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Hal Roberts is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. He has been the lead researcher for Berkman Center reports on Internet surveillance, filtering circumvention, and distributed denial of service attacks against independent media. He is the technical lead on the Media Cloud project, a text aggregation and analysis tool for studying online media created at the Berkman Center. He has worked on the technical side of many social technology projects at the Berkman Center, including H2O, Weblogs at Harvard Law, and Global Voices Online.


Projects & Tools

AI: Media and Information Quality

As autonomous systems play an increasing role in selecting the content we see online, questions arise about AI's influence on human judgment, opinions, and perceptions. More

Media Cloud

Media Cloud is an open source, open data platform that allows researchers to answer complex quantitative and qualitative questions about the content of online media. More

Blogging Common

Blogging Common seeks to capture and present the spirit and wisdom of the blogosphere by surveying bloggers around the globe. More

Circumvention

The Berkman Center's Circumvention project is engaged in designing and conducting research aimed at gaining a broad understanding of the usage of circumvention tools. More

Copyright for Librarians

The Berkman Center partnered with eIFL to deliver a distance learning program on copyright for librarians. The resulting curriculum, made available on March 24, 2010, can be used… More

DDoS research project

The DDoS research project seeks to understand the ways in which DDoS attacks are becoming a popular technique for limiting access to independent media and human rights sites… More

Surveillance

The Surveillance project is drawing a map of the different forms and impacts of surveillance online. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation and run in collaboration with our partner… More


Publications

Aug 16, 2017

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. More

Feb 10, 2015

Score Another One for the Internet? The Role of the Networked Public Sphere in the U.S. Net Neutrality Policy Debate

A new paper from the Media Cloud team concludes that a diverse set of actors working in conjunction through the networked public sphere played a central, arguably decisive, role… More

Apr 28, 2014

Blogs as an Alternative Public Sphere

The Role of Blogs, Mainstream Media, and TV in Russia’s Media Ecology

"Blogs as an Alternative Public Sphere: The Role of Blogs, Mainstream Media, and TV in Russia’s Media Ecology," authored by Bruce Etling, Hal Roberts, and Robert Faris, is the… More

Jul 25, 2013

Social Mobilization and the Networked Public Sphere: Mapping the SOPA-PIPA Debate

This paper uses a new set of online research tools to develop a detailed study of the public debate over proposed legislation in the United States designed to give prosecutors and… More

Mar 2, 2012

Exploring Russian Cyberspace: Digitally-Mediated Collective Action and the Networked Public Sphere

This paper summarizes the major findings of a three-year research project to investigate the Internet’s impact on Russian politics, media and society. We employed multiple methods… More

Aug 18, 2011

International Bloggers and Internet Control

Infringements on Internet freedom, particularly through Internet filtering and surveillance, have inspired activists and technologists to develop technological counter-measures,… More

Aug 18, 2011

The Evolving Landscape of Internet Control

A Summary of Our Recent Research and Recommendations

Over the past two years, we have undertaken several studies at the Berkman Center designed to better understand the control of the Internet in less open societies. In this paper,… More

Aug 18, 2011

2011 Circumvention Tool Evaluation

Given the rising awareness of the potential of the Internet as a political space and increasing government control over the space, it is easy to understand the widespread interest… More

Aug 18, 2011

International Bloggers and Internet Control: Full Survey Results

This document includes the full survey results for the Berkman Center’s International Bloggers and Internet Control survey. More

Aug 1, 2011

Online Security in the Middle East and North Africa

A Survey of Perceptions, Knowledge, and Practice

The recent surge in digital activism that has helped to shape the Arab spring has been met with stiff resistance by governments in the region intent on reducing the impact of… More

Dec 20, 2010

2010 Report on Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks

This paper evaluates the impact of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on independent media and human rights sites in nine countries, as well as the broader impact of… More

Oct 14, 2010

2010 Circumvention Tool Usage Report

This paper evaluates the usage of blocking-resistant circumvention tools, simple web proxies, and VPN services and finds that overall usage of circumvention tools is still very… More

Mar 5, 2009

2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools

A large variety of different projects have developed tools that can be used to circumvent Internet filtering, allowing people in filtered countries access to otherwise filtered… More


News

Jul 12, 2018

Understanding Media and Information Quality in an Age of Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Algorithms and Machine Learning

Technology can be a threat to the integrity and quality of media, but also a source of potential solutions. More

Jun 19, 2013

Internet Censorship and Control Papers

The Berkman Center is pleased to share that Berkman Fellow Hal Roberts and Steven J. Murdoch of the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory have edited a collection of papers… More

May 6, 2011

Relaunch: Media Cloud

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce that the Media Cloud Dashboard is open for public use. We invite you to experiment with the tool, which generates weekly word clouds of… More

Dec 20, 2010

Report: "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites"

The Berkman Center is pleased to share a new report from the DDoS research project: "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites," in… More

Jun 16, 2009

Keeping an Eye on Iran's Post-Election Protests

Berkman Center people and projects have been paying close attention to the role of the Internet and cell phones in the post-election protests in Iran. More

Mar 5, 2009

Report release: 2007 Circumvention Landscape Report: Methods, Uses, and Tools

The Berkman Center is pleased to make available its report on techniques and tools for circumventing Internet filtering... More

Nov 21, 2008

There is no privacy?

This week, over on the newly started "An Eye on Surveillance" blog, the first in a series of posts about egregious privacy intrusions -- "Snooping Browsing History through HTML"... More


Events

Jan 25, 2011 @ 12:30 PM

Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites

Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York

Ethan Zuckerman, Hal Roberts, and Jillian C. York will discuss the recently released Berkman Center report on "Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and… More

Nov 23, 2009 @ 11:45 AM

CRCS Lunch Seminar: Media Cloud and Quantitative News Media Analysis

Hal Roberts and Ethan Zuckerman, Berkman Center

Ethan and Hal will present their prototype system to retrieve, tag, cluster and analyze blog and newspaper data, and discuss how the Media Cloud platform will be used in our… More

Dec 23, 2008 @ 12:30 PM

Watching Google AdWords: The Mysterious Mechanization of Meaning in the Google Brain

Hal Roberts

Google's AdWords system serves ads alongside about a quarter of all web traffic. In the process of serving those ads, Google actively processes the user browsing data in order to… More