Internet Censorship and the Remembrance of Infowars Past; Transforming Local Civic Engagement Through an Online Game; Big Data

February 20, 2013
Berkman Events Newsletter Template
Upcoming Events / Digital Media
February 20th, 2013

Remember to load images if you have trouble seeing parts of this email. Or click here to view the web version of this newsletter. Below you will find upcoming Berkman Center events, interesting digital media we have produced, and other events of note.

berkman luncheon series

Internet Censorship and the Remembrance of Infowars Past

Tuesday, February 26, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


With Internet censorship on the rise around the world, organizations and researchers have developed and distributed a variety of tools to assist Internet users to both monitor and circumvent such censorship. This talk will examine more closely some of the international law and politics of such censorship resistance activities through three case studies involving past global communications censorship and information conflicts— telegraph cable cutting and suppression, high frequency radio jamming, and direct broadcast satellite blocking— and the world community’s response to these conflicts. In addition to illustrating some of the legal, political, and security concerns that have animated historical instances of global communications censorship, the talk will aim to extrapolate lessons and insights for Internet censorship (and its resistance) today, such as the legality of censorship and its circumvention, the effectiveness of monitoring efforts, and the role of int ernational institutions in disrupting (or facilitating) communications. Jon Penney is a lawyer, Research Fellow at the Citizen Lab / Canada Centre for Global Security Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and a doctoral student in information communication sciences at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, where his interdisciplinary research explores regulatory chilling effects online. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Beyond Participation: Transforming Local Civic Engagement Through an Online Game

Tuesday, March 5, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


The problem of civic engagement is often un­derstood as a lack of participation. People do not show up to meetings, they do not engage in their civic institutions or communicate with decision-makers. Engagement strategies of­ten involve a lot of bean counting, where the quantity of people participating is more impor­tant than the quality of participation created. The Engagement Game Lab has developed an online game called Community PlanIt to explore how game mechanics and social interaction can move local civic processes beyond transactive participation towards civic learning – or a sustained, reflective mode of civic interaction. Over the past year, Community PlanIt has been played in six distinct planning processes ranging from urban planning in Detroit and Philadelphia to education planning in Boston. This talk explores the unique affordances of Community PlanIt for building social trust, engaging youth in civic life, and developing shared local narratives. It will address the complexities of implementing an online game within official public feedback processes, including dealing with positive and negative perceptions of games, assuring a commitment from organizations and decision-makers to being responsive to an online social network, and cultivating trust and civility amongst players and between players and decision-makers. Ultimately, Community PlanIt serves as a multi-site case study in the design of playful, place-specific and networked local engagement that should inform how government thinks about community participation. Eric Gordon is a researcher and game designer who investigates how games and social media can enhance civic learning and local engagement. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special event

Big Data - and its Dark Side

Wednesday, March 6, 5:30pm ET, Harvard Law School, Wasserstein Hall Room 1015.


The power of big data -- analyzing huge swaths of information to uncover insights and make predictions that were largely impossible in the past -- is poised to transform business and society. Fueling it is the realization that data has a value beyond the primary purpose for which it was collected. Yet there is a dark side. Privacy is eroded like never before. And a new harm emerges: predictions about human behavior that may result in penalties prior to actual the infraction being committed. In this talk Mayer-Schönberger and Cukier take a look at big data's power, the dangers it poses and how to address them. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is the Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford. His research focuses on the role of information in a networked economy. Earlier he spent ten years on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Kenneth Neil Cukier is the Data Editor of The Economist. From 2007 to 2012 he was the Japan business and finance correspondent, and before that, the paper's global technology correspondent based in London, where his work focused on innovation, intellectual property and Internet governance. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

special event

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) to launch at Boston Public Library

April 18-19, 2013, Boston, MA. This event will be webcast live.


On April 18-19, 2013, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will celebrate the groundbreaking work of hundreds of librarians, innovators, and other dedicated volunteers in our collective effort to build the first national digital library. The DPLA invites you to join them at the Boston Public Library for this historic event.

Convened by the DPLA Secretariat at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and co-hosted by the Boston Public Library, the two-day DPLA Launch will include a brief working day on Thursday, April 18th, followed by a formal reception featuring presentations and a series of interactive exhibits showcasing content from our many partners, including the Digital Hubs and Europeana. On Friday, April 19th, the DPLA will convene a focused half-day plenary meeting highlighting the DPLA’s progress and potential.

Registration for the DPLA Launch is required and is free and open to all. The DPLA invites all those interested from the general public, the educational community, public and research libraries, cultural organizations, state and local government, the creative community, publishers, and private industry to attend the launch.

For those unable to attend in-person, please note that the working meetings, public plenary, and portions of the reception will be livestreamed and/or recorded. The DPLA encourages participation via Twitter, Facebook, and other social tools (hashtag: #dpla).

Limited scholarships to support participation in the DPLA Launch are available for those who are traveling from rural and distant areas. Scholarship amounts will vary, but are intended to apply to travel and accommodation costs for out-of-town participants. Preference will be given to applicants who have not yet attended a DPLA event.

You are encouraged to share this announcement widely with your networks. Please don't hesitate to be in touch with the DPLA Secretariat ( if you have any questions.

About the Digital Public Library of America

The DPLA is taking the first concrete steps toward the realization of a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all. This impact-oriented research effort unites leaders from all types of libraries, museums, and archives with educators, industry, and government to define the vision for a digital library in service of the American public. Registration Required. Register now or find more information on the DPLA website>


Jenna Burrell on Invisible Users: Youth in the Internet Cafes of Urban Ghana


Ghana, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, is the size of Oregon. Its entire population is only double that of New York City. Yet what is unfolding there matters to the future of the Internet. In this talk, Jenna Burrell — Assistant Professor in the School of Information at UC Berkeley — draws from a 6-year period of ethnographic research (2004-2010) on youth in Accra’s Internet cafes — where the primary activity was cultivating relationships with foreigners in chat rooms and dating sites as these users sought to enact a more cosmopolitan self — and considers how network security and network administration are shaped not simply by an impersonal technical logic or even commercial interests, but also by cultural biases and parochialism that violate, perhaps unwittingly, these early ideals of the Internet. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

Events that may be of interest to the Berkman community:

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Last updated

February 20, 2013