Internet Designers as Policy-Makers
Sandra Braman, Abbott Professor of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Those responsible for technical design of the Internet are essential among the policy-makers for this large-scale sociotechnical infrastructure. Based on analysis of the RFCs (1969-1999), this talk looks at how these policy-makers thought and think about policy issues while addressing technical problems. Findings include basic design criteria that serve as constitutional principles; interactions between human and non-human users; tensions between geo- and network-political citizenship; early internationalization; and what Internet designers can teach us about decision-making under conditions of instability in everything from the design subject on.
Sandra Braman’s research has been supported by grants from the US National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Soros Foundation, and the First Amendment Fund. Braman’s book Change of State: Information, Policy, and Power, currently undergoing revision for a second edition, is in use around the world and is widely viewed as having defined the field of information policy. Other publications include the edited volumes Communication Researchers and Policy-Making, The Emergent Global Information Policy Regime, and Biotechnology and Communication: The Meta-Technologies of Information and over 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters. Braman created and launched the first graduate (postgraduate) program in telecommunications and information policy on the African continent while serving as Director and Visiting Professor at the University of South Africa. She has also served in the invited positions of Freedom of Expression Professor at the University of Bergen (Norway), Fulbright Senior Scholar at Södertörn University (Sweden), and Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). She conceived and edits the Information Policy Book Series at MIT Press, and is former Chair of the Communication Law and Policy Division of the International Communication Association and former Chair of the Law Section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research. In 2014 Braman was inducted as a Fellow of the International Communication Association.