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Cyberscholars Working Group at Harvard

Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
at Harvard University
23 Everett St, 2nd Fl, Cambridge, MA

The Cyberscholar Working Group is a forum for fellows and affiliates of MIT, Yale Law School Information Society Project, Columbia University, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University to discuss their ongoing research.. Each session is focused on the peer review and discussion of current projects submitted by a presenter. Meeting alternatively at Harvard, MIT, Yale, the working group aims to expand the shared knowledge of young scholars by bringing together these preeminent centers of thought on issues confronting the information age. Discussion sessions are designed to facilitate advancements in the individual research of presenters and in turn encourage exposure among the participants to the multi-disciplinary features of the issues addressed by their own work.

This month's presentations include:

(1) Any Colour You Like: The History (and Future?) of Internet Security Policy with Axel Arnbak

In the last two decades or so, two distinct claims to security have competed for attention in internet policy: a technical conception rooted in computer science theory since the 1970s, and the 'cybersecurity' concept that emerged in the U.S. political arena of the 1990s. Today, policymakers, intelligence officials, researchers and activists alike have welcomed the latter in their vocabulary. But from its inception, 'cybersecurity' was aimed at economic and political exploitation by securitizing stakeholders, effectively enabling them to paint security in any colour they like. Even after the Snowden revelations, the U.S. government has been successful in securitizing the internet with calls to monitor all traffic to counter "the imminent cyber-threat" -- serious implications for open innovation, user rights and democracy notwithstanding.
 
To better understand the two claims to 'security', this paper comprehensively maps four decades of internet security conceptualizations in five security policy cycles: network and information security, data protection, telecommunications, encryption, and cybercrime. The historical analysis enables identification of the underlying values at stake, the protection offered through existing laws, and the formulation of a research agenda for computer science, political theory and legal research. Ultimately, the paper proposes long-term legislative reform, mid-term policy recommendations and a near-term agenda for activism.


Axel Arnbak is a full-time faculty member at the Institute for Information Law (University of Amsterdam), working on network and information security, privacy and freedom of speech. In 2013-14, Axel is visiting the U.S. as a Research Fellow at the Berkman Center and CITP (Princeton University). From 2009-11, Axel re-started and worked for Dutch digital rights organization Bits of Freedom, as well as European Digital Rights in Brussels. More info: https://www.axelarnbak.nl/

(2) Camilla Hrdy will be discussing Local Commercialization Incentives, paper available here <http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2404741>

Some patent law scholars have proposed introducing new forms of patents to promote commercialization of inventions that would not otherwise be commercialized, or at least not within a reasonable period of time. In this Article I suggest that so-called commercialization patents are unnecessary because the United States already has a system for promoting commercialization of inventions that does not require creating unprecedented exclusive rights: direct government financing. Drawing on statutes and administrative codes, I provide an in-depth account of the major commercialization financing options for inventors and entrepreneurs at both the federal and the state levels. I then compare these incentives, called commercialization awards, to newly proposed commercialization patents. I show that, like commercialization patents, commercialization awards create strong incentives to commercialize inventions in the near future, and that award administrators employ a variety of strategies, such as strict investment matching requirements, to reduce the risk of wasting public money on projects that are not commercially viable.

Based on the insight that non-patent commercialization incentives exist and may be as efficient or more efficient than commercialization patents, I make a novel argument regarding the institutional structure of U.S. patent and innovation policy from the perspective of federalism. I assert that, when the field of commercialization incentives is expanded to include non-patent options such as commercialization awards, state and local governments may be better suited to design and administer these programs. The reason is that - unlike generation of new technological information, which is thought to produce significant geographic spillovers justifying federal intervention in the form of patents - commercialization of inventions produces relatively localized benefits, including not only near-term political benefits like job creation, but also long-term productivity gains as a result of new information derived from the actual practice, production, and marketing of inventions that, at least for a time, remains geographically bound to its place of origin. Thus, according to theories of economic federalism, state and local governments should have superior incentives and superior information to promote commercialization of inventions in their own jurisdictions than the federal government.

Camilla Hrdy's research focuses on intellectual property, patent law, and innovation policy. Her publications include State Patent Laws in the Age of Laissez-Faire, 28 Berkeley Tech. L. J. (forthcoming 2013); Dissenting State Patent Regimes, Essay, IP Theory (forthcoming 2013); and State Patents as a Solution to Underinvestment in Innovation, 62 Univ. Kan. L. Rev. (forthcoming). Camilla holds a J.D. from Berkeley Law, a B.A. from Harvard University, and an M.Phil. in the History & Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. She has received various awards for her writing, including Harvard's Hoopes prize and a Readhead Prize from the Department of History & Philosophy of Science at Cambridge. From 2010-2011, Camilla clerked for federal district judge Janis Graham Jack in the Corpus Christi Division of the Southern District of Texas.Camilla Hrdy's research focuses on intellectual property, patent law, and innovation policy. Her publications include State Patent Laws in the Age of Laissez-Faire, 28 Berkeley Tech. L. J. (forthcoming 2013); Dissenting State Patent Regimes, Essay, IP Theory (forthcoming 2013); and State Patents as a Solution to Underinvestment in Innovation, 62 Univ. Kan. L. Rev. (forthcoming). Camilla holds a J.D. from Berkeley Law, a B.A. from Harvard University, and an M.Phil. in the History & Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. She has received various awards for her writing, including Harvard's Hoopes prize and a Readhead Prize from the Department of History & Philosophy of Science at Cambridge. From 2010-2011, Camilla clerked for federal district judge Janis Graham Jack in the Corpus Christi Division of the Southern District of Texas.

(3) Promise Tracker with Heather Craig

The Center for Civic Media is currently conducting design research for Promise Tracker, a tool that allows citizens to monitor infrastructure in their communities. Promise Tracker is a mobile and web based tool that allows citizens to identify promises related to infrastructure and collect data on those promises, such as going to the location of a proposed health clinic and taking a photo of the site. Citizens can use the data to take action; for example, citizens can notify civic leaders of their concerns, recruit others to help collect data, or amplify a story about unfulfilled promises. We have facilitated initial design workshops and are working with community partners to design and build Promise Tracker.

Heather Craig is a Research Assistant at MIT's Center for Civic Media and a masters student in MIT's Comparative Media Studies program.

 
Past Event
Thursday, Mar 27, 2014
Time
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM