Under the agreement with Harvard, the entire underlying database, not just limited search results, will be shared with nonprofit organizations and scholars that wish to develop specialized applications. Ravel and Harvard will withhold the database from other commercial groups for eight years. After that, it will be available to anyone for any purpose, said Jonathan L. Zittrain, a Harvard Law professor and director of the law library.
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“Libraries were founded as an engine for the democratization of knowledge, and the digitization of Harvard Law School’s collection of U.S. case law is a tremendous step forward in making legal information open and easily accessible to the public,” said Jonathan Zittrain, the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School, and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources. “The materials in the library’s collection tell a story that goes back to the founding of America, and we’re proud to preserve and share that story,” said Zittrain, who also holds appointments as Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The oddity of the legislation is that it focuses on what many in the cyberworld consider to be a diminishing form of defense: collecting and sharing those “signatures,” which the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. periodically circulate to a select list of major corporations. Most sophisticated cyberattackers have figured that out. “I think the fruits of detecting signatures and patterns of broad attacks are already picked,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard law professor. “The biggest threats,” he said, are far more customized, “with elements of social engineering or betrayal of an employee with access to data or code.”
The event is produced by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. This year’s videos were curated by Will Braden, creator of the popular Henri le Chat Noir videos on YouTube. Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain will serve as the event’s emcee.”Why did I agree to do this? Because it’s a fun thing,” says Zittrain, an admitted dog owner who specializes in cyber law and policy. “Whatever we’re worried about, there are always cat videos to watch. And I’m grateful for that.”
It is a trend that offers hope of improved access, but the so-called Splinternet will also create challenges for regulators in countries where governments keep a close eye on communications for reasons of security or social standards. One of the pioneers is LibraryBox, an open-source hardware and software project put together by Jason Griffey, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
This is rare, as devices from smartphones to televisions upload user data to the cloud for analysis by companies. Digital assistants can find patterns among their users more rapidly if connected with the processing power of cloud servers, though such methods potentially enable companies to better profile their customers. Those concerns may be moot anyway, since tech giants already have numerous ways to collect information about people’s lives, says Bruce Schneier, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Reynol Junco, who has studied Yik Yak extensively as an associate professor of education and human-computer interaction at Iowa State University and a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, on Wednesday said he would hate to see colleges prevent students’ use of the application, because many of the statements made on it, including those directed toward marginalized populations, are positive or affirming. “If you get rid of Yik Yak,” he said, “you will never get a really true sense of the campus culture.”
To top it all off, Harvard University law professor Jonathan Zittrain will emcee the event. Zittrain is an expert in all things Internet and the faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. But don’t expect him to talk about the legalities of sharing cat videos — his mind will be focused on entertainment.