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Internet and Society: Technologies and Politics of Control

LSTU E–120 - Harvard Extension School - Spring 2013 - Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm EST

Berkman Center for Internet and Society - 23 Everett Street - Conference room, 2nd floor

It is hard to overstate the role the Internet plays in our lives. The Net has developed not only as the greatest means of producing and sharing information that the world has ever known, but also as a fundamental tool in global political, social, and economic processes. The Net has been heralded by many as nothing less than a means of fundamentally transforming our world into one that is more just, more democratic, and more affluent, while redrawing the boundaries of political and economic power. But the Net is no longer a frontier, and the early days of the Internet exceptionalism have given way to increased regulatory responses. Just as the Internet allowed users to discover new and interesting ways to transform lives, those who seek to control the levers of power around the Internet have discovered means of controlling its content and dissemination, through technological, monetary, normative, and legal means…(4 credits) continued...

Syllabus at a glance

Jan 29 Politics and Technology of Control: Introduction
Feb 5 Paradigms for Studying the Internet
Feb 12 A Series of Tubes: Infrastructure, Broadband, and Baseline Content Control (Assignment 1 due)
Feb 19 Whose Values? International Issues with Internet Regulation
Feb 26 Regulating Speech Online (Assignment 2 due)
Mar 5 Copyright Part 1: Guiding Principles and Online Application
Mar 12 Copyright Part 2: Enforcement and Balances
Mar 19 No class - Spring Break
Mar 26 Collective Action, Politics, and Protests (Assignment 3 due)
Apr 2 Peer Production: Development from the Edges and from the Crowd
Apr 9 Hacking, Hackers, and Hacktivism
Apr 16 Informing the Public in the Internet Age
Apr 23 Privacy
Apr 30 The Profitability of the Internet (Assignment 4 due)
May 7 No class - final project preparation (Optional Extra Credit due)
May 14 Final class - wrap up and student presentations (Final Project due)

Course Information:

Assignments & Projects:




Participating During Class (Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm EST)

You can participate during class either by attending in person or through Adobe Connect:

  • The class will be held in the conference room at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St., Second Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138 (directions)
We will be experimenting with remote audiovisual presentation through the Adobe Connect platform. We recommend that, if you would like to speak during class, you use a combination headphone/microphone to participate. Alternatively, you may use headphones along with your computer's built-in mic. As a last resort, you can use your computer's built-in mic without headphones, but please be aware that this may cause audio issues for both you and the class as a whole.
Note: When you log in to Adobe Connect, you will log in as a guest. Please use your full name or a pseudonym that will allow us to identify who you are so we can give you credit for your class participation. If you use a pseudonym, let one of the TAs know who you are so we can be sure to give you credit.
If you have any trouble running Adobe Connect, please go to the support page on Adobe Connect's site or click on the "Help" button in the upper right corner of the Connect window.

Participating Asynchronously

  • The recorded videotapes of the class produced by Harvard Extension School are available here. Videos are typically available 1-2 days after class.

Contact Information

  • All questions, comments, etc. should be sent to:
    • There are no set office hours; feel free to send an email, and the TAs will respond to it as soon as they can.
  • If you need to contact an instructor or TA individually, please use their personal contact info located on the Staff Contact Info page.

Office Hours

Please note: we've also created a frequently asked questions section that may help as you frame your final paper.

Jeff, Andy, David, and Ryan will all be holding office hours during the normally scheduled class time on May 7th. Please make an appointment by filling your name or username in next to a time slot below. Please also indicate if you'd like to meet in class or over Skype. If you are using Skype, please also email us at with your Skype handle. If you cannot make any of these times but would like to discuss your paper please email us and we'll set up another time to talk.


  • 5:30-5:45 - asellars Skype


  • 5:30-5:45 Asmith in class
  • 5:45-6:00 Kaley Sweeney in class
  • 6:00-6:15
  • 6:15-6:30
  • 6:30-6:45 Zak Paster via Skype
  • 6:45-7:00
  • 7:00-7:15
  • 7:15-7:30


  • 5:30-5:45 Hgaylor In Class
  • 5:45-6:00
  • 6:00-6:15
  • 6:15-6:30
  • 6:30-6:45
  • 6:45-7:00
  • 7:00-7:15 Jaclyn Horowitz via Skype
  • 7:15-7:30


  • 5:30-5:45 Rich via phone
  • 5:45-6:00
  • 6:00-6:15
  • 6:15-6:30
  • 6:30-6:45
  • 6:45-7:00
  • 7:00-7:15
  • 7:15-7:30


  • 5:30-5:45 Caroline - Skype - carolineharvard
  • 5:45-6:00
  • 6:00-6:15
  • 6:15-6:30
  • 6:30-6:45
  • 6:45-7:00
  • 7:00-7:15
  • 7:15-7:30