Innovating to Connect the Unconnected (4/30); Cheap smartphones, digital news and the world’s biggest election (5/6)

April 30, 2014
Berkman Events Newsletter Template
Upcoming Events / Digital Media
April 30th, 2014
webcast event

Innovating to Connect the Unconnected

Wednesday, April 30, 10:00am ET, webcast live online.


Internet access may be growing but millions remain unconnected. How can innovation solve this? As part of a series of UNICEF talks focused on innovations for children, the Boston Activate Talk features some of the most innovative approaches to increasing internet access for underserved, marginalised and isolated communities.


  • Bruce Baikie is the Executive Director of Inveneo and the Founder of Green WiFi.
  • Paulo Rogerio Nunes is the Executive Director of the Instituto Midia Etnica,the leading Black Media NGO in Brazil.
  • Regina Agyare is a social entrepreneur, founder of Soronko Solutions , and finalist for the African digital woman of the year.
  • Susan Carroll Schorrleads the digital inclusion work of the International Telecommunication Union, ensuring that women and girls, youth and children as well as persons with disabilities and Indigenous Peoples participate in the Information Society.
  • The Boston Activate Talk examines some of the following questions, with a focus on children and youth:

  • What types of innovations are needed to connect the unconnected?
  • What are the key enabling factors and challenges?
  • How important is scalability?
  • How do we ensure sustainability?
  • How do go further – going beyond minimal access to full benefits of the internet & related technology.
  • more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Cheap smartphones, digital news and the world’s biggest election

Tuesday, May 6, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


On June 1, 2014 the world’s biggest democracy, India, will have a new government, after an enormous, complex election taking place over several weeks. This is probably the country’s first proper ‘digital’ election, with Internet-based campaigning and journalism coming to the fore. Those who are connected will see a very different election to those that have gone before

However, we have to remember that even at the most optimistic estimates, no more than a sixth of Indians have access to the Internet. That’s a billion people who are being left behind. But smartphones are getting cheaper and mobile internet connections are becoming more easily available. The new Internet users will demand content that won’t be in English, that doesn’t necessarily demand high levels of literacy and works well on basic devices with erratic connections.

Hasit, a Nieman-Berkman Fellow at Harvard and Senior Producer for BBC News in London, is researching models for digital news designed for this type of user and will speak about his findings.

Hasit Shah is a senior producer at BBC News in London. He is a 2014 Nieman-Berkman Fellow in Journalism Innovation at Harvard and he will study the rapid growth and development of digital media in India and its impact on journalism, society, popular culture, political discourse, the economy and public policy. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

berkman luncheon series

Does Size Matter? A Tale of Performing Welfare, Producing Bodies and Faking Identity

Tuesday, May 13, 12:30pm ET, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, 23 Everett St, 2nd Floor. This event will be webcast live.


Big Data doesn’t get much bigger than India’s identity project. The world’s largest biometric database - currently consisting of almost 600 million enrolled - seduces with promises of inclusion, legitimacy and visibility. By locating this techno-utopian vision within the larger surveillance state that a unique identifier facilitates, Malavika will describe the ‘welfare industrial complex’ that imagines the poor as the next emerging market. She will highlight the risks of the body as password, of implementing e-governance in a legal vacuum, and of digitization reinforcing existing inequalities. The export of technologies of control - once they have been tested on a massive population that has little agency and limited ability to withhold consent - transforms this project from a site of local activism to one with global repercussions. By offering a perspective that is somewhat different from the traditional western focus of privacy, she hopes to generate a more inclusive discourse about what it means to be autonomous and empowered in the face of paternalistic development projects. She will highlight, in particular, the varied ways in which the project is already being subverted and re-purposed, in ways that are humorous and poignant.

Malavika Jayaram is a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, focusing on privacy, identity and free expression. She is also a Fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, and the author of the India chapter for the Data Protection & Privacy volume in the Getting the Deal Done series. RSVP Required. more information on our website>

book launch

The Social Machine

Tuesday, May 20, 6:00pm ET, Harvard Law School. Free and Open to the Public.


Online, interface designs fashion people's appearance, shape their communication and influence their behavior. Can we see another’s face or do we know each other only by name? Do our words disappear forever once they leave the screen or are they permanently archived, amassing a history of our views and reactions? Are we aware of how public or private our surroundings are?

In “The Social Machine”, Judith Donath addresses topics such visualizing conversations and networks; portraying identity with data and history; delineating public and private space, and bringing the online world's open sociability into the face to face world. “The Social Machine” is a manifesto for balancing legibility, social responsibility and innovation -- and a manual for designing radically new environments for social interaction.

Judith Donath synthesizes knowledge from urban design, evolutionary biology and cognitive science to design innovative interfaces for on-line communities and virtual identities. A Harvard Berkman Faculty Fellow and formerly director of the MIT Media Lab's Sociable Media Group, she is known internationally for her writing on identity, interface design, and social communication. RSVP Required. more information on our website>


Elisa Kreisinger on Fair Use(r): Art and Copyright Online


With the democratization of content creation came the democratization of the overzealous copyright claim. Do private agreements between copyright holders and hosting platforms such as YouTube’s Content ID system compromise artist's fair use rights? In this open discussion Elisa Kreisinger -- Brooklyn-based video artist and artist-in-residence at Public Knowledge -- invites artists, users, and lawyers to share their copyright experiences with hosting platforms, and debate the future of distributing digital arts works online. video/audio on our website>

Other Events of Note

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Last updated

April 30, 2014