens in the cyber-arena created by RelLab, both can engage experiments which *cannot* be carried out in a non-digital world. For example, actors can set up slow speed scenarios which enable one to view motion form different points of view. A careful analysis of the way language-in-activity  is used, reveals that we are witnessing the emergence of a different way of talking and acting. It is that distinct style which I associate with cybercy. (Note the double meaning of the word "style" as both a tool and a manner of doing something.) In a nutshell, my claim is that the term "digital literacy"  is an oxymoron, very much along the lines of, in the early years of television, having called a TV a visual radio. What is happening with human behavior in the digital world goes well beyond literacy…. just listen for the metaphors associated with cyberspace:   "digital footprints" ….  "digital fingerprints" ….   Sounds like hunting or tracking to me not literacy. We need a better more evocative term. I propose cyber-cy, defined as the essence of navigating. Particular cybercies always entail a dialectic between pre-existing forms associated with non-digital media.and the affordances of the specific digital environment.

Come to the entrance of 40 Ashmun St and either buzz up or email me (
We'll get started at 6pm.

Past Event
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM