Difference between revisions of "Syllabus"

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One obvious thought is to see whether the class can play around with using prediction markets, though more thought needed on what we'd want to predict.  Incentives for accurate predictions like t-shirts?
 
One obvious thought is to see whether the class can play around with using prediction markets, though more thought needed on what we'd want to predict.  Incentives for accurate predictions like t-shirts?
  
Will Harvard give us some small amount of money to invest for the semester?  We could have an auction to determine whose investment ideas we use.  The incentives would work so that you would only bid to pay more if you actually thought your investment idea would generate more net return to you, despite it being divided up among the class. (mirrors prediction markets)
+
Will Harvard give us some small amount of money to invest for the semester?  We could have an auction to determine whose investment ideas we use.  The incentives would work so that you would only bid to pay more if you actually thought your investment idea would generate more net return to you, despite it being divided up among the class.
  
 
== Anonymity and privacy ==
 
== Anonymity and privacy ==

Revision as of 03:56, 8 December 2008

The Future of Copyright and Entertainment

Presenters: Joe, Miriam

  • fan fiction websites
  • right of privacy/publicity on social network sites

Changing trends in Consumption & Creation of Music and other Performance Art

We are beginning to see more and more choices for where and how to get copyrighted music. Gone are the days when it was either download illegally on programs such as Limewire or pay for them on iTunes. In some instances, copyright is even receding as a battleground issue altogether. In this session, we would be exploring how these new avenues of music consumption & creation might affect the way we experience music in our day to day lives--and just what exactly copyright has to do with any of it. The following are a few examples of some points of tension.

First, we may consider the rise of alternative marketplaces for music. There have been attempts at creating new marketplaces from scratch such as at Aimee Street, which lowers the cost of discovering new music by setting price according to download popularity. Then there has been Grooveshark, which charges for downloads from its user-uploaded library but actually gives a cut to the original uploader. And then we find the advertisement-driven revenue model creeping in, such as at Imeem, the third-most popular social networking site on the Internet as of August (behind only facebook and MySpace). We also find Radiohead using a tip jar for their latest release, where customers pay as little or as much as they deem appropriate.

Second, it has been said that iTunes is changing our musical culture from an "concept based" one to a "song based" one. The transition means that the album becomes less and less of a meaningful unit of creativity; consumers are more likely to think of the tracks as individual songs than as parts of a coherent whole. Music critics might follow suit. It's worth asking whether this trend will continue--does the move to digital media necessarily produce this result? The potential demise of the album provides a useful case study of how means of consumption and distribution affects how we conceptualize the music we experience.

Third, with the rise of peer-recommendation services and internet-radio stations that are driven by a listener's past interests, it's worth asking just where & how we'll be discovering new music in the future. When we are downloading individual songs rather than albums, and discovering those songs through automated services, are we likely to discover new artists to follow? Or does "the artist" as a predictor of our aesthetic taste begin to recede in importance?

Some possible questions of the week:

  • In 5 years, where are we likely to be getting our music from?
  • Are any of the models described above likely to succeed commercially?
  • Are our methods of music consumption likely to have an impact on our methods of music production? Is this likely to have an affect on the sort of music available to us?
  • How closely will we be following particular artist's careers? Is the rise of peer-recommendation services likely to decrease the importance of brand loyalty to an artist? With alternative indicators of whether we're likely to enjoy something, will we see fewer listeners buying the latest album? Does anyone even care about albums anymore?
  • What affect will all of this have on our inclination and capacity to branch out in our tastes? For those that worry about internet echo chambers, should we be just as worried about an echo chamber for the arts?
  • Just where does the recording industry fit in to all of this?
  • How much does copyright have to do with the new strategies being developed for distributing music online? Where would changes in copyright law make the most difference? The least difference?

Possible Readings

Possible Guests

  • Radiohead (worth a shot, right?)
  • Brian Burton, aka DJ Danger Mouse
  • Girl Talk
  • Jan Jannink (co-founder of imeem, formerly of Napster)
  • James Boyle (Duke Law School & chair of Creative Commons)
  • Terry Fisher (HLS & Noank Media)
  • John Buckman (Magnatune Records)
  • Downhill Battle

The Proliferation of Images Online

tbd


Possible Guests

Rebecca Tushnet

tbd

Old Laws/New Media

Matt Sanchez, Debbie Rosenbaum, Shubham Mukherjee

This topic concerns the tension that occurs when we attempt to apply old laws to new media and communications technologies (including the Internet). The discussions in this session should provide a useful legal perspective on the societal issues addressed in the sessions regarding music, news, and other communications media.

Tentative "questions of the week"

  • How has new media affected traditional communications and media industries and challenged traditional law?
  • How has traditional law challenged new media?
  • Should new media be treated like one of the traditional media (print, broadcasting, or common carriers), a hybrid, or something entirely new?
  • How have the courts, Congress, and other lawmaking bodies responded to new media technologies?
  • What regulatory regime is emerging, if any, to govern new media?
  • How do we deal with the fact that there is little legal infrastructure that takes into account today's new media and technological environments?
  • Do we apply old laws to new technologies, or do we create new regulations?
  • How can we create sound policy that aligns with both traditional legal and moral aspirations while according with today's technological realities?


Tentative ideas for topics

  • Copyright law (e.g., recording industry's litigation campaign against filesharing) (including the specific example of Sony BMG v. Tenenbaum, a federal file-sharing case the three of us are working on with Professor Charles Nesson, co-founder of the Berkman Center)
  • Speech-related law (e.g., defamation, anonymous speech rights)
  • Privacy laws


Possible guests

  • Google Telecom Lawyer Rick Whitt
  • Google Antitrust Lawyer Dana Wagner
  • Berkman Center's David Ardia, who runs the Citizen Media Law Project
  • Cary Sherman of RIAA
  • Professor Charles Nesson
  • Public Citizen Litigation Group Attorney Paul Alan Levy
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation Attorney Fred Von Lohmann


Possible readings

  • Various court documents and media coverage from the Sony v. Tenenbaum case
  • Materials related to online defamation and anonymity law (AutoAdmit, Roommates.com, etc.)
  • Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997) (Supreme Court decision striking down parts of Communications Decency Act and also the Court's leading statement on the constitutional status of the Internet)
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster Ltd., 545 U.S. 913 (2005) (Internet services that facilitate file sharing of copyrighted materials can be held liable for infringement)
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998 law that extended U.S. copyright principles to digital materials).

Other considerations

  • TBD

The Internet and Publication

Presenters: Gwen, Lee, Jon

The internet has completely changed the meaning of publication, and the relationship between print and digital media is continually evolving. The advent of the personal computer and the internet have changed the way information is assembled, distributed, managed, and digested in ways at least as dramatic and consequential as the advent of the printing press. How are traditional publishers coping with these changes? What new forms of publishing are made possible by the internet, and what challenges do they entail? --Gwen 16:34, 1 December 2008 (EST)

The Publication Process

Open Access Publishing

Addressing whether there actually seems to be a movement toward this model, and away from traditional science/tech publishing. What effects movement toward this model might have on quality, oversight, etc. of published articles. Also, discussion of business models/funding, problems with open access models, etc. And any copyright issues (to tie things back to law).

This can relate both to open access of full articles (as with PLoS) or single experiments/results (including Science Commons and like projects to both make the data available, and, perhaps more importantly, the technologies to make it available in usable form)

Would "open review" (instead of "peer review") work? Are there any models around? What about a Slashdot-style system of moderation and meta-moderation?

Yes, there is at least one example that I can think of. Lawrence Lessig published the first edition of his book Code in 1999. It came out in paper and ink. Several years later, in order to "translate" (his word) the book into a second edition, Lessig persuaded the publisher (Basic Books) to allow him to post the entire text of the first edition of the book on a wiki hosted by Jotspot. (The Wiki text was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.) Lessig explains, "a team of 'chapter captains' helped facilitate a conversation about the text. There were some edits to the text itself, and many more valuable comments and criticisms. I then took that text as of the end of 2005 and added my own edits to produce this book." (Preface to Code version 2.0, x.) Code version 2.0 is the result of this collaborative editing process. It is available for purchase in paper and ink, for free as a PDF download, and also on a wiki hosted by Socialtext. --Gwen 15:45, 1 December 2008 (EST)

Collaborative and Customized Textbooks

Maybe also Harvard's new open access policy for academic work? (note that the Harvard Free Culture group is working on the matter - see The Weeler Declaration)

JZ described an innovative publication option with which Foundation Press seems willing to experiment: essentially, individual chapters are available independently from one another, giving instructors the freedom to custom build a text book that contains exactly their desired materials (no more, and no less), in the desired sequence. Assuming this model is technologically, legally, and financially feasible, what benefits and drawbacks does it entail? Possible risks might include a lack of completeness and/or organization in the materials ultimately acquired by students as well as the possibility that pedagogical emphasis is dictated by sociologically driven group trends rather than deliberately thoughtful decision making. --Gwen 15:57, 1 December 2008 (EST)

Self Publication

One of the biggest and most obvious changes wrought by the advent of the internet and PCs the ability of individuals to self-publish; it is now cheap, quick, and easy to reach a mass audience with one's own text, images, and sounds. The rise of blogging, Youtube, and other developments have further increased the ease of self-publication. I know that several scholars have studied the rise and impact of self publication opportunities, but I'm not sure what conclusions they've drawn or which of them might be interesting to bring in as a guest. Suggestions? --Gwen 16:09, 1 December 2008 (EST)

The Relationship Between Print and Digital Media

Google Book Search

What does the recent settlement between Google and the Authors Guild/American Association of Publishers regarding online accessibility of digitalized books mean? Many have hailed it for both improving access to knowledge by creating "the long dreamed of universal library" and for avoiding a judicial resolution that might have exposed antiquated aspects of US copyright law. But there may also be troubling aspects of having access to such a large and unique collection of content controlled by a single for-profit company (the agreement is non-exclusive to Google, but it may be difficult for a legitimate competitor to emerge, given Google's sizable first mover advantage).

Is this settlement optimal for all interested groups? Presumably it is for Google and the Authors Guild/AAP, but what about externalities for non-parties, such as the reading public? Is some sort of government intervention appropriate to ensure access to this "universal library"? What difference does it make, if any, that this "universal library" is operated by a private company reliant on many public university libraries?

The Shifting Role of Publishing Companies

As noted above under "Self Publication," the internet makes it very easy for individuals to make their work widely available. However, actually garnering a sizable audience or realizing a profit from one's work remains a greater challenge; it appears to be with respect to this step that the services of traditional publishers appear to retain some value. After all, publishing companies offer marketing channels and name recognition in addition to simply machines that print a books. Are traditional publishing companies threatened by the new forms of publishing that the internet makes possible? Are publishers better off battling the internet (for example, by emphasizing the superiority and reliability of their traditional services) or embracing it (for example, by offering digital and internet-based publication services)? --Gwen 16:16, 1 December 2008 (EST) Should the latter services and items -- such as ebooks, audiobooks in mp3 format, and Amazon Kindle -- be replacements for or compliments to printed books? --Gwen 07:32, 2 December 2008 (EST)

The Fate of Printed Materials

Will the internet cause the use of printed materials to decline to the point that printed materials become obsolete? Obsolescence is reality in my own experience with The Harvard Journal of Law and Technology (JOLT). JOLT publishes its articles online on its website, and it also publishes shorter and more timely posts online in its companion, the JOLT Digest. In addition to being available directly to any internet user, all JOLT articles are made available through legal research databases, including Westlaw and Lexis. Each semester, we order from our publisher (Hein) enormous boxes of the new issue in print, but we have no idea what to do with them. Even after giving away copies to our parents, there are still stacks and stacks of unwanted and unneeded paper copies, and a lighthearted dialogue about what to do with them has steadily taken over the dry erase board in our office. These printed copies of our journal are literally useless. --Gwen 16:32, 1 December 2008 (EST)

The way that readers encounter and digest information is vastly different in the context of printed materials and in the context of digital and online materials. These differences have consequences for both academic researchers and regular citizens in terms of both the kind of information an individual is exposed to and the way that the individual approaches those sources. If a dramatic shift away from printed media is happening, what other shifts does that entail for the way that people learn, synthesize, and evaluate information? --Gwen 16:45, 1 December 2008 (EST)

We talked about an interesting article relating to the topic of how digital media and the internet are affecting the way in which people read in JZ's 1L reading group. The article relates more to how the presentation of written material on the 'net (short and skimmable, links galore, etc.) is affecting the way we process information and our ability to read "long" pieces (ie. more than a page or so) without becoming distracted. It is a bit tangential to the specific discussion of the movement of print media onto digital form (since it mostly discusses the differences between the format of media in each of the forms), but is interesting regardless. Lbaker 08:55, 2 December 2008 (EST)

Distribution Channels

How is the internet changing the way printed materials are distributed? Amazon.com appears to be taking over the role of brick-and-mortar bookstores by offering a cheaper and more convenient way to purchase new printed books; their "look inside" feature makes the online shopping experience even more similar to being in a live bookstore. Similarly, Abebooks.com and similar websites have made it possible for individuals to locate and purchase used, out-of-print, and rare books from one another without requiring the research services of specialized booksellers. Even if hard copy printed materials remain in demand, might bookstores become obsolete? --Gwen 19:41, 4 December 2008 (EST)

Possible Guests

  • Google book digitization people and/or members of the authors guild
  • Amazon Kindle people
  • People from publishing companies doing offering innovative services, products, or editing processes involving the internet. (Does anybody know of such companies?)
  • Someone who has studied self publication on the internet (names?)
  • Someone who has studied reading habits in conjunction with the shift away from printed media (names?)
  • Lessig? (he is probably more useful for a different topic)

Free and Open Source Software

Presenters: dulles,Ayelet

  • How can a dispersed, multilingual collection of coders working for free assemble something as complicated as a web browser, let alone an entire operating system? Open-source projects are famously free-wheeling, but different organizational models and tools have sprung up to solve these obstacles.

What are the forces that drive hackers to contribute to open source projects? What, if anything, can we learn from applying theories of gift economies to open source projects? Should we read Lewis Hyde's The Gift? (n.b. i may be motivated by my own desire to read the book -- dulles)

  • Eric Raymond/OSI ?
  • PJ/Groklaw
  • Strategies and indemnities (e.g. SCO v. IBM)
  • Questioning the foundations of the free software movement (i.e. the "four freedoms")[1] -- how much does access to the source code really matter anymore? Are there alternative theories (e.g. "generativity") that better capture the values at stake? Affero License? (Eben Moglen?)
  • The organization/groups/cooperation questions: how do free software projects organize and govern themselves, and what broader lessons might be learned from it? (e.g. debian, IETF)

(This marks my initial claim to the topic, though I would be overjoyed to work with others - dulles)

Philanthropy/Causes/Cooperation via the Internet

Presenters: Rainer + <b>Elana</b> + Mchua

Title

Suggestions:

  • All Together Now For Great Justice Dot Org

Precis

Examples:

  • Pledgebank
  • Facebook Causes
Yeah, we probably should work on this part more. Mchua 06:07, 5 December 2008 (EST)

Guest wish list

  • Prof. Yochai Benkler
  • Tom Steinberg
  • Sean Parker and Joe Green, founders of Project Agape, the start-up that created Facebook Causes

Readings

Concrete question(s) of the week

  • What makes online campaigning successful?
  • What makes online fundraising successful?
  • Waht makes online activism/mobilization successful?
  • What makes online collaboration for good causes successful?
  • Is there a generalizable model here?
  • If yes, has this model different success factors from the business world?
  • What are cutting-edge examples of campaigning/fundraising/mobilization/collaboration? How do they harness different channels and media (www, email, SMS, etc.)?

Anything else material towards planning your topic

Of course there are a lot of custom-built tools for mobilizing people online to get things done in the real world. On the other hand, what about more general tools? We've all been invited, via Facebook, to join groups and attend events (the Obama campaign certainly made good use of this); is there a generalizable model here?

Facebook groups dedicated to particular causes remind me of the online petitions that began circulating widely via email about ten years ago: their effectiveness in accomplishing real world change--and even their visibility to individuals capable of affecting the desired changes--are dubious. Is the real purpose of these movements simply to make participants feel like they are being active and involved? What percentage of those who signed email petitions in the 1990s were aware that their signatures were unverifiable and that the widely-distributed emails were unlikely to be collated and submitted to an official authority? What expectations do participants in facebook group causes have for their involvement and its consequences? The facebook group causes are certainly more centralized and visible than the old email petitions, and they provide a better tool for identifying and communicating with supporters in order to mobilize them in an organized fashion. How often is such mobilization attempted, and with what degree of success? As a tool of online activism, is facebook a step forward from chain emails, is it a step in a different direction, or does it just serve the same old functions but in newer packaging? --Gwen 08:26, 29 November 2008 (EST)

Maybe we can invite some of the leaders of the various social networking sites or Jascha Franklin-Hodge, who was an architect of the Obama campaign's use of social technology.

Might also be worth considering SMS applications that interface with the internet in this context especially since cell phones will presumably be the nexus of tech activism in the developing world. See FrontlineSMS or Ushahidi, a web crisis mapping project that let any user with a cell phone text in reports of violence in post-election Kenya as a way to geographically report real-time citizen reporting. (ELANA)


The Internet and Societal Inequity

Presenters: Mark, Graham

Socio-technical Gap

Problems encountered in the act of discoursing itself are sometimes addressed via social means, technological means, or both. It has been suggested that technological tools should support social processes, but there is an adaptation of each realm to the other - how does this back-and-forth take place in the design of a successful technology-enabled discussion?

Which inequalities are created or strengthened due the increasing reliance on technology and the differences in the ability to access the Internet(e.g. global and socio-economic differences)? Does the net actually re-distribute and decentralize power and influence, or does it also reinforce the existing political and economic hierarchies? In short - is the Internet really a good thing for everybody?

  • A solutions-focused question here might be: what tools might encourage a more egalitarian internet, both nationally and internationally? How can online applications be designed to encourage social equality? (Berkman Fellow Eszter Hargittai has worked on some related questions, focusing on research about how people actually use the internet.) --G 12:12, 28 November 2008 (EST)

One Laptop Per Child

Happy to help this group with info as I can. Mchua

Environmental Concerns

To what extent is the hardware upon which the Internet exists damaging the environment? Where does old tech go when it dies? What distributive impact does the "recycling" of old tech have. Was the Internet build with principles of physical sustainbility in mind? Is it too late to change? How do individual companies, like Google, view their own practices? Does the cost of a server internalize the cost of disposal? Why has it been cheaper to just keep throwing on new machines? What of the electricity necessary to run these machines? What does it say about society that we are so willing to pollute our own communities to create a second life? Has technological innovation and advancement dislocated the true impact of non-zero cost transactions? --Megerman 19:36, 29 November 2008 (EST)

Prediction Markets

Presenters: Matthew, Elisabeth

Some more helpful material:

  • A primer on the legal status of prediction markets.
  • The CTFC wants to know if it should regulate them.
  • If they can be regulated, could they be taxed as well?
  • Our very own Prof. Sunstein gives his comments on prediction markets and group deliberation.


Intrade, etc.

Tradesports announced last week that it will cease operations at the end of this month. Does fallout from the current economic crisis include regulatory changes that spell doom for online prediction markets? Or is something else going on here? --Gwen 11:05, 26 November 2008 (EST)

Could prediction markets transform how we govern ourselves? Robin Hanson proposes Futarchy. The idea in brief:

"Democracies often fail to aggregate information, while speculative markets excel at this task. We consider a new form of governance, wherein voters would say what we want, but speculators would say how to get it. Elected representatives would oversee the after-the-fact measurement of national welfare, while market speculators would say which policies they expect to raise national welfare. Those who recommend policies that regressions suggest will raise GDP should be willing to endorse similar market advice."

Some general and tentative questions

  • To what extent should the government be engaged in the regulation of prediction markets; should it and how might it change current structures to be more accommodating?
  • To what extent should government be involved in administering or using prediction markets (e.g., a la Hanson's suggestions)?
  • For ethical or other reasons, should we be skeptical about using prediction markets for purposes such as predicting terrorist attacks and the like? What about for predicting regular crime (see this proposal)?
  • More generally, if we think prediction markets are a useful tool, and yet it seems clear that they generate a considerable amount of unease, can we think about why and how policymakers might respond? Can design of the markets (reducing inaccuracy, or reducing concerns about rewarding misbehavior that might crop up if we have terrorism or crime futures) solve these problems or are some more fundamental?

Some tentative guest ideas

  • Michael Abramowicz
  • Justin Wolfers
  • Bo Cowgill, Hal Varian: Google prediction markets
  • Robin Hanson

Possible Readings

  • relevant chapters from Professor Sunstein's Infotopia

Other ideas

One obvious thought is to see whether the class can play around with using prediction markets, though more thought needed on what we'd want to predict. Incentives for accurate predictions like t-shirts?

Will Harvard give us some small amount of money to invest for the semester? We could have an auction to determine whose investment ideas we use. The incentives would work so that you would only bid to pay more if you actually thought your investment idea would generate more net return to you, despite it being divided up among the class.

Anonymity and privacy

Dan Ray, Conor, Joshua

Title

OpenId and Internet Governance

Precis

  • Internet Regulation (as it relates specifically to online safety and security)
  • Privacy and anonymity as they relate to structures of control on the Internet

Guest wish list (if any)

  • As an academic, you couldn't do better than Daniel Solove. If we do hone in on a very specific topic, though, we could go for someone with more specialized experience. Dan Ray 22:39, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Although government is subject to all sorts of special legal provisos that the private sector doesn't have to manage, the privacy counsel at DHS, Hugo Teufel, is pretty on top of his game. If we're looking for practitioners, Ron Lee of Arnold & Porter does work with private industry.
  • If we do OpenID, options for guests might include Bill Washburn of the OpenID Foundation and DeWitt Clinton of Google.
  • Also, since Passport has foundered, Facebook Connect looks like the hot new thing on the proprietary side. Whoever runs that for Facebook would be a natural invite as well. (see Dan's links below (?))
  • And I still think the potential for the mobile phone to become the heretofore mythical convergence device and thus to become a necessary adjunct to personal identity is worth talking over.

Perhaps a bloggingheads.tv-style video conference call between someone from an electronic privacy nonprofit and a representative from Microsoft or Facebook?

Readings

James Grimmelmann, Facebook and The Social Dyanmics of Privacy

Solove, Daniel J. "'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy"

Links

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/125/how-to-fix-the-web.html

http://developers.facebook.com/connect.php

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_connect_vs_open_id.php

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_connect_readies.php

http://chrissaad.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/facebook-connect-aka-hailstorm-20/

http://wiki.openid.net/Lobbying

http://planet.openid.net/


Concrete question(s) of the week

Anything else material towards planning your topic

  • Facebook + google people?
  • another way to look at it is as a matter of cybercrime and such - new surveillence methods (also relevant in regards to child pornography, for example). i wander if these are too different topics or not. Ayelet
  • I'd like to see a segment on what "privacy" actually means in law and in culture. This would probably attach well to any other, more applied segment. Dan Ray 16:38, 3 December 2008 (EST)
  • Creating a series of Privacy Certification Marks

The Future of News

Presenters: Dharmishta Rood, Jon Fildes

The traditional media industry is in turmoil. Circulation of newspapers is falling. Staff are being laid off, costs are being cut and foreign bureaus are being shut. Audiences are fragmenting, advertising spending is plummeting and the valuations of companies is dropping. TV and radio are experiencing similar problems. Some papers are even outsourcing local news reporting to India!

Most of these changes have been blamed on the arrival of the web, which has changed how information is produced and consumed. Now, anyone can be a news gatherer, publisher and distributor. The balance of power has changed.

Yet at the same time, the web offers these organisations a huge opportunity. Already, groups such as spot.us and Pro Publica are experimenting with new business models. Others, such as the Christian Science Monitor, have ditched the old way of doing things and have gone entirely online. Many are using the web to reach out to audiences and connect with them in new ways.

But, are they doing enough? Will experiments like this be enough to save news organisations? Does it matter if they disappear? Should governments intervene to save them in the same way as they have decided to prop up the ailing car manufacturing industry? Is this an appropriate intervention? Should it be left to market forces? What values are at stake beyond what the markets appear to be able to sustain? Ultimately, what is the future for “old media”?

Possible contributors:

Possible readings:

  • Columbia Journalism Review article: Overload!- Journalism’s battle for relevance in an age of too much information
  • The AP report (PDF) mentioned in Overload!

The Communication Initiative is an organization in this domain with a compelling problem that they'd like advice on solving, and they're very enthusiastic and willing to work with the class. They're focused on the use and support of communication for economic and social development (http://www.comminit.com) with a large and varied network (over 70,000 total) of members all over the world. Their question: given the challenges the face (enumerated more in the details section), how do we guide and engage our network more through our interactive online processes instead of through email?" More information available at The Communication Initiative (they wrote up a problem statement for us!) - is this something people would be interested in taking on? I would be... Mchua 21:21, 30 November 2008 (EST)

Internet/network Security

Jgruensp (fun topics, all: we could invite the CSIS commission which has been grappling with all these issues and is desperate for legal guidance)

Internet Dependency (What if someone somehow takes down the net?)

Dan Ray (maybe)

We have come to rely on the Internet for almost every aspect of our lives. If the Internet somehow suddenly went "down" (through either a cyberattack or physical attack on key backbone pieces of infrastructure), the result would likely be calamity, as well as hordes of people who wouldn't know what to do with themselves. Can we even imagine what the world would look like the morning after such an attack if it was successful? Are we wrong to rely so heavily on a single tool whose detailed technical inner workings so few people truly understand? Are we setting ourselves up to be ruined when someone compromises this tool? What about the tradeoffs between keeping the Net free+open vs. regulation to ensure that it retains its functional integrity in the face of attack?

We can invite Dan Kaminsky, who recently discovered a flaw in the inner-workings of the Net that could have caused some serious damage. See, e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/technology/09flaw.html?hp (or we could invite will smith, who defeated the aliens in independence day with the help of cyber-attack).

  • I vote Will Smith. Unless everyone wants to get into the desirability of a DNS nonce of sufficient bitlength, in which case... no, still Will Smith. That guy's an elliptic curve cryptography fiend. However, if we do want to talk about design issues in the internet, and the failure of the marketplace to handle externalities created by poor software design, leading to the perpetual crisis of bugginess, we could do worse than to invite Daniel Bernstein. Plus, as an added bonus, he saw the issues that gave rise to the Kaminsky bug coming down the pike a long time ago. --Jgruensp

Internet as International Conflict Zone

Dan Ray (maybe)

In light of the recent events in Estonia, have we finally reached the long-predicted era of cyberwarfare? Is cyber-espionage a counterintelligence problem or something more? (This article from the National Journal talks bluntly about perceived threats, although is perhaps a little too willing to attribute causation of certain events to Chinese actors on dubious evidence)

Internet as an Extension of National Infrastructure

Dan Ray (maybe)

It is easy to define the borders of the nation in realspace (ports, airports, land crossings), and the tradeoffs between private propertyholders' rights and national security interests (making those tradeoffs? Not always so easy). But what are the national borders in cyberspace? Given the dangers described in the two topics above, what kind of role, if any, should national government play in monitoring and regulating major backbone communications links? What about the networks of semi-public industries such as utilities? Private corporations that store government secrets? Financial systems? Other types of privately owned networks?

--Jgruensp 23:54, 30 November 2008 (EST)

Internet Governance & Regulation

Presenters: Vera, Arjun

Much like open-source software, the Internet can be considered a collection of servers, pipes, and users spread all over the world. How does it keep working? One easy answer is that the United States (through actors public and private) just sort of gets its way. This isn't really a satisfying answer descriptively or normatively, though. With the rest of the world contributing more and more to the Internet as a whole, is it time for a change?

Guests: Susan Crawford?

Some questions:

What are the options for internet governance? An ad-hoc system, or something more formalized? What should the regulations cover - everything or only the vital areas, such as cybercrime and technical standards? Should it be local or international in scope? --AMehra 19:18, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

International Regulation

Possible reading: The Path Towards Centralization of Internet Governance Under the UN - a series of three essays recently published on the Berkman Center's Publius Project.
Possible speakers: staff members of the IGF? --AMehra 18:52, 6 December 2008 (EST)

Local/national Regulation

  • Efforts by the FCC - in conjunction with and separate from the UN efforts.
Possible speakers: Kevin Martin --AMehra 19:18, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Rights of Minors

Minors have long been recognized to not have free speech rights that are co-extensive with adults. But with the Internet, how do we define those rights? And what, if any, regulation should the government enact to protect minors on the Internet, while also respecting their rights?

There are two traditional categories where minors' free speech rights have been restricted. The first is with respect to pornography, the second with respect to the school environment. These two areas raise different concerns.

Internet + Environment + Venture Capital

  • Peter Thiel, John Doerr, Google people
  • Presenters: Andrew Klaber and DAL