Current Berkman People and Projects

Keep track of Berkman-related news and conversations by subscribing to this page using your RSS feed reader. This aggregation of blogs relating to the Berkman Center does not necessarily represent the views of the Berkman Center or Harvard University but is provided as a convenient starting point for those who wish to explore the people and projects in Berkman's orbit. As this is a global exercise, times are in UTC.

The list of blogs being aggregated here can be found at the bottom of this page.

February 22, 2018

Berkman Center front page
New Website Draws on International Perspectives to Highlight Issues related to Inclusion and Artificial Intelligence

Teaser

This new suite of resources aims to establish key themes, questions, and opportunities for ensuring that voices and perspectives from diverse populations help shape the future of AI.

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New suite of resources aims to establish key themes, questions, and opportunities for ensuring that voices and perspectives from diverse populations help shape the future of AI.

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is pleased to share a newly-published interactive webpage, www.aiandinclusion.org, which highlights salient topics and offers a broad range of resources related to issues of AI and inclusion. The materials contribute to the Diversity and Inclusion track of the broader Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative. Launched in Spring 2017, the initiative is anchored by the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab, who have been working in conjunction over the past year to conduct evidence-based research, bolster AI for the social good, and construct a collective knowledge base on the ethics and governance of AI.

The site reflects lessons learned from a wide-ranging international effort, and includes a number of resources produced from the Global Symposium on AI and Inclusion, which convened 170 participants from over 40 countries in Rio de Janeiro last November on behalf of the Global Network of Centers to discuss the impact of AI and related technologies on marginalized populations and the risks of amplifying digital inequalities across the world.

Some of the primary resources available on the webpage include foundational materials that address overarching themes, key research questions, the initial framing of a research roadmap, and an overview of some of the most relevant opportunities and challenges identified pertaining to AI, inclusion, and governance. The research, findings, and ideas presented throughout the page both illuminate lessons learned from the past year, and lay the groundwork for the initiative’s continued work on issues of inclusion, acknowledging that the resources found here are only a starting point for this important conversation.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. If you have any questions about the webpage or about the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence initiative, please contact jsherman@cyber.harvard.edu.  

Learn more about this effort in the Medium post "Why Inclusion Matters for the Future of Artificial Intelligence" by Amar Ashar and Sandra Cortesi

 

by gweber at February 22, 2018 04:43 PM

February 21, 2018

Berkman Center front page
Iran's National Information Network: Faster Speeds, but at What Cost?

Teaser

In this Internet Monitor research bulletin, Berkman Klein Center Affiliate Simin Kargar analyzes the effectiveness of the Iranian government’s campaign to encourage domestic content consumption and hosting through its National Information Network.

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In this Internet Monitor research bulletin, Berkman Klein Center Affiliate Simin Kargar analyzes the effectiveness of the Iranian government’s campaign to encourage domestic content consumption and hosting through its National Information Network.

With over $6 billion invested, the NIN is the most costly national telecommunications project in the history of the Islamic Republic. Other affiliated costs align well with the NIN’s overarching goals: $1.5 billion on a domestic search engines project and $135,000 in additional subsidies to go toward mature development of domestic messaging applications. This strategy is to substantially cut reliance on international applications such as Telegram.

The recent events in Iran put the investment to the test and underscored the challenges of fundamentally changing user behavior. While an increase in speed allows for services that potentially improve access and more sophisticated information sharing, these benefits only apply to domestically hosted platforms that have not been popular. As the recent protests affirmed, when popular international tools became inaccessible, users showed little interest to limit their traffic to domestic websites and tools, even at a discounted price. Despite Iran’s concerted efforts to popularize the NIN’s application, appealing to users and acquiring their trust may be much harder than the government had envisioned.

Read the complete bulletin on the Internet Monitor site.

by ctilton at February 21, 2018 07:26 PM

February 20, 2018

Berkman Center front page
The Global Lives Project and Platforms for Building Empathy & Connection

Subtitle

featuring founder and Executive Director, David Harris

Teaser

How can a multimedia project build empathy and connect the experiences of humanity around the globe?

Parent Event

Berkman Klein Luncheon Series

Event Date

Feb 27 2018 12:00pm to Feb 27 2018 12:00pm
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Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus
Wasserstein Hall, Milstein West A
(Room 2019, Second Floor)
RSVP required to attend in person
Event will be live webcast on this page at 12:00 pm

The Global Lives Project presents 24-hour-long videos of daily lives of individuals from around the world both online and through in-person exhibits. This 15-year project is an online and real-world collaboration between thousands of filmmakers, photographers, translators and everyday people from around the world.

The project's latest exhibit, Lives in Transit, showcases unedited footage of the daily lives of transportation workers from around the world, including Vietnam, Nepal, Turkey, China, India, South Korea, Colombia, Spain and Canada. The exhibit premiered at Lincoln Center for the New York Film Festival, and previously showed at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the CITRIS Tech Museum, and will show later this year at the Smithsonian.

Lives in Transit is currently on display at the Harvard Science Center through March 2018.

David Evan Harris, Global Lives Project Founder, will speak about the evolution of the project, and its ambitious goal of connecting the diverse experiences of humanity around the globe, and building empathy.

About David

David Evan Harris is Founder and Executive Director of the Global Lives Project, Chancellor’s Public Scholar at UC Berkeley, and Research Director at the Institute for the Future. David is a cross-disciplinary mediamaker, working at the intersection of art, activism and academic inquiry on the politically charged questions surrounding globalization and social justice.

David wrote and directed newscasts for CurrentTV; and penned articles and shot photos for the BBC, the Guardian, Adbusters, Focus on the Global South, AlterNet, and Grist. He has spoken publicly about his work to audiences at the Smithsonian, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, United Nations University, Apple, Google, Adobe, and numerous other venues around the world. He speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. David founded the Global Lives Project in 2004 and holds a BA in the political economy of development and environment, with a minor in forest science, from UC Berkeley and an MS in sociology from the University of São Paulo.

Exhibition & Reception

The Global Lives Project: Lives in Transit is a large-scale video installation featuring 24 hours in the daily lives of individuals who move people and things around the world.

The exhibit is on display at the Harvard Science Center through March 2018.

A small reception will be held on Tuesday, February 27 from 5:30-6:30pm in the Harvard Science Center lobby.

 

LInks

 

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by candersen at February 20, 2018 05:38 PM

Justin Reich
Connecting the Dots between Education Research and Classroom Teachers
To meet the needs of their students, teachers need access to reliable, relevant resources. The medical field may have the solution.

by Beth Holland at February 20, 2018 04:04 PM

February 19, 2018

Cyberlaw Clinic - blog
Fair Use / Fair Dealing Week — Week of Feb 26, 2018!

The week of February 26th is fair use week / fair dealing week, which “celebrates the important doctrines of fair use in the United States and fair dealing in Canada and other jurisdictions.” The Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication is putting on fifth anniversary fair use week event — “Tried and True:  Fair Use Tales for the Telling” — at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies.  Sign up at the website to hear perspectives from luminaries, including Kenneth Crews, David Hansen, and Rebekah Modrak, among many others. The Clinic’s Chris Bavitz joins Laura Quilter and Dan Booth that morning for a discussion entitled “Litigation and Fair Use, the Last 15 Years.”

by Clinic Staff at February 19, 2018 03:58 PM

February 18, 2018

Berkman Center front page
John Perry Barlow and the Foundational Values of the Net

Subtitle

an interview with Charles Nesson

Teaser

Berkman Klein Center Founder and Director Charles Nesson shares his thoughts on how John Perry Barlow helped build the values of the Internet.

Thumbnail Image: 

Internet pioneer John Perry Barlow passed away late last week at the age of 70. As the Berkman Klein Center's inaugural fellow in 1998, his ideas helped provide the foundation for the work of much of our community in the two decades since. Berkman Klein Center Founder and Director Charles Nesson sat down to share some thoughts on how Barlow helped build the values of the Internet.

 

How did you first encounter John?

I read a piece he wrote The Economy of Ideas (Wired, March 1, 1994) and just heard his voice. It was Barlow. The openness of it spoke a truth to me that I hadn't quite connected with this effectively. His sense of what a connected environment actually was and the implications for changing how we think. It led me to ask him to become the first fellow of the Berkman Center. I believe his spirit of connection is evident in all the work we've done: creative commons, open law, open radio, open economy, open health, free open libraries.

He is the net. He was the net. That openness of spirit that he expressed in his music, in his writing, and his connection with everyone radiated out through his friends like threads that make the net. He was extraordinary.

Where did some of these ideas come from about openness? And why did they ring so true to this community? How does his work seem so clarifying?

There was a clear feeling between the spirit of the 60s and of post World War ideas that somehow there is a “good America,” and that it has to do with community. The whole Vietnam experience was formative for Barlow and contemporaries, very much framed by the questions of justice and the place of America in the world, very much the environment in which Barlow emerges as a voice of connection. It's the idea that the Grateful Dead stand for. "Cool out, calm down, have a sense of enjoyment in your life and interaction, play fair, be fair." The better angels of our nature that make up the "liberal naïveté" of those who don't feel it. So it's kind of like a core value of collective spirit. It believes in community at some deep level, and equality, almost radical equality to the point where it's seen as deeply threatening to an environment that is based on and values secrecy.

It sounds like he was foundational in a lot of the ideas of how we think about information and the Internet now that maybe weren't taken for granted back then, that information and communication would be somewhat open and free. Would you describe his ideas as that foundation?

Yes I would. He brought threads together in a way that looked extremely clear-eyed. In The Economy of Ideas he was really talking about the music business. The question of what happens when there is no physical object to which you could attach a price tag. That was completely insightful and clarifying, and very much connected to how we began to understand the net.

What was it about the net that you think excited him and animated his spirit?

Recently Andrew McLaughlin circulated John's article about wiring Africa for Internet access (Africa Rising, Wired, January 1, 1998). Reading that, you're just blown away by the adventures and the joint venture that he exhibited, himself heading off on an expedition to see what connectivity in Africa was about and whether it could be a success. Brilliant reporting and just a stunning piece.

I think that he more than contemporaries saw the dimensional change that we were going through with Internet connectivity. The change from the pre-net world to what he could see as the cyber-world. He saw that as somehow deeper, more encompassing than others. And in doing that he offered a vision of a future that people could connect with.

Do you feel like we've reached what his vision of the Internet was and could be, or has it always been this kind of thing to strive for?

I can't imagine that he didn't have brighter visions than what appears to be evolving. That is, the incredible dominance of capital power on the net. I've thought that university might be a power for openness, and still have that belief. Seems to me that's where the power of openness naturally resides. So the idea of John at the core of thinking in an Internet dimension seems just right to me.

What's become clear though is that the power on the open side of the net has a rhetorical quality to it. It's a narrative force that is capable of gaining viral power, and opposing capital force. Learning to use that power is a challenge that John left.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity by Daniel Dennis Jones. Photos CC-licensed courtesy of D. Yvette Wohn and Doc Searls

If you have memories of John Perry Barlow you'd like to share, please send them to us at buzz@cyber.harvard.edu.

by djones at February 18, 2018 02:27 PM

February 17, 2018

Benjamin Mako Hill
“Stop Mang Fun of Me”

Somebody recently asked me if I am the star of bash.org quote #75514 (a snippet of online chat from a large collaboratively built collection):

<mako> my letter "eye" stopped worng
<luca> k, too?
<mako> yeah
<luca> sounds like a mountain dew spill
<mako> and comma
<mako> those three
<mako> ths s horrble
<luca> tme for a new eyboard
<luca> 've successfully taen my eyboard apart
       and fxed t by cleanng t wth alcohol
<mako> stop mang fun of me
<mako> ths s a laptop!!

It was me. A circuit on my laptop had just blown out my I, K, ,, and 8 keys. At the time I didn’t think it was very funny.

I no idea anyone had saved a log and had forgotten about the experience until I saw the bash.org quote. I appreciate it now so I’m glad somebody did!

This was unrelated to the time that I poured water into two computers in front of 1,500 people and the time that I carefully placed my laptop into a full bucket of water.

by Benjamin Mako Hill at February 17, 2018 08:09 PM

Lookalikes

Hippy/mako lookalikes

Did I forget a period of my life when I grew a horseshoe mustache and dreadlocks, walked around topless, and illustrated this 2009 article in the Economist on the economic boon that hippy festivals represent to rural American communities?


Previous lookalikes are here.

by Benjamin Mako Hill at February 17, 2018 06:05 PM

My Kuro5hin Diary Entries

Kuro5hin logo

Kuro5hin (pronounced “corrosion” and abbreviated K5) was a website created in 1999 that was popular in the early 2000s. K5 users could post stories to be voted upon as well as entries to their personal diaries.

I posted a couple dozen diary entries between 2002 and 2003 during my final year of college and the months immediately after.

K5 was taken off-line in 2016 and the Internet Archive doesn’t seem to have snagged comments or full texts of most diary entries. Luckily, someone managed to scrape most of them before they went offline.

Thanks to this archive, you can now once again hear from 21-year-old-me in the form of my old K5 diary entries which I’ve imported to my blog Copyrighteous. I fixed the obvious spelling errors but otherwise restrained myself and left them intact.

If you’re interested in preserving your own K5 diaries, I wrote some Python code to parse the K5 HTML files for diary pages and import them into WordPress using it’s XML-RPC API. You’ll need to tweak the code to use it but it’s pretty straightforward.

by Benjamin Mako Hill at February 17, 2018 03:23 AM

February 15, 2018

Berkman Center front page
metaLAB + friends openLAB

Teaser

Please join us for metaLAB’s 2018 openLAB, showcasing work by metaLAB and friends. March 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm at Arts @ 29 Garden, 29 Garden St. in Cambridge.

Event Date

Mar 6 2018 5:30pm to Mar 6 2018 5:30pm
Thumbnail Image: 

metaLAB + friends openLAB
March 6, 5:30-7:30
29 Garden St. Cambridge, MA

Please join us for metaLAB’s 2018 openLAB, showcasing work by metaLAB and friends.

March 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm at Arts @ 29 Garden, 29 Garden St. in Cambridge. Refreshments will be served!

For more information, get in touch.

 
 
 

by doyolu at February 15, 2018 11:20 PM

MediaBerkman
Nate Hill on the Library Consortium as Studio, Platform, and Metacommunity
METRO/599 is a studio in Hell’s Kitchen that connects more than 250 of New York’s libraries, archives, and knowledge organizations. With 6,000 square feet of event and studio space, supporting projects in digital privacy, multimedia media archiving, metadata aggregation, and podcasting, and offering tools for everything from software preservation to signage prototyping to spaghetti and meatball crafting, METRO/599 is reinventing the multi-type library consortium as a metacommunity center. In this talk, Nate Hill, Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Library Council, gives an overview of the programs at METRO/599, talks about the challenges associated with this organizational recalibration, seeks input and ideas from the group, and extends an invitation to attendees to come take part in the fun. For more information visit: https://cyber.harvard.edu/events/2018/luncheon/02/Hill

by the Berkman Klein Center at February 15, 2018 08:18 PM

February 13, 2018

Berkman Center front page
Media Migration, Signage, and Smoked Fish: the Library Consortium as Studio, Platform, and Metacommunity

Subtitle

featuring Nate Hill, Executive Director of the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)

Teaser

In this talk, Nate will give an overview of the programs at METRO/599, talk about the challenges associated with this organizational recalibration, seek input and ideas from the group, and extend an invitation to attendees to come take part in the fun.

Parent Event

Berkman Klein Luncheon Series

Event Date

Feb 13 2018 12:00pm to Feb 13 2018 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12:00 pm

METRO 599 is a collaborative studio that connects New York's libraries and archives, offering support for a wide range of digital projects. Nate Hill, Executive Director of METRO 599, spoke about the studio’s unique ability to bring people together to learn, share ideas, and collaborate on important issues.

Hill’s introduction to the organization coincided with a location change. When he came on board, METRO was able to buy out of a previous lease and move to a 6,000 square foot space in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Hill had the opportunity to collaborate with architects on the studio’s new floorplan, deciding on the ideal layout, which would eventually include a stage, studio, kitchen, and other areas.

The impressive physical space allows METRO 599 to host a diverse series of events. Examples include educational programs on web literacy, ideathons to “hack” new product inventions with input from experts, classes on audio production, and a wide variety of other meetups and symposia.

For Hill, one of the most challenging aspects of directing Metro 599 is figuring out how to bring disparate types of organizations together. For instance, Hill must balance the needs and wants of well-resourced academic libraries with those of small, understaffed public library branches. For inspiration, he has recently turned to ecological theory. Specifically, Hill sees the way in which different types of static ecosystems interact at their edges as analogous to how METRO works. METRO is made up of a variety of subcommunities, and it is Hill’s job to figure out where they overlap. Ultimately, what brings everything together, he emphasized, is a shared system of values, and remembering that at its core, the studio not only serves institutions, but also people.

notes by Donica O'Malley

Event Description

METRO/599 is a studio in Hell’s Kitchen that connects more than 250 of New York’s libraries, archives, and knowledge organizations. With 6,000 square feet of event and studio space, supporting projects in digital privacy, multimedia media archiving, metadata aggregation, and podcasting, and offering tools for everything from software preservation to signage prototyping to spaghetti and meatball crafting, METRO/599 is reinventing the multi-type library consortium as a metacommunity center. In this talk, Nate will give an overview of the programs at METRO/599, talk about the challenges associated with this organizational recalibration, seek input and ideas from the group, and extend an invitation to attendees to come take part in the fun.

 

About Nate Hill

Nate grew up in upstate New York and began his career in libraries at Brooklyn Public Library’s Stone Avenue Branch. After almost ten years of service and several different roles within Brooklyn Public Library, he relocated to Silicon Valley to retrain and re-tool as a web designer and developer for the San Jose Public Library. Before joining METRO in June 2015, Nate served as Deputy Director of the Chattanooga Public Library, where he led the 4th Floor project, a 12,000 square foot library loft space featuring a public access makerspace, civic laboratory, and gigabit laboratory.

Nate was named a "Mover and Shaker" by Library Journal in 2012. He earned his undergraduate degree in art from Skidmore College and an MLIS from Pratt Institute’s School of Information. Nate currently serves on the New York State Board of Regents Advisory Committee on Libraries and the advisory board for the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy. His projects have been exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and he has spoken about his work in Denmark, Scotland, Greece, Colombia, and elsewhere.

When he’s not busy library-ing, Nate enjoys hiking, gardening, carpentry, design, and tinkering alongside his wife and kids.

Download original audio and video from this event.

Subscribe to the Berkman Klein events podcast to have audio from all our events delivered straight to you!

by doyolu at February 13, 2018 06:00 PM

February 12, 2018

Justin Reich
A Profile for Success: Envisioning the Graduate of the Future
A graduate profile based on a well-developed mission and vision, that has collaborative input from all your stakeholders, and that infiltrates and guides the actions that occur every day, in every class, can be transformative in schools.

by Justin Reich at February 12, 2018 06:50 PM

Cyberlaw Clinic - blog
Cyberlaw Clinic Year in Review: 2017

We in the Cyberlaw Clinic believe that the statute of limitations on year-in-review blog posts expires at the end of the first quarter of the following year. (If you require evidence for this claim, we’ll kindly point you to Orin Kerr’s “Theory of Law.”) With that in mind — as we dig into our newest batch of projects during the Harvard Law School spring term — it seems like a good time to look back and reflect on the past year.  It was — to say the least — an eventful one here in the Cyberlaw Clinic, for students and staff alike.

Students

We had two students enrolled in the Clinic during winter 2017, thirty-four in the spring, and 31 in the fall. Three summer interns ably helped to keep our docket of projects afloat during the summer months. We continued in the mode in which we’ve operated in recent years, with a Cyberlaw Clinic Seminar in the spring and fall complementing the day-to-day work of the Clinic and offering students an opportunity for discussions about substantive and procedural aspects of technology law, including through case rounds focused on our own ongoing projects. We are thrilled that we have been able to scale the program, actively engaging our students and zealously representing our clients as the program has continued to expand.

Staff

We started the year by adding Mason Kortz to the Clinic team and finished by adding Kendra Albert just in time for the fall semester, both coming on board as Clinical Fellows. Hannah Hilligoss joined us in December to round out our staff cohort, alongside Maria Smith and Kira Hessekiel. With Susan Crawford and Chris Bavitz, Jessica Fjeld in the Acting Assistant Director role, and Vivek Krishnamurthy on board as a Clinical Attorney, we could not be prouder of the amazing teaching and practice team we’ve assembled at the Clinic.

Amicus and Policy Advocacy

Policy advocacy — primarily through writing and filing of amicus briefs — has long been a cornerstone of the Clinic’s practice, and we regularly collaborate with academics, NGOs, and others on efforts to ensure courts understand the ramifications of their decisions vis-à-vis technology and the public interest.  2017 marked perhaps our most active year on this front, with six amicus briefs filed over the course of the year in various state and federal appellate courts:

Copyright Act Section 1201

Every three years, the Library of Congress considers requests for exemptions to Copyright Act Section 1201’s imposition of liability for circumvention of technological protection measures. 2017 marked the start of the latest of these triennial rulemaking proceedings, and — as we have in some of the past proceedings — the the Clinic filed comments in support of an exemption. This time, the Clinic worked closely with our good friends at the Software Preservation Network, along with the the Library Copyright Alliance, in an effort to ensure that those who need to circumvent digital rights management technologies on software in support of archival or preservation activities maintain the right to do so. We posted a general update on the proceeding back in October and then filed comments in December. We expect the proceedings will continue throughout this spring, with the Copyright Office deciding on exemptions later this year.

Public-Facing Education and Advocacy Materials

A lot of people took to the streets in 2017 to protest, and along with protest comes an array of signage, merchandise, and other materials that bear messages associated with advocacy. We fielded some interesting questions about rights and ownership in the context of protest art throughout the year last year and ended up releasing a legal guide on the subject early this year.

We were also honored to have had the opportunity to release a working paper on online content takedown orders, which used a case study approach to address some thorny policy questions about Internet jurisdiction. The paper was the subject of a presentation at last year’s RightsCon conference in Brussels.  Former Clinic student and 2017 alumnus Alicia Solow-Niederman wrote about her experience working on this project for the HLS Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs blog.

Finally, members of the Clinic team crafted a useful guide for organizations that face a set of questions that regularly come up for our clients in the Clinic — i.e., questions about how to manage and govern open source software development initiatives. The guide addresses both a range of issues relevant to those spearheading open-source efforts and attempting to strike a balance that preserves the ethos of open-source development initiatives and the value of their dispersed structures (on the one hand) while addressing both compliance and management considerations (on the other hand).

Representative Clients

We had an active year on the client advising front, with discrete projects that touched on issues ranging from privacy to speech to intellectual property (and beyond).  The Clinic worked with old friends, like Scratch, PRX, and WGBH. And, we connected with new collaborators like Meedan, Thurst, and Feel Train.  (Thanks to Morgen Bromell of Thurst and Courtney Stanton of Feel Train for saying ridiculously nice things about the Clinic!)

Events

Members of the Clinic team participated in numerous teaching activities and other events throughout 2017, including:

Looking Ahead

Once again, issues relating to the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence remain high on our agenda for 2018, as we continue to both support the Berkman Klein Center’s research efforts in this space and provide discrete advice to startups, scholars, activists, and others encountering legal issues in connection with the study, development, and deployment of autonomous systems. This includes issues about the interplay between algorithms, machine learning technologies, and artificial intelligence and the delivery of government services, as well as issues relating to the copyright consequences of using autonomous systems to generate creative works.

Research projects that involve web-scraping and related activities also remain front-and-center for us. As more and more people seek to examine the online content ecosystem, more and more people bump up against purported limitations established by website terms of use and federal law (including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act).

New Year’s Eve Disco Neon Light” image courtesy Pixbay user, bartekhdd, CC0.

by Clinic Staff at February 12, 2018 05:40 PM

MediaBerkman
John Freedman on Health Care Costs and Transparency
Health spending continues to outpace wages and GDP, while some new insurance designs transfer greater shares of that to patients’ own out of pocket costs. In this talk co-hosted with the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, Dr. John Freedman, President & CEO of Freedman HealthCare discusses what is driving health care costs up, who is benefiting, and how data is harnessed to study problems and remedy them. More info on this event here: https://cyber.harvard.edu/events/2018/luncheon/02/Freedman

by the Berkman Klein Center at February 12, 2018 03:28 PM

February 11, 2018

Cyberlaw Clinic - blog
Clinic Staffers Join Letter to MA Legislators re: Risk Assessment Tools

Chris Bavitz, Kira Hessekiel, and Mason Kortz on the Cyberlaw Clinic team joined this letter to Massachusetts legislators, addressing proposals re: the use of risk assessment tools in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. A conference committee of the Massachusetts legislature is now working to reconcile House and Senate criminal justice reform bills, each of which includes provisions about the use of RA tools. The letter — sent on behalf of researchers at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the MIT Media Lab — urges deliberation and study rather than a mandate that requires adoption of such tools.  Cullen O’Keefe — a spring 2018 Cyberlaw Clinic student — assisted in preparation of the letter.

by Clinic Staff at February 11, 2018 07:33 AM

February 09, 2018

Berkman Center front page
An Open Letter to the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Regarding the Adoption of Actuarial Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System

Teaser

The following open letter — signed by Harvard and MIT-based faculty, staff, and researchers — is directed to the Massachusetts Legislature to inform its consideration of risk assessment tools as part of ongoing criminal justice reform efforts in the Commonwealth.

Publication Date

9 Feb 2018

The following open letter — signed by Harvard and MIT-based faculty, staff, and researchers Chelsea BarabasChristopher BavitzRyan BudishKarthik DinakarUrs GasserKira HessekielJoichi Ito, Mason Kortz,  Madars Virza, and Jonathan Zittrain  — is directed to the Massachusetts Legislature to inform its consideration of risk assessment tools as part of ongoing criminal justice reform efforts in the Commonwealth.

In light of the extraordinarily rapid pace of technical development with respect to the sorts of RA tools under consideration; the relatively nascent state of our understanding of such tools and the consequences of their implementation; the far-ranging impacts these tools can have once implemented; the risk that institutional inertia might make it difficult to move away from them once they are adopted; and the complex and multivariate interplay between the use of RA tools and other aspects of the criminal justice system, we submit that the appropriate approach here is not a mandate in favor of adoption. Rather, we believe that the time is ripe for study, reflection, and development of transparent processes and comprehensive best practices.

Producer Intro

Authored by

by gweber at February 09, 2018 07:13 PM

February 08, 2018

Benjamin Mako Hill
OpenSym 2017 Program Postmortem

The International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym, formerly WikiSym) is the premier academic venue exclusively focused on scholarly research into open collaboration. OpenSym is an ACM conference which means that, like conferences in computer science, it’s really more like a journal that gets published once a year than it is like most social science conferences. The “journal”, in this case, is called the Proceedings of the International Symposium on Open Collaboration and it consists of final copies of papers which are typically also presented at the conference. Like journal articles, papers that are published in the proceedings are not typically published elsewhere.

Along with Claudia Müller-Birn from the Freie Universtät Berlin, I served as the Program Chair for OpenSym 2017. For the social scientists reading this, the role of program chair is similar to being an editor for a journal. My job was not to organize keynotes or logistics at the conference—that is the job of the General Chair. Indeed, in the end I didn’t even attend the conference! Along with Claudia, my role as Program Chair was to recruit submissions, recruit reviewers, coordinate and manage the review process, make final decisions on papers, and ensure that everything makes it into the published proceedings in good shape.

In OpenSym 2017, we made several changes to the way the conference has been run:

  • In previous years, OpenSym had tracks on topics like free/open source software, wikis, open innovation, open education, and so on. In 2017, we used a single track model.
  • Because we eliminated tracks, we also eliminated track-level chairs. Instead, we appointed Associate Chairs or ACs.
  • We eliminated page limits and the distinction between full papers and notes.
  • We allowed authors to write rebuttals before reviews were finalized. Reviewers and ACs were allowed to modify their reviews and decisions based on rebuttals.
  • To assist in assigning papers to ACs and reviewers, we made extensive use of bidding. This means we had to recruit the pool of reviewers before papers were submitted.

Although each of these things have been tried in other conferences, or even piloted within individual tracks in OpenSym, all were new to OpenSym in general.

Overview

Statistics
Papers submitted 44
Papers accepted 20
Acceptance rate 45%
Posters submitted 2
Posters presented 9
Associate Chairs 8
PC Members 59
Authors 108
Author countries 20

The program was similar in size to the ones in the last 2-3 years in terms of the number of submissions. OpenSym is a small but mature and stable venue for research on open collaboration. This year was also similar, although slightly more competitive, in terms of the conference acceptance rate (45%—it had been slightly above 50% in previous years).

As in recent years, there were more posters presented than submitted because the PC found that some rejected work, although not ready to be published in the proceedings, was promising and advanced enough to be presented as a poster at the conference. Authors of posters submitted 4-page extended abstracts for their projects which were published in a “Companion to the Proceedings.”

Topics

Over the years, OpenSym has established a clear set of niches. Although we eliminated tracks, we asked authors to choose from a set of categories when submitting their work. These categories are similar to the tracks at OpenSym 2016. Interestingly, a number of authors selected more than one category. This would have led to difficult decisions in the old track-based system.

distribution of papers across topics with breakdown by accept/poster/reject

The figure above shows a breakdown of papers in terms of these categories as well as indicators of how many papers in each group were accepted. Papers in multiple categories are counted multiple times. Research on FLOSS and Wikimedia/Wikipedia continue to make up a sizable chunk of OpenSym’s submissions and publications. That said, these now make up a minority of total submissions. Although Wikipedia and Wikimedia research made up a smaller proportion of the submission pool, it was accepted at a higher rate. Also notable is the fact that 2017 saw an uptick in the number of papers on open innovation. I suspect this was due, at least in part, to work by the General Chair Lorraine Morgan’s involvement (she specializes in that area). Somewhat surprisingly to me, we had a number of submission about Bitcoin and blockchains. These are natural areas of growth for OpenSym but have never been a big part of work in our community in the past.

Scores and Reviews

As in previous years, review was single blind in that reviewers’ identities are hidden but authors identities are not. Each paper received between 3 and 4 reviews plus a metareview by the Associate Chair assigned to the paper. All papers received 3 reviews but ACs were encouraged to call in a 4th reviewer at any point in the process. In addition to the text of the reviews, we used a -3 to +3 scoring system where papers that are seen as borderline will be scored as 0. Reviewers scored papers using full-point increments.

scores for each paper submitted to opensym 2017: average, distribution, etc

The figure above shows scores for each paper submitted. The vertical grey lines reflect the distribution of scores where the minimum and maximum scores for each paper are the ends of the lines. The colored dots show the arithmetic mean for each score (unweighted by reviewer confidence). Colors show whether the papers were accepted, rejected, or presented as a poster. It’s important to keep in mind that two papers were submitted as posters.

Although Associate Chairs made the final decisions on a case-by-case basis, every paper that had an average score of less than 0 (the horizontal orange line) was rejected or presented as a poster and most (but not all) papers with positive average scores were accepted. Although a positive average score seemed to be a requirement for publication, negative individual scores weren’t necessary showstoppers. We accepted 6 papers with at least one negative score. We ultimately accepted 20 papers—45% of those submitted.

Rebuttals

This was the first time that OpenSym used a rebuttal or author response and we are thrilled with how it went. Although they were entirely optional, almost every team of authors used it! Authors of 40 of our 46 submissions (87%!) submitted rebuttals.

Lower Unchanged Higher
6 24 10

The table above shows how average scores changed after authors submitted rebuttals. The table shows that rebuttals’ effect was typically neutral or positive. Most average scores stayed the same but nearly two times as many average scores increased as decreased in the post-rebuttal period. We hope that this made the process feel more fair for authors and I feel, having read them all, that it led to improvements in the quality of final papers.

Page Lengths

In previous years, OpenSym followed most other venues in computer science by allowing submission of two kinds of papers: full papers which could be up to 10 pages long and short papers which could be up to 4. Following some other conferences, we eliminated page limits altogether. This is the text we used in the OpenSym 2017 CFP:

There is no minimum or maximum length for submitted papers. Rather, reviewers will be instructed to weigh the contribution of a paper relative to its length. Papers should report research thoroughly but succinctly: brevity is a virtue. A typical length of a “long research paper” is 10 pages (formerly the maximum length limit and the limit on OpenSym tracks), but may be shorter if the contribution can be described and supported in fewer pages— shorter, more focused papers (called “short research papers” previously) are encouraged and will be reviewed like any other paper. While we will review papers longer than 10 pages, the contribution must warrant the extra length. Reviewers will be instructed to reject papers whose length is incommensurate with the size of their contribution.

The following graph shows the distribution of page lengths across papers in our final program.

histogram of paper lengths for final accepted papersIn the end 3 of 20 published papers (15%) were over 10 pages. More surprisingly, 11 of the accepted papers (55%) were below the old 10-page limit. Fears that some have expressed that page limits are the only thing keeping OpenSym from publshing enormous rambling manuscripts seems to be unwarranted—at least so far.

Bidding

Although, I won’t post any analysis or graphs, bidding worked well. With only two exceptions, every single assigned review was to someone who had bid “yes” or “maybe” for the paper in question and the vast majority went to people that had bid “yes.” However, this comes with one major proviso: people that did not bid at all were marked as “maybe” for every single paper.

Given a reviewer pool whose diversity of expertise matches that in your pool of authors, bidding works fantastically. But everybody needs to bid. The only problems with reviewers we had were with people that had failed to bid. It might be reviewers who don’t bid are less committed to the conference, more overextended, more likely to drop things in general, etc. It might also be that reviewers who fail to bid get poor matches which cause them to become less interested, willing, or able to do their reviews well and on time.

Having used bidding twice as chair or track-chair, my sense is that bidding is a fantastic thing to incorporate into any conference review process. The major limitations are that you need to build a program committee (PC) before the conference (rather than finding the perfect reviewers for specific papers) and you have to find ways to incentivize or communicate the importance of getting your PC members to bid.

Conclusions

The final results were a fantastic collection of published papers. Of course, it couldn’t have been possible without the huge collection of conference chairs, associate chairs, program committee members, external reviewers, and staff supporters.

Although we tried quite a lot of new things, my sense is that nothing we changed made things worse and many changes made things smoother or better. Although I’m not directly involved in organizing OpenSym 2018, I am on the OpenSym steering committee. My sense is that most of the changes we made are going to be carried over this year.

Finally, it’s also been announced that OpenSym 2018 will be in Paris on August 22-24. The call for papers should be out soon and the OpenSym 2018 paper deadline has already been announced as March 15, 2018. You should consider submitting! I hope to see you in Paris!

This Analysis

OpenSym used the gratis version of EasyChair to manage the conference which doesn’t allow chairs to export data. As a result, data used in this this postmortem was scraped from EasyChair using two Python scripts. Numbers and graphs were created using a knitr file that combines R visualization and analysis code with markdown to create the HTML directly from the datasets. I’ve made all the code I used to produce this analysis available in this git repository. I hope someone else finds it useful. Because the data contains sensitive information on the review process, I’m not publishing the data.


This blog post was originally posted on the Community Data Science Collective blog.

by Benjamin Mako Hill at February 08, 2018 11:48 PM

Justin Reich
Is Technology the "Elephant in the Room"?
The "elephant in the room" has everything to do with technology but is not really about technology at all.

by Beth Holland at February 08, 2018 09:15 PM

February 07, 2018

Justin Reich
MakeCode for Minecraft: Learn Coding with Blocks
MakeCode is a new block-based coding environment that gives students superpowers in the Minecraft world to learn coding.

by Douglas Kiang at February 07, 2018 11:24 PM

The Quest for Creativity in Schools
If creativity is viewed as a system of change, then we might start to envision an entirely new model for school.

by Beth Holland at February 07, 2018 11:23 PM

Berkman Center front page
Summer Internship Program 2018 - Now Accepting Applications

 

 


We are looking forward to engaging a diverse group of students who are interested in studying—and changing the world through—the Internet and new technologies; who are driven, funny, and kind; and who would like to join our amazing community in Cambridge this summer for 10 weeks of shared research and exchange.

We are now accepting applications for summer 2018 internships.  The application deadline for all students for summer 2018 is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET
 
 
 
 
 

About the Program

Each summer the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University swings open the doors of our vibrant yellow house to welcome a group of talented and curious students as full-time interns - Berkterns! - who are passionate about the promise of the Internet. Finding connected and complementary research inquiries among their diverse backgrounds, students represent all levels of study, are being trained in disciplines across the board, and come from universities all over the world to tackle issues related to the core of the Center’s research agenda. Summer interns jump head first into the swirl of the Berkman Klein universe, where they are deeply and substantively involved in our research projects and efforts.

Becoming invaluable contributors to the Center’s operation and success, interns conduct collaborative and independent research under the guidance of Berkman Klein staff, fellows, and faculty. Specific roles, tasks, and experiences vary depending on Center needs and interns' skills; a select list of expected opportunities for this coming summer is below. Typically, the workload of each intern is primarily based under one project or suite of projects, with encouragement and flexibility to get involved in additional projects across the Center.

In addition to joining research teams, summer interns participate in special lectures with Berkman Klein Center faculty and fellows, engage each other through community experiences like weekly interns discussion hours, and attend Center-wide events and gatherings with members of the wider Berkman Klein community. As well, each year interns establish new channels for fun and learning, such as organizing debates and pub quizzes; establishing reading groups and book clubs; producing podcasts and videos; taking on the Mystic lakes and Brooklyn Boulders; and hosting potlucks, cook-offs, and BBQs (fortunately for us, people share).

The word "awesome" has been thrown around to describe our internships, but don't take our word for it. Get a behind the scenes look at what it's like to be a summer intern at the Center through the Summer Snapshot 2017 developed by summer 2017 Berktern Tym Yee; there you'll hear from interns about their experiences, projects, and out-of-the office explorations!  And an evergreen-in-spirit quote from former intern Zachary McCune in 2008 continues to sparkle (even as the rock band reference dates it): "it has been an enchanting summer working at the berkman center for internet & society.  everyday, i get to hang out with some of the most brilliant people on the planet. we talk, we write (emails), we blog, we laugh, we play rock band. and when things need to get done, we stay late hyped on free coffee and leftover food. it is a distinct honor to be considered a peer among such excellent people. and i am not just talking about the fellows, staff, and faculty, though they are all outstanding. no, i mean my peers as in my fellow interns, who are almost definitely the ripening next generation of changemakers."

 
 
 
 
 

Time Commitment

The summer 2018 program will run from Monday, June 4, 2018 through Friday, August 10, 2018.  Summer internships are full time positions (35 hours/week).

Payment

Interns are paid $11.50 an hour, with the exception of certain opportunities for law students who receive summer public interest funds (more about these specific cases at the link for law students below).

No other benefits are provided, and interns must make their own housing, insurance, and transportation arrangements.

Commitment to Diversity

The work and well-being of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society are profoundly strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, ability, and much more. We actively seek and welcome people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, persons with disabilities, and people at intersections of these identities, from across the spectrum of disciplines and methods.

Eligibility

  • Internships are open to students enrolled across the full spectrum of disciplines.
  • Internships are open to students at different levels of academic study including those in bachelor’s, master’s, law, and Ph.D programs.  We also welcome applications from recent graduates and those in between academic programs.
  • Summer interns do not need to be U.S. residents or in school in the U.S.; indeed, we encourage international students to apply. 
  • Selected interns must be authorized to be employed in the United States during the summer.  The Berkman Klein Center works with the Harvard International Office (HIO) to sponsor J-1 Student Intern Visas, which permit employment, for selected summer interns who meet the visa requirements.  More information can be found on the HIO website at http://hio.harvard.edu/j-student-intern-visa.
  • Summer interns do not need an existing affiliation with Harvard University.

Select Expected Summer 2018 Opportunities

Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence
We are seeking to hire a small group of interns to focus exclusively on research related to artificial intelligence and how to shape its development in a way that advances the public good. Machine learning and related computational techniques present a new set of challenges for not only engineers and computer scientists, but also for social scientists, ethicists and philosophers, legal scholars, economists, and policymakers. Throughout the summer, the interns will work closely with a team of researchers and faculty members at Berkman Klein to conduct research that helps conceptualize the challenges and implications of AI (broadly defined), and works toward identifying practical solutions and tools. Tasks may include (a) writing research memos, op-eds, and articles, and contributing to tool and database development; (b) researching and synthesizing a variety of AI-focused articles, books, and other publications; and (c) supporting the Center’s work across a range of topics relating to AI, algorithms, and machine learning, including the use of algorithms in the judiciary, media and information quality, and global governance and inclusion. This position requires high degrees of flexibility, strong writing and communication skills, as well as the ability to find, absorb, critically analyze, and debate large amounts of materials from various sources and across disciplines. No technical background is required. For more information on the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative, check out our webpage at https://cyber.harvard.edu/research/ai.

Communications
The Berkman Klein communications team is looking for a creative, motivated candidate to work  on variety of editorial, administration, and digital media tasks that help tell the Berkman Klein story to the public and target audiences. The comms intern may be asked to assist with any aspect of the Center’s communications activities, including editing and writing website and social media content, designing materials, pitching in with multimedia production, assisting with events and outreach, and developing new and creative ways to share and amplify the research and other activities undertaken by the Center and its projects. It is a great position for someone looking to familiarize her/himself with the Berkman Klein Center community, its activities and interests, and the Internet and society issues of the day. The right candidate will be sharp, flexible, and reliable and will possess strong organizational skills to help juggle multiple tasks, people, and projects. An understanding of both traditional and social media is key for this position. Interest across the broad areas of Berkman Klein research is big plus. Familiarity with website content management systems, Mailchimp, InDesign, audio editing, and media monitoring software is helpful, but not required.

Cyberlaw Clinic
The Cyberlaw Clinic provides pro bono legal services to individuals, startups, non-profit and other mission-driven organizations, and government entities. Every summer, Clinic interns contribute to a range of real-world projects related to the Internet and technology. Interns may assist the Clinic team in providing guidance on copyright and trademark issues; support advocacy efforts to protect civil liberties; consider domestic and global human rights impacts of technology on privacy and free expression; and work with agencies and organizations that promote innovation in the delivery of government services. Interns in the Cyberlaw Clinic can expect direct hands-on experience working with clients under the supervision of the Clinic's staff attorneys. More information about the Cyberlaw Clinic can be found at http://clinic.cyber.harvard.edu.

Berklett Cybersecurity
The Internet and the devices attached to it are, in important ways, broken. They are not secure. And yet we depend on them – and treasure the openness that in some ways is at the root of some vulnerability.  Solutions to this problem are not only difficult to develop, but also exquisitely hard to implement. The Internet environment is a distinctly shared space: it comprises many interdependencies and perspectives among the public and private sectors.  But the actions taken by government and corporate actors has been highly fragmented.  Further complicating matters, trust in government -- particularly in the intelligence community -- to help address the mounting concerns around cybersecurity is low.  The Berklett Cybersecurity project is a unique forum for discussing true and important, and often novel, facts, and perspectives, and achieving surprising consensus on enduring questions of cybersecurity that are core to government, foreign intelligence, law enforcement, and industry.  Our aim is to achieve a depth of trusted and honest discussion between experts across a broad range of issues, and to significantly advance our collective understanding of the problems and their potential solutions.  More information about the project can be found at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/research/cybersecurity.

Digital Communication, Politics, and Collective Action
We are seeking a research assistant who will contribute to ongoing work around two projects, one focused on media manipulation and the other on harmful speech online more broadly. Our media manipulation work centers on empirical scholarship that seeks to address the most important issues and challenges in the public interest at the intersection of political communication and digital media. The goals of our work on harmful speech online are to map the complex sphere within which it operates, convene and connect people working on these issues, and translate academic findings into useful information for policy makers. Summer interns may help review and synthesize relevant literature across fields; gather, analyze and visualize data; analyze digital, social, and other forms of online media and discourse; and write and edit essays, publications, and translational communications. More information can be found at https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/99203 and https://cyber.harvard.edu/research/mediacloud.

Freedom of Expression
The Berkman Klein Center's suite of freedom of expression-related projects, including Internet Monitor, is seeking an intern to conduct research on Internet filtering, monitoring, and control efforts around the globe; engage in related data gathering efforts using online sources; contribute to report writing; blog regularly about issues concerning online freedom of expression; and manage various projects' social media accounts. In the past, interns have also supported research on blogospheres and other online communities around the world, contributed to literature reviews, and hand coded online content. Basic HTML skills and a familiarity with content management systems are helpful. Foreign language skills, particularly in Persian, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese, are useful. More information about some of the Berkman Klein Center’s work on freedom of expression can be found at the following link: https://thenetmonitor.org.

Geek Cave Software Development
The Berkman Klein Geek Cave is a great place to dive into technical and software development projects over the summer. Interns joining the Geek Cave will work to extend open source development projects of various kinds. We have four fun, talented, devoted, full-time developers on staff, which interns will work with to help hone their 1337 skillz. Interns will also have opportunities to manage the complex system of hamster wheels that keep the network moving. Our team also regularly works with ruby, php, bash, javascript, elasticsearch, solr, postgresql, and a slew of other tools. Geek Cave interns applying this summer should be familiar with one or more of [ruby, php, javascript]. Experience with ubuntu linux, rails, meteor, wordpress and drupal is a plus. More info about the projects that we work on can be found on our github organization page: http://github.com/berkmancenter.

Global Access in Action
Global Access in Action (GAiA), a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, is seeking a paid summer intern from June to August 2018. GAiA is a dynamic global health non-profit organization that focuses on improving access to lifesaving medicines in low- and middle-income countries through the implementation of legal, policy, and regulatory reform. GAiA seeks to expand access to lifesaving medicines and combat the communicable disease burden that disproportionately harms the world’s most vulnerable population. We work with key domestic and international stakeholders. Interns will be responsible for assisting with a variety of tasks including research, writing, event management, project administration, and communications. In particular, interns will help with: (1) communications and outreach for GAiA; (2) events and conferences with stakeholders; (3) website management and (4) writing of blogs. We are looking for candidates who are detail-oriented and committed to global public health. Experience with global health, intellectual property, and communications are helpful but not required. You may refer to our website for more information on our projects: www.globalaccessinaction.org

Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP)
HOAP fosters open access (OA) to research, advises on OA policies and projects, undertakes research on OA, and provides OA to timely and accurate information about OA itself. HOAP interns may enlarge the Open Access Directory (OAD), a wiki-based encyclopedia of OA, contribute to the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP), a social-tagging project organizing knowledge about OA, and/or test and promote TagTeam, a HOAP-directed open-source tagging platform built at the Berkman Klein Center to support OATP. They may help with ongoing HOAP research projects or use some of their time on an OA-related project of their own, with support and feedback from the other members of HOAP. More information about HOAP can be found at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/hoap.

Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data
The Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project brings together expertise in computer science, statistics, law, policy, and social science across five research centers across Harvard and MIT. It seeks to develop methods, tools, and policies to further the tremendous research potential of data containing information about individuals while protecting privacy. The legal team, led by Prof. Urs Gasser at the Berkman Klein Center, explores cross-disciplinary approaches to data privacy and devises new privacy frameworks, legal instruments, and policy recommendations that complement privacy-preserving technologies being developed in the project. To support this work, the Berkman Klein team is looking for rising second and third-year law students to conduct research and analysis on topics related to privacy law and policy. Summer interns will write legal memoranda on selected topics in privacy law and policy, draft data sharing agreements, survey the academic literature on privacy, contribute to the development of new tools for privacy and data sharing, and attend lectures and events with privacy experts from a wide range of disciplines. More information about the project can be found on the Privacy Tools project website at http://privacytools.seas.harvard.edu.

Special Projects with Executive Director Urs Gasser
We are seeking to hire a small team of summer interns to work on a variety of projects undertaken by Berkman Klein's Executive Director Urs Gasser, including but not limited to, a new project that explores the evolving role of law in the digital age, engineering a “re-coding” of cyberlaw that better aligns the law with the spheres of technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, and new modes of blended, multimodal governance. Please read Urs’ article in the Harvard Law Review Forum, “Recoding Privacy Law: Reflections on the Future Relationship Among Law, Technology, and Privacy,” for more information. Additional research topics during the internship include privacy, cybersecurity, comparative law, digital health, interoperability, and Internet governance. Tasks include (a) research for presentations and events, op-eds, a book, and articles, (b) editorial work, and (c) general support on a range of international initiatives. This position requires high degrees of flexibility, strong communication skills, as well as the ability to find, absorb, critically analyze, and debate large amounts of written and other media materials from a various sources. This position is an ideal opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing graduate or legal studies in the future, as well as those individuals currently enrolled in graduate or law school. Knowledge of foreign languages is a plus. More information about Urs’ research can be found at http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/ugasser.

Technology, Law and Library Innovation
The Library Innovation Lab explores intersections of technology, law and libraries. Each summer we welcome 2-3 Berkman Klein Center interns to collaborate on projects big and small with our band of developers, designers, lawyers and librarians. This summer, as part of our Caselaw Access Project, we’ll be experimenting with a huge new dataset of all US court decisions, working on an API to promote public access and research use of the data, and pursuing small discovery and demonstration projects to help illustrate the possible uses of this important dataset. We’re also working to transform textbooks and expand open educational resources through a major redesign and relaunch of our H2O platform. And we’re building open source software called Perma.cc that helps scholars, courts and many others preserve web citations against link rot. Those are some of our big projects. We also have many other small sketches and explorations in motion all the time. We welcome applicants of all backgrounds and perspectives who share our enthusiasm for this work. Technical expertise is great but not required. Please join us!

To Apply

We know what you're thinking. Yes please. I want that. That sounds magical.  Did I mention that I have incredible dance moves?  Here's what you should do...

  • Law students: please find application instructions and important additional information here.
     
  • Students from disciplines other than law: please find more information and application instructions here.

The application deadline for all students for summer 2018 is Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET


Questions?

Please start with our Summer Internship Program FAQ

Have questions not covered in the FAQ? Email Rebecca Tabasky at rtabasky@cyber.harvard.edu.

 


via GIPHY

Tenacious 'terns wanted to help us untangle the Internet.

by rtabasky at February 07, 2018 03:49 PM

Wayne Marshall
Música Negra to Pop Reggaeton

I think the jury’s still out on whether the so-called “Despacito effect” will translate into a sustained presence of Spanish-language hits in the Hot 100, in regular radio rotation, on top-level pop playlists (and not just reggaeton / Latin ones), and so forth. I’m sure the “YouTube factor” will continue to make these decisions increasingly less provincial, but so far, aside from Fonsi and Yankee, I’ve only otherwise heard J Balvin and Bad Bunny on the local Anglo hip-hop & R&B station.

I’d say, however, that there has been a pronounced effect on the public discourse about reggaeton / dembow / urban Latin pop, and that may prove a powerful factor in its own right. Despite that I get a kick — and maybe even wring a little hope — out of the implicit political statement of a song like “Despacito” dominating pop music under the most xenophobic president in decades, I agree that the song will not save us. And I am heartened to see so much critical conversation happening around the genre in the wake of new prominence and an expanding public.

Last week, I spoke with Riobamba and Uproot Andy — soon to launch a co-hosted monthly radio show called “Bien Buena” — about the history of dembow, and we discussed the implications of reggaeton moving from the social margins to the pop mainstream over the course of its history. This shift in the publics that reggaeton artists address, as I argued ten years back, paralleled the changing names and sounds of the genre: from “música negra” (a chant often heard on proto-reggaeton, underground mixtapes) to “reggaeton latino” (a Don Omar hit directly indexing a broader Latin American heritage), and from references to dancehall and hip-hop to suggestions of bachata, salsa, and other putatively Latin genres. In recent years, especially with the rise of the slick, “sanded down” Colombian sound — and a set of lighter-skinned stars — the genre has arguably undergone an additional process of blanqueamiento.

So I was glad to see — also last week — the issue taken up directly in the first post of a new column by Eddie Cepeda devoted to “reggaeton’s history, sociopolitical struggles, and its impact as a global force in music and culture.” (Notably, both the column and the radio show take their names from songs by El General, the Afro-Panamanian reggae en español pioneer who is as much a “godfather of reggaeton” as anyone.) Go ahead and read the whole thing, but I want to share the provocative and promising final paragraphs:

Reggaeton has come a long way from the besieged “música negra” of the caseríos. And it’s more important now than ever to tell the story of how it got here. Reggaeton’s increased visibility will undoubtedly lead to further dilution of the genre, which purists say is already coming in the form of the “sanded-down” new wave of Colombian artists leading the genre’s charge over the charts. The gradual blanqueamiento of a genre is nothing new. Jazz, blues, and disco have all suffered from similar battles – both from attempted regulation and from industry sanitization. The Larry Levans of yesteryear are replaced by the Diplos of today.

Musical commodification is never monolithic. There’s complex nuance in a genre’s growth. Reggaeton’s domination is important for Latinx visibility on a global scale, but at what price? As the genre increases in acceptance and popularity, it’s key to remember that it was considered low-class and dangerous when it was predominantly read as black. The image that reggaeton’s new wave of marketable, light-skinned stars portray sweeps its origins as “música negra” under the rug, and affirms colorism’s strong grip on Latin American culture. That’s not to say that the artists leading reggaeton’s pop surge shouldn’t be allowed to the party. But a truly inclusive understanding of Latinidad and its diverse, complex communities should represent all facets of it – especially the Afro-diasporic communities who created it.

I’m looking forward to reading more from Eddie, and I’m grateful for the nod/cite/link he provides to my chapter in the Reggaeton book. It’s a little stunning to me that the essay is now a decade old, and I’m thrilled that the story I tried to suss out remains relevant to the contemporary convo.

I’ve been wanting to share the article as a “freeDF” for years now, and this seems as good a moment as ever. So for those who haven’t read it yet and aren’t going to buy the book (but the book is good! get the book!) — you can download a PDF here:

Marshall, Wayne. “From Música Negra to Reggaeton Latino: The Cultural Politics of Nation, Migration, and Commercialization.” In Reggaeton, 19-76. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. [PDF]

I’ve also posted the PDF at this page, where you can find the musical figures / examples from the chapter and related materials.

by wayneandwax at February 07, 2018 03:01 PM

February 06, 2018

Berkman Center front page
Health Care Costs and Transparency

Subtitle

featuring John Freedman, President & CEO of Freedman HealthCare

Teaser

Health spending continues to outpace wages and GDP, while some new insurance designs transfer greater shares of that to patients’ own out of pocket costs. What is driving health care costs up, who is benefiting, and how are data harnessed to study the problems and remedy them?

Parent Event

Berkman Klein Luncheon Series

Event Date

Feb 6 2018 12:00pm to Feb 6 2018 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 12:00 pm

The Digital Health @ Harvard series features speakers from Harvard as well as collaborators and colleagues from other institutions who research the intersection between health and digital technology. The series is cosponsored by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. The goal of the series is to discuss ongoing research in this research area, share new developments, identify opportunities for collaboration, and explore the digital health ecosystem more generally. 

Society needs to think about health care as a "team sport." That is, according to Dr. John Freedman, we need administrators and policy makers, not just physicians, to support health care infrastructure. In this talk, Dr. Freedman, President and CEO of Freedman HealthCare (a health data consulting firm), spoke to several current issues regarding health care costs and transparency. First, US health care spending has risen greatly in the last decade. However, this trend is not due to people’s increased utilization of services, but rather due to increasing prices for services. In addition, there is extreme variation in prices for the same procedures across providers and their offices. Disparities continue to grow as providers consolidate and the volume of patients has shifted to higher-priced providers located in outpatient clinics.
 
Unfortunately, these trends have negative consequences for social welfare. Health care costs crowd out other priorities. While spending on healthcare has increased, spending in other important areas, like education and human services, has greatly decreased. Additionally, though it is often touted as such, health care is not necessarily a “social equalizer,” due to what Freedman termed the “reverse Robinhood effect.” The effect happens when, for example, everyone from low-level employees to executives at an organization is on the same health plan. Research shows that the most expensive people on the health plan are actually those who come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, while those who spend the least on the health plan are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Thus, the lower-income employees are essentially subsidizing health care for the higher-income employees.
 
While current circumstances with regard to health costs are concerning, Freedman sees greater transparency as a potential antidote. Freedman demonstrated a tool his group is developing called All Payer Claims Datasets. These datasets, which are compiled from multiple health benefit payers, aggregate eligibility records, medical and pharmacy claims, provider information, and insurance product details. Through the transparency provided by the Dataset tool, Freedman anticipates performance improvement in medical services, greater information for public health and health policy, better informed consumer choices, and greater access to data for researchers.
notes by Donica O'Malley

Event Description

Health spending continues to outpace wages and GDP, while some new insurance designs transfer greater shares of that to patients’ own out of pocket costs. In this talk, Dr. Freedman discusses what is driving health care costs up, who is benefiting, and how data is harnessed to study problems and remedy them.

About Dr. John Freedman

John Freedman MD MBA has 30 years’ experience in care delivery, performance measurement &amp; improvement, health IT, and health care reform. Before founding Freedman Healthcare, he held leadership roles at multiple innovative health care firms. Dr. Freedman served as Medical Director for Quality at Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado region, and as medical director for specialty services and coordinated care at New England’s largest community health center, overseeing 50 staff in 16 specialties. As medical director for quality and medical management at Tufts Health Plan, he helped them climb to a #2 national NCQA quality ranking. He has served on the boards of Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, Network Health (a 300,000 member Medicaid health plan), and the Fishing Partnership (which improves health in fishing communities). Dr. Freedman graduated Harvard College, U. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the U. of Louisville School of Business. Freedman Healthcare is a leading consulting firm in health care reform, health policy analysis and development, and it has been engaged in many states to create all-payer claims databases, implement health insurance exchanges, and support health care transformation.

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by ahancock at February 06, 2018 06:27 PM

MediaBerkman
The Past, Present, and Future of the Digital Public Library of America
What is the role of libraries in a technological society? A group of librarians, technologists, journalists, and researchers, including new DPLA executive director John Bracken, come together to reflect on the Digital Public Library of America’s past, present and future, and explore the way in which libraries can contribute to a stronger civic life in the midst of disruptive times. Read more here: https://cyber.harvard.edu/node/100128 Learn more about the Digital Public Library of America: http://dp.la

by the Berkman Klein Center at February 06, 2018 04:50 PM

February 05, 2018

MediaBerkman
Jonas Kaiser on The Dark Side of the Networked Public Sphere
In this talk, Berkman Klein affiliate Jonas Kaiser shares some of his research on the networked public sphere. "The right-wing is rising. Not only in the United States but also in Germany and other European countries. And the internet helped," he writes. "Right-wing actors are active all over the internet, adapt to platforms, game the system, blur the lines between off- and online, and create their own virtual spaces. In addition, social media platforms like YouTube contribute involuntarily to the right-wing's reach and, perhaps, influence with their algorithms." In this talk Kaiser will explore these issues and potential ways forward. More info on this event here: https://cyber.harvard.edu/events/2018/luncheon/01/Kaiser

by the Berkman Klein Center at February 05, 2018 04:34 PM

The State of Net Neutrality in 2018
The January 4, 2018 release of the Federal Communications Commission’s "Restoring Internet Freedom Order" marked the most recent turn of events in the longstanding and ever-changing debate over net neutrality. In this lively debate, Christopher S. Yoo (Founding Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania) and Matt Wood (Policy Director of Free Press) explore the consequences of this action, including the implications of the Order, the outcome of the judicial challenge, and the possibility of legislative reform. More info on this event here: https://cyber.harvard.edu/events/2018/01/NetNeutrality

by the Berkman Klein Center at February 05, 2018 04:32 PM

The “Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non-Humans Hold Copyrights?
After a photographer left his camera equipment out for a group of wild macaques to explore, the monkeys took a series of photos, including selfies. Once the photos were posted publicly, legal disputes arose around who should own the copyrights — the human photographer who engineered the situation, or the macaques who snapped the photos. This unique case raises the increasingly pertinent question as to whether non-humans — whether they be monkeys or artificial intelligence machines — can claim copyrights to their creations. Jon Lovvorn, Lecturer on Law and the Policy Director of Harvard Law School's Animal Law & Policy Program, hosts a discussion panel featuring Jeff Kerr, the General Counsel of PETA, which sued on behalf of the monkey, and experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues, as well as Tiffany C. Li of Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, and Christopher T. Bavitz and Kendra Albert of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic. More info on this event here: https://cyber.harvard.edu/events/2018/luncheon/01/monkeyselfie

by the Berkman Klein Center at February 05, 2018 04:30 PM

February 02, 2018

Berkman Center front page
Past, Present, and Future of the Digital Public Library of America

Subtitle

featuring John Bracken, newly appointed executive director of the DPLA, and colleagues

Teaser

Please join DPLA's new executive director John Bracken and colleagues to reflect on the DPLA’s past, present and future and explore the way in which libraries can contribute to a stronger civic life in the midst of disruptive times.

Event Date

Feb 2 2018 3:00pm to Feb 2 2018 3:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 
John S. Bracken

Friday, February 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus
Caspersen Room, Langdell Hall (4th Floor)

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Please join us for a discussion about the role of libraries in a technological society. Conceived of at Harvard and incubated by the Berkman Klein Center, the Digital Public Library of America recently announced the appointment of John Bracken as its new executive director. We will reflect on the DPLA’s past, present and future and explore the way in which libraries can contribute to a stronger civic life in the midst of disruptive times. Co-hosted by the Berkman Klein Center and the Harvard Law School Library, the gathering will take place on Friday, February 2, from 3:00-5:00pm in the Caspersen Room (fourth floor) at the Harvard Law School Library, with a reception to follow.

 

About John S. Bracken

As Executive Director, John Bracken leads DPLA’s staff, board, and key stakeholders in developing a clear vision and strategy for DPLA’s future with a focus on continued growth, innovation, and services. Bracken joins DPLA from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he was vice president of technology innovation. He previously directed Knight’s journalism and media innovation program, before becoming vice president of media innovation. Bracken received his undergraduate degree from the Claremont Colleges’ Pitzer College, and a Master’s degree from the Annenberg​ ​School​ ​for​ ​Communication​,​ ​at the University​ ​of​ ​Pennsylvania. Bracken previously worked at the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He currently serves on the board of Illinois Humanities.

 

We will also be joined by our colleagues:

Jonathan Zittrain, George Bemis Professor of International Law; Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources; Faculty Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society; Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Professor, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government

Bob Darnton, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and University librarian, emeritus, Harvard 

Maura Marx, President, Fidelity Foundation

Jocelyn Kennedy, Executive Director, Harvard Law School Library

Mary Minow, Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow, Harvard 

Nicco Mele, Director, Shorenstein Center

Philipp Schmidt, Director of Learning Innovation, MIT Media Lab

Urs Gasser, Executive Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society; Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School

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by ahancock at February 02, 2018 10:00 PM

February 01, 2018

Berkman Center front page
#FellowFriday! Get to know the 2017-2018 Fellows

This series of short video interviews highlights the new 2017-2018 Berkman Klein fellows. Check back every week for new additions!

Published Friday, January 26

Soroush Vosoughi is creating algorithms that can track and counter the spread of misinformation on social networks.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

The question I'm really interested in and what I'm working on as a fellow at Berkman and also as a postdoc at MIT Media Lab is interventions to dampen the effects of misinformation on social media. My PhD focused on automatic detection of rumors on social media.

Right now I'm interested in intervention strategies, so one idea I have is maybe an automated tool like a bot on Twitter and on Facebook that would detect misinformation using the algorithm I developed for my thesis. And then contact people who are on the path of the misinformation to let them know that they might be exposed to this thing. Kind of vaccinating them before they're actually exposed to the virus of misinformation. Now I think it's become pretty obvious that rumors and misinformation in different domains are super important, and damaging to society, specifically rumors in the political domain. They undermine the core democratic values of our society, because if you don't have a shared truth with the other people who are voting in the same election as you then you're not judging the candidates based on the same facts.

What excites you or scares you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

I think technology is always neutral, almost always neutral. So it can be used for good or evil. What excites me, and what makes me fearful is actually the same technology, which is specifically recent advances in deep neural networks. A lot of the problems in classical AI have already been solved using this new method in the last decade, so problems that we thought we would not be able to solve in a century we've already solved. So that's really exciting. But again, the same algorithms and systems that we've used to solve these problems, they're big black boxes. We never know exactly what goes in them. And so if you give them too much power to govern our society, they might actually make decisions that we would never understand, and that we'll never be able to interpret — and that scares me.

***

Published December 15

Doaa Abu-Elyounes  is a doctoral student at Harvard Law School studying how judges are beginning to use AI and algorithms in the courtroom.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you. 

In the criminal justice system judges are using algorithms ("risk assessment tools" they call it) in order to determine how risky defendants are. I'm focusing on the pre-trial stage, which is the first stage that defendants encounter with judges. They need to decide whether to keep them in jail, to wait for the end of the trial in jail, or to release them with conditions, or without conditions. The tools that are being used now are based on regression analysis, and I'm trying to estimate the impact of artificial intelligence on these tools. What makes me passionate is to improve our broken criminal justice, and to try to see how we can benefit from this increasingly emerging technology, and maybe to be a little bit more just.

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

I'm hopeful about the future of technology. Technology is getting better and better. I'm a blind person, and it definitely changed my life, so I'm hopeful that it's going to change others' lives. People who maybe made a mistake in their lives, they still deserve a fair, due process. It's the law. And I'm hoping that technology will help us reach that goal faster.

***

Luke Stark is a post-doc in sociology at Dartmouth College who explores how psychological techniques are incorporated into social media platforms, mobile apps, & AI systems.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you. 

One research question I'm really interested in this year is how we think about expanding the ethical horizons of science and technology, especially around STEM education, computer science, and engineering. I think it's important because these technologies that get designed and built by computer scientists and engineers have a huge impact on our world. And they have a lot of say in how social life gets organized these days. I think it's important for all of us to understand the social and ethical implications of those technologies.

How did you become interested in this topic?

I remember when I was in my early 20s, I had a job working for the government of Ontario in communication. And I sort of realized that the politicians were really interested in how newspapers got laid out. They cared about where the headline was on the page, how many column inches they got. And it just underscored to me the truth of Marshall MacLuhan's axiom about the medium being the message. That the newspaper, which is also kind of a technology was important to the way these politicians' values and messages got out. That really helped spark my interest. I think in the last year or so there have been so many stories in the news about why the ethics of technology are important. Debates about "fake news," about persuasion, about the way that social media shaped electoral politics and that kind of thing. I think a lot of people realized the importance of these questions in their every day digital media use before 2017. But I think it's really hard to ignore those things now.

***

Published December 8

Pritha Chatterjee is researching the privacy and public health implications of India's new universal ID system.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year.

I am looking at how population health can be improved with the use of technology, in particular in low and middle income countries and "disadvantaged" populations in high-income countries. I am looking especially at maternal health outcomes.

What in particular are you looking at with regard to technology and health in India?

We have this universal identification system in India called Aadhaar, which is being linked to track people, and that has potentially a lot of use in public health. So for example, with our tuberculosis program, the financial assistance that is provided is being linked through [the ID system]. The privacy implications of this are really huge. so I guess, what technology can do, we should also be wary of those very same things at the same time so that balance is -- I don't know how we are going to find it. I'm working on it myself. So the potential is huge, but if you say like in a country like India that you're not going to provide the services if a person does not have that ID yet, that is a problem, because implementation is a huge challenge. Secondly, the privacy part of it really scares me, because you're linking all sorts of data through this one ID, and the government has access to all of it. I don't think enough is being done to address that, or even research on how to mitigate those concerns. Like how can you use the technology for the good, but also reassure citizens? There should be a mechanism to protect the privacy of citizens, and I don't think enough is being done on that front yet.  

***

Published December 8

Chien-Kuan Ho is a prosecutor who researches cybercrime and the new challenges posed by digital anonymity and encryption.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

This year my research will primarily focus on how to more effectively investigate cyber crime. With the development of technology, many criminals may use new cyber tools to commit a crime, such as mobile malware, and ATM fraud, et cetera. The growth of cybercrime remains a great threat to security in our world. Therefore, law enforcement authorities have to improve their capability to investigate cybercrime more effectively.

Why should people care about this issue?

With the massive use of the technology of the Internet, everyone could be a potential victim of this technology. In our world, the reality is that everyone who is connected to the Internet is vulnerable to cyber attack. It's not only big companies that are under threat. Individuals who don't think they have much to offer the hackers can be also targeted. So even if you don't think you are a big target, you should still care for this risk.

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world? What scares you the most?

Modern technology is certainly fascinating. Social networks have allowed us to share almost anything, anytime, anywhere. Smartphones and the Internet have dramatically changed the way we communicate. But criminals may also use these technologies to commit crimes. What scares me the most about technology is the increasing misuse of anonymity and encryption services on the Internet has become a critical impediment of the investigation and the prosecution of criminals. If law enforcement cannot keep up with the progress of technology, our world may become a paradise for criminals.

***

published December 1

james Wahutu studies the impact media reporting on mass atrocities has on our understanding of human rights, collective memory, and cross-cultural exchange.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
I'm interested in two research questions. The first is on the use of images of atrocities by news organizations. Primarily, I'm interested in the efficacy of this and then idea that we could consume African death and pain while sitting in the confines of our home. So what does that then mean for African victims and why is it okay to do this? But most importantly, who owns these pictures of African pain and what does that then mean for advocacy issues?

The next one that I'm also interested in and should be starting to act on in the spring, is the use of perpetrators as sources when news is being written and news is being collected. So, I'm interested in the relationship between quoting a perpetrator of a mass atrocity and the risk of the intensification of violence. In my prior work it turns out that perpetrators are pretty media savvy and they know that if a Western news organization quotes them, it gives them the kind of cultural capital that they need that they then hope to change into economic capital during negotiation processes and hopefully score a seat in the new regime and the new government that should be coming up.

Why is this important to you?
It's important for us as Africans to be able to tell our stories, but also realize who is telling our stories, because whoever is telling our story owns that particular story. In my undergrad career, I realized that I kept quoting Western academics that were writing about atrocities in African countries, but not necessarily talking to Africans. The challenge is in changing how we raise awareness about mass atrocities and thinking about the unintended consequences of how we've been doing it thus far.

***

published December 1

Keith Porcaro works to enable greater participation by all communities in an age of increasingly complex systems.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
The big part of my work focuses on how legal norms form and digitizing society. The narrower question that I'm working on here is, how can communities take control and make decisions about the data that they're creating and the data that's being created about them? How can we use existing vehicles, like trusts, as a way to first give communities power to be able to make these decisions, and be able to protect it against uses that they don't want? But then the other side of that is once you've given communities that power, how do you help them understand sort of what the surface area of those decisions are. And how to understand what the ramifications of some of their decisions might be.

I kind of think of it as two sides of a coin so on the one side of the coin, it's how can we use law to deal with new technology, to deal with the fact that increasingly more of our lives are digital or online, and then the other side of that is, how can you use technology to understand how complicated systems work like law or like anything else and especially for people who don't have the time to sort of think about this professionally.

What's a good example of a complex issue?
So for somebody who is you know just facing a legal issue for the first time, or just finding out that somebody is doing a census in their neighborhood, the expectation that we should have is not that they should become a lawyer, they should go to law school, they should learn about how databases work, but it should be what can we use, and what interfaces, what explanations, what structures can we use to help people understand enough of the system to be able to make an informed decision about how it should work.

***

published November 20

Jie Qi is hacking the patent system to make innovation more equitable and impactful.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
I'm really excited about exploring open innovation, specifically around patents, and how we can hack the patent system to support sharing of inventions, rather than closing it off. The reason I care deeply about this is because as a maker, and an entrepreneur, and an individual that's not a giant company, I'm interested in exploring alternative ways to create and make an impact with my inventions. For example, one of the inventions that I created as part of my PhD research is this idea of using stickers that are also electronics. We took flexible printed circuit boards which we find in our cell phones or laptops or whatever, and we added conductive glue to the bottom of them, such that when you take the sticker, which is a circuit board, and stick it down to like a conductive ink or conductive tape, you actually build circuits, but it feels like you're playing with stickers and tape and pens, and that is kind of a creative, crafty way to learn electronics.

What excites you and scares you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?
Technology is very powerful. It's a tool, which means it can do wonderful things, and it can do scary things. It itself is not bad. However, with the many forces that are at play in the world I can see people or institutions with means getting control of these technologies and using them in a negative way that perhaps the original inventors didn't imagine or perhaps none of us have ever imagined. What I'm excited about, as someone who creates technology and teaches people electronics and programming, is that it is extremely powerful and it allows you to take the things that are in your imagination and make them real. As an educator, when I see people learn something new and create something that they might not have imagined they could, it's extremely empowering. For me, technology is a way to make you see that the impossible is possible.

***

published November 20

Kathy Pham is bridging the gaps between software engineers and policymakers.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
Having worked with both a large tech company, as well as within the federal government, I constantly think about how  we build products that are responsible and ethical and take into account our users. Another focus is the intersection of government and technology. How do we get policy folks interested in, and understanding, technology, as well as getting technologists, whether they're engineers, or product managers, or designers, interested in public service or working in the federal government? In my early days as a software engineer, the topics around users and the user experience of something, or even the broader social impact of what we build, wasn't always there.

What are some ideas for addressing this topic?
One of the things that has come up here at Berkman is attacking it from the curricula level: really teaching our computer scientists and engineers how to critically think about the effects in the long term, or even short term effects, of what we build. Think about some of the implications of collecting data. Think about what happens when the data is stored long term. Think about how something can be misused or not used the way we intended for it to be used. What can we do in the policy space that makes sense? You know, it gets tricky because we we get into the free speech realm of we don't want to restrict the ability to build products or people's freedom of speech on different platforms, but what is the responsibility of tech companies in looking at their users?

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?
How can we use technology to really provide better government services for people, people who can't go in-person to different government service locations to get care, whether they're veterans, or people who need to get services? How can we use technology to really make their lives a lot better?  I'm very excited to think about different ways that technology can be used to provide care services our most vulnerable populations and the people who need help the most.

***

published November 13

Jenny Korn is examining new and evolving representations of race and identity, both online and off.

Tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

I'll be looking at the way people talk about race and gender, both online and in person. I've pretty much always been interested in issues of race because I'm a woman of color that grew up in Alabama. I was reminded of my race in both positive and negative ways at a very early age and ever since then.

Why should people care about this issue?

Talking about race more openly promotes, my hope is that it promotes, a more just society eventually. Because if we can't talk about race then we definitely can't talk about racism. And so we have to get to the point where talking about race is not uncomfortable or feels forced. But rather feels the same as saying what your gender is or what your sexual orientation is. To say it all together naturally and comfortably so that all of us can discuss what that means to everybody across different levels of society.

What excites you the most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

The Internet has definitely changed the way that we socialize but also the ways that we interact with what we believe race is. We're not only consumers of the Internet. We're also producers. We actually can create different ways to discuss race. We can share different representations of race. And to me that's really exciting because we are able to reduce the distance and the time and the speed to creating those representations online instead of relying on publishers for books, or producers and distributors for movies. We can overlook that and use the Internet as the way to produce and broadcast and share those representations. And that means we can change old stereotypes and make new representations of what we believe it is to be of color, or to be white. It's a brand new medium in terms of how far we can get this kind of message. I'm excited by the possibilities.  

***

published November 13

Nathan Kaiser is a lawyer studying AI and Asia.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about a research question you’re excited to address this year.

I'm a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center. I’m very happy to be here. I'm originally Swiss but spent the past years in in Asia. I'm looking at AI and always from China and maybe a larger Asian angles. The research question is -- it's partially copy/paste from the 10 or 15 year old question. "What about the Internet in China and outside?" And now the question is "What about AI in China and outside of China?" There's a lot of a lot of stuff to to be looked at.

Why should people care about this issue?

AI will have as big an impact on society. And society always means me, you, and the family, and everybody around us. Just as with the Internet years ago, and over time. It would not be wise to say the Internet  is not for me or to say nowadays AI is not for me because it's going to be around you anyway. And so from a personal individual point of view or a company point of view or even a family point of view, I think it makes sense to start looking around and see what's going on. Does it help you? Does it hurt you? Should you use it? Should you not use it? Then once it's clear that you should use it and how do you use it? What are the tools, what are the risks for employees, risk for companies, risk for kids?

What scares you the most about technology and its potenital impact on our world?

I'm always worried about the people who are not able to enjoy a technology. I think that scares me because it creates a even larger gap. You don't only have rich people and poor people. You have an additional divide of using technology or not using technology. Being able and having the money to use technology will make the rich richer and the poor more poor. So that's something that scares me because it creates tension and we've seen that over the past 10 or 20 years.

***

published November 6, 2017

Joanne K. Cheung is an artist and designer studying at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

This year I’m developing an analytical framework for looking at public space, so physical space, all the stuff around us, and discourse on the internet. My background is in the fine arts, so I’ve always cared about how to communicate something, how something appears to someone not from my own discipline. A lot of this came from, well, I guess two things. One is the very jarring experience of the past election and realizing that geographically, my understanding of the country that I live in is very different than what I thought it was. Also, this summer I became an American citizen, so learning everything about the democratic process was really interesting, and I thought that I wanted to understand how my own discipline intersected with the political process.

Why should people care about this issue?

There is no opting out of existing in this system and I think now that everyone is so deeply connected... the other side of that is we’re all more alienated from the subjects of our actions, so whether they’re intentional, unintentional, or accidental, I think making those connections visible is really important now. 

What excites (or scares) you most about technology and its potential impact on our world?

I always go back to that William Gibson quote, “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed,” but then I go back and think about my own discipline, which is dealing with land and buildings, and I was thinking, well, the future doesn’t distribute itself, has land ever been evenly distributed? I can’t think of something that has. A lot of that comes down to human agency, it comes down to decisions humans make. I think it’s not technology doing the work, it’s people doing the work, and so, maybe that gives me some worry, it scares me because I want to define who those humans are, but it also gives me a little bit of hope because I’m a human, we all are, so there is potential for making change and making a difference.

***

published November 6, 2017

Emad Khazraee is a sociotechnical information scientist and an assistant professor in the school of information (iSchool) at Kent State University.

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.

Broadly, speaking, I’m interested in how human collectives use information technology to achieve their collective goals. I look at two levels. At one level, I look at very large collectives, how they use information technology for social transformations, for example, how activists use information technology to challenge authorities. On another level, I’m looking at very tightly connected communities, I call them communities of practice, how they use information technologies to produce knowledge. At Berkman Klein Center, I am looking to understand how we can theorize the dynamic of evolution of the tools and methods that activists use to challenge authorities. On a personal side, I’m Iranian and I have seen a lot of transformations in recent years happening in Iranian society. We’ve seen a very young population, educated population, use information technology to progress the state of society.

Why should people care about this issue?

We are living in an era that the pace of technology, changes and advancements, is so high, that some people have become anxious about what the impact of technology is in our society. It’s very important to see whether it helps us to improve our society or not. I think that’s how it is important for the average person, to see, in many contexts, such as oppressive environments, whether the use of information technology can be a force shifting the balance towards a more just and progressive society, or it might give more tools for oppressive governments to repress and restrict humans’ freedom.

***

published October 27, 2017

Desmond Upton Patton, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Columbia University and a faculty affiliate of the Data Science Instiute and the Social Interevention Group at Columbia University. 

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
This year I'm really trying to understand how communication on social media leads to offline violence. So I'm studying a Twitter dataset of young people in Chicago to better understand how things like grief and trauma and love and happiness all play out on Twitter and the relationship between that communication and offline gun violence. 

I started my research process in Chicago and I have been just completely troubled by the amount of violence that happens in the city. And one of the ways in which that violence happens or occurs is through social media communication. And so I want to be a part of the process of ending violence through learning how young people communicate online.  

***

published October 27, 2017

Jenn Halen is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at the University of Minnesota and a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

Tell us about a research question you're excited to address this year and why it matters to you.
I’m working on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence project, here at Berkman Klein. There are a lot of questions as to how exactly incorporating this new technology into different social environments is really going to affect people, and I think one of the most important things is getting people’s perspectives who are actually going to be impacted. So, I’m looking forward to participating in some early educational initiatives and some discussions that we can post online in blog posts and things, to help people feel like they’re more familiar with this subject and more comfortable, because it can be really intimidating.

Why should people care about this issue?
Right now, this technology or early versions of machine learning and artificial intelligence applications are being used in institutions ranging from the judicial system, to financial institutions, and they’re really going to impact everyone. I think it’s important for people to talk about how they’re being implemented and what the consequences of that are for them, and that we should have an open discussion, and that people can’t do that if they’re unfamiliar with the technology or why it’s being employed. I think that everyone needs to have at least a basic familiarity with these things because in ten years there’s not going to be an institution that doesn’t use it in some way.

How did you become interested in this topic?
I grew up in a pretty low income community that didn’t have a lot of access to these technologies initially, and so I was very new to even using a computer when I got into college. It’s something that was hard for me initially, but that I started really getting interested in, partially because I’m a huge sci-fi fan now, and so I think that sci-fi and fiction really opens up your eyes to both the opportunities and the potential costs of using different advanced technologies. I wanted to be part of the conversation about how we would actually approach a future where these things were possible and to make sure that we would use them in a way that would benefit us and not this scarier, more dystopian views of what could happen.

What excites you most about technology and its potential impact on our world?
Software, so scalable, that we can offer more resources and more information to so many more people at a lower cost. We’re also at a time where we have so much more information than we’ve ever had in history, so things like machine learning and artificial intelligence can really help to open up the answers that we can get from all of that data and maybe some very non-intuitive answers that people just have not been able to find themselves.

What scares you most?
I think that the thing that scares me most is that artificial intelligence software is going to be employed in institutions and around populations that don’t understand both ends of the things it has to offer, but also its limitations. It will just be taken as objective fact or a scientific opinion that you can’t question, when it’s important to realize that this is something that is crafted by humans, that can be fallible, that can be employed in different ways and have different outcomes. I think my biggest fear is that we won’t question it and that these things will just be able to be deployed without having any kind of public dialogue or pushback if it has negative consequences.

by gweber at February 01, 2018 05:36 PM

January 30, 2018

Berkman Center front page
The “Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non-Humans Hold Copyrights?

Subtitle

featuring Jon Lovvorn (HLS), Jeff Kerr (PETA), and a panel of experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues

Teaser

Can non-human animals own copyrights? Can artificial intelligence machines? Join the Berkman Klein Center, the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program, and the HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund for a discussion of the “Monkey Selfie” case and the issues it raises around untraditional definitions of who can be considered a creator under the law.

Parent Event

Berkman Klein Luncheon Series

Event Date

Jan 30 2018 12:00pm to Jan 30 2018 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 
Self-portrait of a female Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra) in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, who had picked up photographer David Slater's camera and photographed herself with it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program, the Harvard Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Can non-humans hold copyrights? Jon Lovvorn (Policy Director of the Harvard Animal Law and Policy Program) explored this question in a conversation with Jeff Kerr (General Counsel to PETA), Tiffany Li (attorney and Resident Fellow at Yale Law School’s Initiative on Intermediaries and Information), Chris Bavitz (Managing Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic), and Kendra Albert (Clinical Instructional Fellow at the Cyberlaw Clinic).

Lovvorn opened the conversation by questioning the dualistic nature of law. As he explained, the law divides everything into a binary of persons vs. things. However, scientific knowledge about animals’ sentience, intelligence, and creativity shows that animals do not fit will into this binary. Likewise, artificial intelligence is another category that seems to blur the boundaries between persons and things.

Next, Kerr introduced the famed “monkey selfie case.” David Slater, nature photographer, traveled to Indonesia in 2008, where he left his camera equipment with a group of crested macaques. One of the macaques, Naruto, took several images, including the notorious “monkey selfies.” Slater later published a book, which included some of the images. In 2011, the images were uploaded onto Wikimedia Commons. Slater complained, arguing that his copyright was violated, and legal disputes ensured. In 2015, PETA filed a lawsuit on behalf of Naruto, requesting that he be given copyright over the photographs. The court ruled that copyright does not extend to animals. PETA filed an appeal. In 2017, PETA, Slater, and his publishing company reached an agreement that Slater would donate 25% of future proceeds to charities that will protect the Indonesian crested macaques.

Each of the panelists responded to Kerr’s overview. Bavitz suggested that aside from one person or one monkey owning the images, there exists a viable third option: no one owns it. Within the US context, he explained, copyright supposedly creates incentive. How does this map onto a world of non-human actors? Albert added that in addition to its incentivizing potential, copyright is also a form of speech regulation. What types of harm might result from this speech being owned when it was not previously? Yi emphasized that US precedent has repeatedly voted against giving copyright to nonhuman authors. However, in the future, with continued advancements in AI and deeper understanding of neuroscience, we will likely have to reconsider our laws. Finally, Lovvorn reiterated the inefficacy of law’s duality, pointing out that “animals” and “other creations of nature” are excluded from owning copyright, but that in contexts outside of the law, humans are typically considered both of these things.

notes by Donica O'Malley

Event Description

After a photographer left his camera equipment out for a group of wild macaques to explore, the monkeys took a series of photos, including selfies. Once the photos were posted publicly, legal disputes arose around who should own the copyrights —the human photographer who engineered the situation, or the macaques who snapped the photos. This unique case raises the increasingly pertinent question as to whether non-humans—whether they be monkeys or artificial intelligence machines—can claim copyrights to their creations. Join Jon Lovvorn, Lecturer on Law and the Policy Director of Harvard Law School's Animal Law & Policy Program, as he hosts a discussion panel featuring the General Counsel of PETA, which sued on behalf of the monkey, and experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues.

This event is supported by the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. In conjunction with the MIT Media Lab, the Initiative is developing activities, research, and tools to ensure that fast-advancing AI serves the public good. Learn more at https://cyber.harvard.edu/research/ai.

About Jon Lovvorn

Jonathan Lovvorn is the first Policy Director of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program. Mr. Lovvorn is also a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and will teach our inaugural course on Farmed Animal Law & Policy this Fall. He previously taught the HLS seminar in Wildlife Law in both the Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 terms. In addition to teaching at Harvard, Mr. Lovvorn has taught Animal Law and Wildlife Law at a number of other law schools, including New York University, Georgetown, George Washington University, and most recently Yale. He also has authored several articles concerning animal law and environmental policy, most recently publishing Climate Change Beyond Environmentalism in the Georgetown Environmental Law Review, which focuses on the intersectional threats of climate change to animals, people, and the environment. For several years Mr. Lovvorn has been serving as Senior Vice President & Chief Counsel for the Humane Society of the United States, where he founded and managed the nation’s largest animal protection litigation program. He has argued dozens of successful cases on behalf of both animals and the environment, authored or co-authored hundreds of state and federal animal protection reform laws, and served as the primary legal strategist for most of the major animal protection ballot measures enacted over the last 15 years.

About Jeff Kerr

As general counsel to PETA and its international affiliates for nearly 25 years, Jeff Kerr built and leads the world's largest legal team working for animal rights. His team was named Corporate Counsel magazine's 2017 Best Legal Department, and his high-profile cases—including the 13th Amendment case Tilikum v. SeaWorld, the first two successful constitutional challenges to "ag-gag" laws, and the "Monkey Selfie" copyright case—have made headlines around the world and sparked a global conversation about the legal rights of animals. Jeff’s undergraduate degree is from George Mason University, where he was a Weber scholar, and he received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, which will honor him this weekend with its Shaping Justice Award for Extraordinary Achievement for his career fighting for and advancing the cause of animal rights.

About Tiffany Li

Tiffany C. Li is an attorney and Resident Fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, where she leads the Wikimedia/Yale Law School Initiative on Intermediaries and Information. She is an expert on privacy, intellectual property, and law and policy at the forefront of new technological innovations. Li is also an Affiliate Scholar at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy. She has been honored as a Transatlantic Digital Debates Fellow (Global Public Policy Institute/New America Foundation), a Fellow of Information Privacy (International Association of Privacy Professionals), and a Fellow and Founding Member of the Internet Law and Policy Foundry. Li is a licensed attorney and has CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPT, and CIPM certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Global Law Scholar, and a B.A. in English from University of California Los Angeles, where she was a Norma J. Ehrlich Alumni Scholar.

About Chris Bavitz

Christopher T. Bavitz is Managing Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He is also a Clinical Professor of Law at HLS, where he co-teaches the Counseling and Legal Strategy in the Digital Age seminar and teaches the seminar, Music & Digital Media. Chris concentrates his practice on intellectual property and media law, particularly in the areas of music, entertainment, and technology. He oversees many of the Clinic’s projects relating to copyright, speech, and advising of startups, and he serves as the HLS Dean’s Designate to Harvard’s Innovation Lab. Prior to joining the Clinic, Chris served as Senior Director of Legal Affairs for EMI Music North America. From 1998-2002, Chris was a litigation associate at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and RubinBaum LLP / Rubin Baum Levin Constant & Friedman, where he focused on copyright and trademark matters. Chris received his B.A., cum laude, from Tufts University in 1995 and his J.D. from University of Michigan Law School in 1998.

About Kendra Albert

Kendra Albert is a Clinical Instructional Fellow at the Cyberlaw Clinic and was formerly an associate at Zeitgeist Law PC, a boutique technology law firm in San Francisco. They received their JD from Harvard Law School in 2016.  Kendra is also a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a writer and speaker on a diverse set of internet issues. Their work has been published in the Green Bag, the Harvard Law Review Forum, and WIRED. Kendra’s undergraduate degree is from Carnegie Mellon University, where they studied lighting design and history. Before starting law school, Kendra worked as a research associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, where they helped found Perma.cc. They also served as the first head teaching fellow for CopyrightX, Professor William Fisher’s open online copyright course. During law school, they spent time at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cloudflare, and Public Citizen. With EFF, they co-filed and received a DMCA 1201 exemption request for video game archiving and play.

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by candersen at January 30, 2018 06:05 PM

January 29, 2018

Joseph Reagle
Lepora and Goodin on Complicity

What is complicity? Lepora and Goodin (2013) provide the most comprehensive framework for parsing and assessing the moral blameworthiness of complicit behavior.

Lepora and Goodin (2013, ch. 3) distinguish between three groups of agents: (a) co-principals of a wrongdoing, (b) contributors who are complicit in it, and (c) non-contributors who have no causal relation to the harm.

Co-principals are active participants in the planning and execution of a wrong-doing; their actions constitute the harm. In most cases, the co-principles are co-operators: they each take the plan as their own and partake in its actions, even if in different but interdependent ways. For example, members of a bank robbery gang are co-operating co-principals, including those holding the guns, the lookouts, and the getaway driver.

Contributors, on the other hand, are casually necessary to the harm but not constitutive; their complicity “necessarily involves committing an act that potentially contributes to the wrongdoing of others in some causal way” (Lepora and Goodin 2013, 6). They contribute to but do not join in the wrongdoing. This includes the generic complicity simpliciter (without qualification), such as the bank teller who knowingly leaves the bank vault open. There are also more specific (qualified) types of complicit contribution, including complicity by collaboration (going along with a plan), by connivance (tacitly assenting), by condoning (granting forgiveness), by consorting (close social distance), and by contiguity (close physical distance). The first of this class, the collaborator, goes along with a plan that is not their own. For example, a teller who is forced to open that vault at gunpoint is a complicit collaborator—though morally exonerable in the larger framework because their action was involuntary.

Connivance, condoning, consorting, and contiguity can also be the non-causal acts of non-contributors. Non-contributory connivance is tacitly assenting to a harm, like not reporting a crime; yet, if criminals know they won’t be reported and consequently commit another crime, this connivance becomes complicit connivance The same holds true for condoning, consorting, and contiguity. These terms describe people associated with wrongdoers; when their association becomes causal, encouraging harm, they move from this third group of non-contributors to the second group of complicit contributors.

Within these roles we can see various “dimension of difference” (Lepora and Goodin 2013, ch. 4). Contributors might be essential to the wrongdoing, potentially so, or inessential. A sniper who successfully assassinates the target was essential; the back-up assassin was only potential so. Centrality speaks to the extent of contribution, such as the importance of a ring leader. Proximity speaks to the closeness to the harm in the causal chain; the last contribution to a wrongdoing has a greater weight than an earlier one. For example, wielding the gun in a robbery is more proximate to the harm than procuring it. Is the wrongdoing reversible? What of its temporality: did the contribution happen before or after the primary wrongdoing? There is also an person’s mental stance toward planning the harm. Is the person a plan-maker or plan-taker? If the latter, what is their responsiveness to the plan: do they eagerly adopt it as their own, otherwise accept it, or merely comply? Finally, is the plan about a shared purpose or not?

These dimensions are inputs to functions which yield factors within Lepora and Goodin’s “framework for assessment.”

  • BF (Badness Factor): how morally bad is the principal wrongdoing
  • RF (Responsibility Factor) = f(V, Kc, Kw)
    • V: voluntariness
    • Kc: Knowledge of contribution
    • Kw: knowledge of wrongness
  • CF (Contribution Factor) = f(C, Prox, Rvse, Temp, Pr, Resp)
    • C: centrality
    • Prox: proximity
    • Rvse: reversibility
    • Temp: temporality
    • Pr: planning role
    • Resp: responsiveness
  • SP (Shared Purpose): extent of overlap, strength, and guidance relative to purposes of wrong-doers

These factors are used to calculate complicit blameworthiness: CB = (RF*BF*CF) + (RF*SP). An implication of this is that even though bank tellers can be complicit when coerced, they are not blameworthy; if RF=0, so is CB. Another implication is that you need not share the evil purposes of the wrong-doer to be blameworthy. Even if SP=0, a contributor might have non-zero factors of responsibility (RF), badness (BF), and contribution (BF).

This equation implies four categories of secondary agents: those who are not complicit, those who are complicit but without blame, complicit and somewhat to blame, and those who are bear maximal blame.

  1. The secondary agent is not complicit with the principal wrongdoing if they had no knowledge of their contribution, its wrongness, or did not contribute.
Kc=0 or Kw=0 or CF=0
  1. The agent is complicit but bears no blame for contributing to the principal wrongdoing if it wasn’t voluntary.
Kc=1 and Kw=1 and CF > 0 but V=0
  1. The agent is complicit and bears more or less blame if they knew but only partially contributed, consented, or shared purpose.
Kc=1 and Kw=1 but (0<CF<1 or 0<V<1 or 0<SP<max)
  1. The agent is complicit and bears maximal blame if they knew, volunteered, made an essential contribution and shared the purpose of the wrongdoing.
Kc=1 and Kw=1 and V=1 and CF=1 and SP=max

Finally, Lepora and Goodin, true to their concern about humanitarian efforts, acknowledge that blameworthy complicity in one harm (provisioning a warlord) can be the lesser evil of another harm (letting more people starve). Nonetheless, we should still recognize the lesser evil as an evil: “We think that is a better way of explicating the morality of the situation than to deny that you are doing anything wrong at all by contributing to wrongdoing, on the grounds that your own intentions are pure” (Lepora and Goodin 2013, 96).

References

Lepora, Chiara, and Robert E. Goodin. 2013. On Complicity and Compromise. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

by Joseph Reagle at January 29, 2018 05:00 AM

January 26, 2018

Berkman Center front page
Global AI Dialogue Series

Subtitle

Observations from the China-US Workshop in Beijing (December 2, 2017)

Teaser

In December 2017, the Berkman Klein Center co-hosted an exploratory workshop in Beijing, China with Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management and the MIT Media Lab’s Ethics Initiative.

In December 2017, the Berkman Klein Center co-hosted an exploratory workshop in Beijing, China with Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management and the MIT Media Lab’s Ethics Initiative. Drawing together experts and practitioners from both countries to build interfaces for bilateral learning and trust between the AI research communities in China and the US, the event focused on AI impact metrics and measurement in critical areas such as social inclusion and the digital economy.

The excerpt below is from a write-up of observations from the discussion-based workshop. Read the full write-up on Medium or access the PDF from our Ethics and Governance of AI reasearch page

China and the United States are home to leading players in the research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems, which promise enormous benefits for the social good and pose significant risks. Investment in startups to apply and commercialize AI technologies is rapidly advancing in both countries, while in parallel different branches of the Chinese and American governments are preparing strategic policy plans for the future of AI. AI’s social impact, however, remains insufficiently examined, and many probable and prospective national and international decision points have yet to be clearly identified owing to differing political, economic, and cultural contexts.

In order to establish a cross-cultural dialogue about specific AI issues and build a learning network for investigating approaches to address these issues within and across domestic and global contexts, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University in collaboration with the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University and the MIT Media Lab’s Ethics Initiative hosted a China-US AI Workshop to bring together experts and practitioners from both countries. The meeting was designed to strengthen and build interfaces for bilateral learning and information sharing on research questions surrounding AI of mutual interest, while fostering trust between the AI research communities in China and the United States.

The purpose of this write-up is to share observations from this initial discussion-based workshop, highlight overarching themes that emerged, and extract insights on next steps for sustaining the cross-cultural, global dialogue.

 

About the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative
The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative is a joint effort of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the MIT Media Lab that seeks to support the evolution of AI in the public interest through research, community-building, and education.The initiative is enabled by support from the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund.

by gweber at January 26, 2018 03:34 PM

January 25, 2018

Wayne Marshall
Love That Muddy Ether: Pirate Multiculturalism and Boston’s Secret Soundscape (Cluster Mag Repost)

This is a repost of an article originally published at the now defunct Cluster Mag back in December 2011. I’m grateful to Max Pearl for the platform, to metaLAB for commissioning the project initially, and to the Internet Archive for keeping it online since the mag went down. I’ve been revisiting the mix/project over the last few years as a soundscape/radio example in my technomusicology classes, and I’m now struck that it serves as a sort of memorial given that some of these signals, especially vulnerable pirate stations, have since disappeared. (FYI, I previously reposted my other Cluster Mag pieces here on the blog. Read about / listen to the Lambada mega-mix here, and see / hear about Bump con Choque here.)

wild backyard sunset

Love That Muddy Ether: Pirate Multi-culturalism and Boston’s Secret Soundscape
27 December 2011

By Cluster Mag columnist Wayne Marshall, with his own original audio collage of the Boston radioscape.

Over the last decade Boston has become a Caribbean radio hotspot. Reggae and soca seep through the unlicensed openings in the local spectrum, vibrantly occupying foreclosed frequencies. In a landscape dominated by ad-driven automated playlists angling for their share of the middle of the road, a new wave of low-power and largely illicit broadcasters imbue the local soundscape with color, carnival, perspective, and polyrhythm, all while addressing pirate publics who find themselves on the same wavelength. Or close enough. (Some static is unavoidable.)

A casual scan of high-wattage FM fails to pick up frailer signals, making Boston sound at first blush no different than any large US city. Tuning into Anglo-Caribbean FM pirates or Spanish-Caribbean AM stalwarts, on the other hand, offers another angle on the Boston soundscape and on Boston itself. What takes shape is a city that’s far from the Boston seen on TV, closer to the one seen on the T. The right numbers on the dial open windows into worlds where DJs talk about voting and disaster relief efforts when they’re not debating local sports, hyping next weekend’s parties, breaking new releases, or revisiting pull-up-worthy classics that would never find their way back into corporate playlists. Imagined community organizing, with music at its core. Dance music, rap music, here music, there music. All, undeniably, part of the sound of Boston.

The rise of Boston pirate radio suggests a yet existing promise for local, open, peer-level communication. As Tim Wu recounts in The Master Switch, the early days of radio witnessed effusive utopian odes to the medium’s ability “to inspire hope in mankind by creating a virtual community” (39), as if “a great social interconnectedness via the airwaves would perforce ennoble the individual, freeing him from his baser unmediated impulses and thus enhancing the fellowship of mankind” (38). Radio’s proponents were inspired by its remarkable, ethereal powers of communication and by its low barriers to entry: a mail-order kit was sufficient. “It was amateurs, some of them teenagers, who pioneered broadcasting,” writes Wu. “They operated rudimentary radio stations, listening in to radio signals from ships at sea, chatting with fellow amateurs” (34). During its infancy in the 1920s, radio was essentially “a two-way medium accessible to most any hobbyist” whereas today, Wu notes, at a moment when radio is “hardly our most vital medium,” it is practically “impossible to get a radio license, and to broadcast without one is a federal felony” (39).

Due to its nature, radio has always been a local medium, but the degree to which content has been locally determined has shifted with the winds of commerce and technological change. In the earliest days of the medium, with no ability to connect to other stations or broadcast further, “radio stations made a virtue of the necessity to be local” (40). During the ’30s and ’40s, the development of AT&T’s national network and ad-driven model created what Wu calls an “irresistible incentive…to control and centralize the medium” (76), not to mention the emergence of national broadcasting companies like NBC and CBS. Later, with the advent of television quickly capturing national advertising campaigns, the pendulum swung back as radio once again found its local calling, fostering an explosive DJ-listener feedback loop that would fuel the ascent of rock’n’roll. Since at least the 1970s, however, the prevailing trend has been toward corporate consolidation, especially after the profound de-regulation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, with the rise of such industry giants as Clear Channel Communications (which owns close to 900 stations nationwide).

It didn’t have to be this way. As Wu points out, “the FRC had a real choice of whether to back more low-power stations, or fewer high power stations” (83), but long ago the Federal Radio Commission (now the FCC) chose to carve up the airwaves in a manner that favored big commercial broadcasters, freeing up “clear channels” for stations that transmitted across large distances while penalizing small stations who dared interfere. This official enclosure of the ether forestalled radio’s future as an open and democratic medium. While recent legislative efforts to make more room for (noncommercial) low-power FM broadcasting might give hope to some, I wonder whether radio’s lost community promise might yet be heard in the imperfect and decidedly commercial noise of DJs yelling over dancehall loops about the dress code for the big holiday bash.

For all its promise, Boston’s burgeoning Caribbean radio scene faces serious constraints. Even illicit radio stations have operating costs, and that can bring odd bedfellows to the block party—ambulance-chasing lawyers, for instance—while otherwise shaping the public soundscape in unpredictable ways. Based in and around Dorchester, the longtime center of Boston’s multilingual Caribbean community, Anglo-Caribbean FM pirates often attempt to cast a wide net even with their limited reach. (Only half-joking, one local DJ told me that a station transmitting from Codman Square can hardly be picked up in Dudley Square, just 3 miles away.) “If you know somebody that’s Spanish,” announced a well-meaning DJ over the air one afternoon, pausing to clarify, “somebody that, you know, doesn’t speak English — whatever their language is — tell ‘em to tune in, man: Monday through Friday, 12pm to 4pm!” And yet, even such occasionally awkward improvisations and arrangements are clearly attempts, and organic ones at that, to address a local public — often one in search of a local station that actually speaks its language, shares its accent, knows its songs.

Dorchester, Mass. via

At least half a dozen such stations are operating today in Boston, and the results are audibly vibrant, if not always so audible — especially the farther one gets from Dorchester. (It can be pretty hard to pick up certain stations in Cambridge, where I live, depending which side of town you’re on.) To share a suggestive slice of Boston’s secret and ever-shifting radio soundscape, I’ve put together a thirty-minute collage drawn from my own “pirated” archive of Boston’s so-called pirates (as well as licensed broadcasts). Boston Pirate Party is an attempt to offer a more direct, if obviously very mediated, representation of Boston’s airwaves. As such it extends my previous projects concerned with this town’s sound, the Boston Mashacre and Smashacre (as well as my Jamaican Radio Edit, a similar piece recorded in Kingston); ironically, and to its credit, Boston Pirate Party offers a far more accurate representation of the sound of Boston than any collection of music recorded by people who happen to be from here.

This project commenced with an invitation from Harvard’s metaLAB this summer. The basic structure of the mix—triggering of loops + FX—was performed live at Open_Lab3 on September 7, 2011. It contains about 125 sonic slices all told, cut from a total of 1.3 hours of ambient recordings I made on August 24th and 29th while sitting in my car, parked at home in Cambridge. There are a few longish samples (10-15 seconds) to help provide context and to give emphasis to the pirates and AM stations, but mostly one-shot samples and auto-scan fragments I’ve managed to forge into little loops. There’s a fair amount of static, hum, distortion, and other audible indices of power. Low-power FM and AM are both fraught with signal loss, whether fuzzy or muddy. The conspicuous and shifting noise-signal ratio also registers the distance of my vantage point, the limits of listening from across the river.

I have attempted to give a sense of the gamut in as compact yet contextual a way as possible, but I’ve also taken deliberate liberties, playing further with these contrasts and questions of quality in order, again, to bring the low-power to the fore. Since the initial performance, I have replaced certain recorded audio excerpts—notably, some of the murkier I captured—with full-color 320k mp3s. With this recurring procedure, I provide a series of surrealistic close ups through the fuzz, utopian eruptions on the staticky crawl down the dial. So, sometimes you hear it as I actually heard it in my car in Cambridge; sometimes you hear it the way I imagine it could sound. To put it another way, I employ this technique to highlight the issues of distance and power I’ve attempted to describe here — and to effect their transcendence.

And what exactly do you hear beyond static and signal? Among other things: Irish jigs and avant jazz, MOR rock fragments and bachata loops, Rick Ross grunts, reports of accidents in Ecuador and raids on Santeria barbershops, Boston-accented Wall Street numerology, a Brazilian-accented “Boston,” Junior Rodigan’s sui generis Iranian-Londonian-Jamaican-Bostonian brogue, an inevitable (and apt!) instance of the “Lambada,” Christian cheerleading, ads for things that end in “punto com,” ignorance and nonsense and “gar-bajh” of stunning variety, and a wicked lot more than you might expect.

Download Wayne’s radioscape audio collage, Boston Pirate Party, here.

by wayneandwax at January 25, 2018 07:45 PM

Berkman Center front page
Net Neutrality in the United States

Subtitle

A panel featuring Christopher S. Yoo (UPenn) and Matthew Wood (Free Press)

Teaser

The January 4 release of the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order marked the most recent turn of events in the longstanding and ever-changing debate over net neutrality. Come hear a panel of leading experts explore the consequences of this action, including the implications of the Order, the outcome of the judicial challenge, and the possibility of legislative reform.

Event Date

Jan 25 2018 12:00pm to Jan 25 2018 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Harvard Law School campus

This event is being co-sponsored by the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.

The January 4 release of the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order marked the most recent turn of events in the longstanding and ever-changing debate over net neutrality.  Come hear a panel of leading experts explore the consequences of this action, including the implications of the Order, the outcome of the judicial challenge, and the possibility of legislative reform.

About Christopher S. Yoo

Christopher S. Yoo is the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science and the Founding Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition at the University of Pennsylvania.  Repeatedly recognized as one of the most cited scholars in administrative/regulatory law and intellectual property, his major research projects include studying innovative ways to connect more people to the Internet; comparing antitrust enforcement practices in China, Europe, and the U.S.; using technology to inform how the law can promote optimal interoperability; and promoting privacy and security for autonomous vehicles, medical devices, and the Internet’s routing architecture.  He is also building an innovative integrated interdisciplinary joint degree programs designed to produce a new generation of professionals with advanced training in both law and engineering.  

Before entering the academy, Professor Yoo clerked for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  He also practiced law with the law firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) under the supervision of now-Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.  He also served as a professor at the Vanderbilt Law School, where he led the Technology and Entertainment Law Program.  He is a graduate of Harvard College, the Anderson School at UCLA, and the Northwestern University School of Law.  The author of four books and more than ninety articles and book chapters, Professor Yoo testifies frequently before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and foreign governments.  He is currently serving as a member of the Federal Communication Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, the Board of Advisers for the American Law Institute’s Project on Principles of Law for Data Privacy, and as a co-convener of the United Nation’s Internet Governance Forum’s Connecting and Enabling the Next Billions initiative.

About Matt Wood

Matt Wood has been the Policy Director since 2011 at Free Press, one of the country’s leading Net Neutrality advocacy groups, which successfully intervened to defend the 2015 FCC open internet rules and last week filed a petition for review challenging repeal of those rules.

He practices before the FCC most often but has also served as an expert witness before Congress on multiple occasions, and he worked in the communications practice groups of two DC firms before entering the non-profit sector.

He graduated from HLS in 2001, and served as editor-in-chief for CR-CL — but also subcited for JOLT, he promises.

Links

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by candersen at January 25, 2018 05:53 PM

MediaBerkman
Professor Orly Lobel: Who Owns Your Ideas and How Does Creativity Happen?
In this talk, Orly Lobel—award-winning author of Talent Wants to be Free and the Don Weckstein Professor of Law at the University of San Diego—delves into the legal disputes between toy powerhouses to expose the ways IP is used as a sledgehammer in today’s innovation battles. More info on this event here: https://cyber.harvard.edu/events/2018/luncheon/01/Lobel

by the Berkman Klein Center at January 25, 2018 03:59 PM

January 23, 2018

Berkman Center front page
The Dark Side of the Networked Public Sphere

Subtitle

featuring Jonas Kaiser, Berkman Klein Affiliate

Teaser

In this talk, Berkman Klein affiliate Jonas Kaiser will share some of his research on the networked public sphere. "The right-wing is rising. Not only in the United States but also in Germany and other European countries. And the internet helped," he writes.

Parent Event

Berkman Klein Luncheon Series

Event Date

Jan 23 2018 12:00pm to Jan 23 2018 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
Harvard Law School campus

In his talk at the Berkman Klein Center, Jonas Kaiser (Berkman Klein affiliate and DFG postdoctoral fellow) analyzed the right-wing networked public sphere. He's found that international far right-wing movements are becoming increasingly visible counterpublics online. Importantly, Kaiser emphasized, although they are often theorized as critical spaces in which to challenge the mainstream, counterpublics do not necessarily uphold progressive values. Such is the case with the groups that Kaiser studies.

Far right movements happen in an online/offline hybrid environment, where the goal is to translate online actions to the offline world. To better understand this phenomenon and how such messages spread online, Kaiser looked at YouTube channels in the US and Germany and followed YouTube’s automatic channel recommendations, through a three-step snowball method.

The study concluded that in both national contexts: the far right is highly active and popular on YouTube, right-wing channels have close connections to conspiracy theory channels, and YouTube’s recommendation algorithm does not differentiate between “conservative” and “far-right.” With specific regard to the US, the movement is still largely fragmented, while in Germany there is more clustering around specific actors. Despite the popularity of these videos and right-wing movements, Kaiser also pointed out that overall, YouTube’s most popular videos are not explicitly political, and are typically recurring shows or videos focused on topics like gaming.

Kaiser concluded his talk with a series of questions. Taken as a given that algorithms are always already political in some sense, he asked, do we want our politics curated by algorithms, in the same way as our music? He also wondered, where is the left on YouTube? Are they there, and if not, should they be? Finally, why is there so much emphasis on Twitter’s political influence, especially in the last US election, but not YouTube’s? YouTube’s influence in the current political climate is a starting point for potential future research.

Notes by Donica O'Malley

Event Description

In this talk, Berkman Klein affiliate Jonas Kaiser shares some of his research on the networked public sphere. "The right-wing is rising. Not only in the United States but also in Germany and other European countries. And the internet helped," he writes. "Right-wing actors are active all over the internet, adapt to platforms, game the system, blur the lines between off- and online, and create their own virtual spaces. In addition, social media platforms like YouTube contribute involuntarily to the right-wing's reach and, perhaps, influence with their algorithms." In this talk Kaiser will explore these issues and potential ways forward. 

About Jonas

Jonas Kaiser is a DFG postdoctoral fellow and affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and Associate Researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. His research interest are the transformation of the networked public sphere, digital methods, and political communication. At the Berkman Klein Center he is working on his research project on the "right-wing web," in which he aims to understand how and where right-wing actors make use of the internet to connect online and form international networks. He wrote his doctoral thesis at Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen about online climate change scepticism in Germany. His academic writing has been published in journals like International Journal of Communication, Communication and the Public, Media and Communication, or Environmental Communication as well as handbooks and edited volumes.

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by candersen at January 23, 2018 06:24 PM

Benjamin Mako Hill
Introducing Computational Methods to Social Media Scientists

The ubiquity of large-scale data and improvements in computational hardware and algorithms have provided enabled researchers to apply computational approaches to the study of human behavior. One of the richest contexts for this kind of work is social media datasets like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit.

We were invited by Jean BurgessAlice Marwick, and Thomas Poell to write a chapter about computational methods for the Sage Handbook of Social Media. Rather than simply listing what sorts of computational research has been done with social media data, we decided to use the chapter to both introduce a few computational methods and to use those methods in order to analyze the field of social media research.

A “hairball” diagram from the chapter illustrating how research on social media clusters into distinct citation network neighborhoods.

Explanations and Examples

In the chapter, we start by describing the process of obtaining data from web APIs and use as a case study our process for obtaining bibliographic data about social media publications from Elsevier’s Scopus API.  We follow this same strategy in discussing social network analysis, topic modeling, and prediction. For each, we discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of the approach and then provide an example analysis using the bibliographic data.

We think that our analyses provide some interesting insight into the emerging field of social media research. For example, we found that social network analysis and computer science drove much of the early research, while recently consumer analysis and health research have become more prominent.

More importantly though, we hope that the chapter provides an accessible introduction to computational social science and encourages more social scientists to incorporate computational methods in their work, either by gaining computational skills themselves or by partnering with more technical colleagues. While there are dangers and downsides (some of which we discuss in the chapter), we see the use of computational tools as one of the most important and exciting developments in the social sciences.

Steal this paper!

One of the great benefits of computational methods is their transparency and their reproducibility. The entire process—from data collection to data processing to data analysis—can often be made accessible to others. This has both scientific benefits and pedagogical benefits.

To aid in the training of new computational social scientists, and as an example of the benefits of transparency, we worked to make our chapter pedagogically reproducible. We have created a permanent website for the chapter at https://communitydata.cc/social-media-chapter/ and uploaded all the code, data, and material we used to produce the paper itself to an archive in the Harvard Dataverse.

Through our website, you can download all of the raw data that we used to create the paper, together with code and instructions for how to obtain, clean, process, and analyze the data. Our website walks through what we have found to be an efficient and useful workflow for doing computational research on large datasets. This workflow even includes the paper itself, which is written using LaTeX + knitr. These tools let changes to data or code propagate through the entire workflow and be reflected automatically in the paper itself.

If you  use our chapter for teaching about computational methods—or if you find bugs or errors in our work—please let us know! We want this chapter to be a useful resource, will happily consider any changes, and have even created a git repository to help with managing these changes!


The book chapter and this blog post were written with Jeremy Foote and Aaron Shaw. You can read the book chapter here. This blog post was originally published on the Community Data Science Collective blog.

by Benjamin Mako Hill at January 23, 2018 12:39 AM

January 22, 2018

Berkman Center front page
The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art

Teaser

In this guide, we'll cover the main areas of law that are implicated by protest art online. We’ll give you the background on what the law is and explain why it works the way it does. Finally, we’ll give you practical advice on how to get your work out onto the web and into the world.

Thumbnail Image: 

Originally posted on the Cyberlaw Clinic Blog

In the wake of Trump’s election and the resurgence of political art inspired by movements like the Women’s March, the Cyberlaw Clinic was approached by artists seeking clarification of their rights and responsibilities as creators and activists online. In response, a team of Berkman Klein staff, Clinic students, and allied creative folks created this Guide. It’s in plain language, meant to be accessible and helpful for folks across the political spectrum who are using art to engage in civic dialogue, to minimize their risks and maximize their impact.

We took on this project because art plays a significant role in American democracy. Across the political spectrum, protest art — posters, songs, poems, memes, and more —inspires us, gives us a sense of community, and provides insight into how others think and feel about important and often controversial issues.

While protest art has been part of our culture for a very long time, the Internet and social media have changed the available media and the visibility of protest artists. Digital technologies make it easy to find existing works and incorporate them into your own, and art that goes viral online spreads faster than was ever possible in the analog world. Many artists find the law that governs all of this unclear in the physical world, and even murkier online.

The authors have seen how the law can undermine artists, writers, and musicians when they’re caught unaware, and distract them from the work they want to do. But we’ve also observed how savvy creators use the law to enhance their work and broaden their audiences. This guide is intended to ensure that you, the reader, can be one of the savvy ones.

In this guide, we will cover the main areas of law that are implicated by protest art online, with separate posts on:

  • Roadmap: what the Guide covers and to whom it will be helpful

  • Copyright Part 1: what copyright protects (and what it doesn’t) and how to deal with copyrighted works

  • Copyright Part 2: the law of fair use — what it is, how it’s determined, and the risks of fair use

  • Copyright Part 3: getting permission to use the work of others — how to identify a copyright owner and how to make a license request

  • Trademark: what trademark protects, and when you can use another person’s trademark (with or without their permission)

  • Rights of privacy and publicity: legal rights of privacy and publicity, which are implicated when protest art features real people

  • Sharing and merchandising your work: licensing your work including with Creative Commons, using disclaimers, and making money

We’ll give you the background on what the law is and explain why it works the way it does. Finally, we’ll give you practical advice on how to get your work out onto the web and into the world.

The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art was written by Cyberlaw Clinic staff and students including Jessica Fjeld, Hannah Hilligoss, Maggie Finnegan (Fall ‘17), Jose Lamarque (Spring ‘17), and Jackie Kim (Spring ’17) in collaboration with Jessica Yurkofsky and Sarah Newman from metaLAB at Harvard. The illustrations were all created by Yurkofsky. We are grateful for the assistance of our Editorial Board including Hayley Gilmore, Carolyn Marsden, Crystal Nwaneri, and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston’s Megan Low, as well as the input of Berkman Klein Center collaborators Christopher Bavitz and Nikki Bourassa.

by gweber at January 22, 2018 04:59 PM

Cyberlaw Clinic - blog
The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art

In the wake of Trump’s election and the resurgence of political art inspired by movements like the Women’s March, the Cyberlaw Clinic was approached by artists seeking clarification of their rights and responsibilities as creators and activists online. In response, a team of Berkman Klein staff, Clinic students, and allied creative folks created this Guide. It’s in plain language, meant to be accessible and helpful for folks across the political spectrum who are using art to engage in civic dialogue, to minimize their risks and maximize their impact.

We took on this project because art plays a significant role in American democracy. Across the political spectrum, protest art — posters, songs, poems, memes, and more —inspires us, gives us a sense of community, and provides insight into how others think and feel about important and often controversial issues.

While protest art has been part of our culture for a very long time, the Internet and social media have changed the available media and the visibility of protest artists. Digital technologies make it easy to find existing works and incorporate them into your own, and art that goes viral online spreads faster than was ever possible in the analog world. Many artists find the law that governs all of this unclear in the physical world, and even murkier online.

The authors have seen how the law can undermine artists, writers, and musicians when they’re caught unaware, and distract them from the work they want to do. But we’ve also observed how savvy creators use the law to enhance their work and broaden their audiences. This guide is intended to ensure that you, the reader, can be one of the savvy ones.

In this guide, we will cover the main areas of law that are implicated by protest art online, with separate posts on:

  • Roadmap: what the Guide covers and to whom it will be helpful
  • Copyright Part 1: what copyright protects (and what it doesn’t) and how to deal with copyrighted works
  • Copyright Part 2: the law of fair use — what it is, how it’s determined, and the risks of fair use
  • Copyright Part 3: getting permission to use the work of others — how to identify a copyright owner and how to make a license request
  • Trademark: what trademark protects, and when you can use another person’s trademark (with or without their permission)
  • Rights of privacy and publicity: legal rights of privacy and publicity, which are implicated when protest art features real people
  • Sharing and merchandising your work: licensing your work including with Creative Commons, using disclaimers, and making money

We’ll give you the background on what the law is and explain why it works the way it does. Finally, we’ll give you practical advice on how to get your work out onto the web and into the world.

The Cyberlaw Guide to Protest Art was written by Cyberlaw Clinic staff and students including Jessica Fjeld, Hannah Hilligoss, Maggie Finnegan (Fall ‘17), Jose Lamarque (Spring ‘17), and Jackie Kim (Spring ’17) in collaboration with Jessica Yurkofsky and Sarah Newman from metaLAB at Harvard. The illustrations were all created by Yurkofsky. We are grateful for the assistance of our Editorial Board including Hayley Gilmore, Carolyn Marsden, Crystal Nwaneri, and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston’s Megan Low, as well as the input of Berkman Klein Center collaborators Christopher Bavitz and Nikki Bourassa.

by hhilligoss at January 22, 2018 01:30 PM

January 18, 2018

Cyberlaw Clinic - blog
Cyberlaw Clinic Assists with Amicus Effort in Byrd v. U.S.

“Route 101 Silicon Valley /SFO - Rental Car return do not use Airport Exit” image courtesy Flickr user ShashiBellamkonda, CC-BY-2.0.The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments last Tuesday, January 9th, in Byrd v. United States, Case No. No. 16-1371.  The case concerns the question of whether a person can assert Fourth Amendment protections in connection with a search of a rental car in which that person was not an authorized driver.  The case raises important questions about privacy in response to law enforcement, including about standing to assert defenses under the Fourth Amendment and about the interplay between private contracts (such as the contract between one renting a car and the rental car company) and Fourth Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court has posted a transcript and audio recording of the oral argument. Helpful reports about the case and argument include:

The Cyberlaw Clinic was pleased to have had the opportunity to support our friends and regular collaborators Restore the Fourth with the drafting of an amicus brief, filed in support of petitioner Terrence Byrd.  The brief focuses on the interplay between contracts and Constitutional protections, arguing that private agreements should not limit Fourth Amendment rights.  Fall 2017 Cyberlaw Clinic students Chloe Goodwin, Matthew Sacco, Devony Schmidt, and Brian Yost worked on the brief alongside Kendra Albert and Vivek Krishnamurthy on the Clinic’s teaching team, and Mahesha Subbaraman, Restore the Fourth’s counsel.

Route 101 Silicon Valley /SFO – Rental Car return do not use Airport Exit” image courtesy Flickr user ShashiBellamkonda, CC-BY-2.0.

 

by Clinic Staff at January 18, 2018 09:31 PM

January 16, 2018

Justin Reich
EdTech and Equity: An Interview by Henry Jenkins
Excerpts from an interview of Justin Reich by Prof. Henry Jenkins in the USC Communications Department, about the new report From Good Intentions to Real Outcomes: Equity by Design in Learning Technologies

by Justin Reich at January 16, 2018 09:56 PM

Berkman Center front page
Who Owns Your Ideas and How Does Creativity Happen?

Subtitle

A Conversation with Professor Orly Lobel on her new book You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side (Norton)

Teaser

Who owns your ideas? How are cultural icons created and who gets to control their image and message? Orly Lobel’s new book You Don’t Own Me is about how intellectual property both fuels and impedes entrepreneurship, innovation, ideas, and talent. The story is also about how the courtroom interacts with consumer psychology, corporate ethics, brand control, feminism, ethnicity and our values about parenting and womanhood. "Colorful and dramatic. ...Orly Lobel masterfully draws us in with rich details, urging us to consider the future of innovation and the many ways in which companies employ litigation to achieve market domination." -- Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of The Future of the Internet

Parent Event

Berkman Klein Luncheon Series

Event Date

Jan 16 2018 12:00pm to Jan 16 2018 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

In 2004, the major toy company Mattel, which owns the Barbie doll line, sued former employee, Carter Bryant. A few years earlier, Bryant invented Bratz dolls and sold the idea to MGA Entertainment. Bratz dolls soon became competition for Barbie, and in 2005, surpassed their sales. Mattel alleged that Bryant had developed the idea for Bratz while he was still an employee of Mattel, violating his contract. In her talk at the Berkman Klein Center, Orly Lobel (Don Weckstein Professor of Law at the University of San Diego) analyzed the case and its after-effects – what she described as a “decade of corporate and market drama.” Lobel’s talk drew from her new book, You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side.

Taking this case as an example, Lobel focused on the types of knowledge and behaviors that can be controlled by corporations. One way companies attempt to control employees in this way is through non-competes, or non-competition clauses. Non-competes are written into employee contracts and typically prohibit an employee from working with a competitor within a certain time frame. However, despite their purported intention to protect business interests, Lobel argued, such clauses may actually negatively influence industries. In the state of California, for example, which does not enforce constraints like non-competes, entrepreneurial industries and geographic regions, like Silicon Valley and Biotech Beach, have flourished.

Based on her empirical research Lobel argued that narrowing the reach of non-competes can both protect workers’ rights and increase innovation; employees’ ability to move freely between both industries and regions correlates with economic growth. Lobel concluded by emphasizing that non-competes have a great cost, not only to individual employees who cannot move on in their own prospective careers, but also to entrepreneurship and start-up culture, more generally.

Notes by Donica O'Malley

Event Description

Orly Lobel, award-winning author of Talent Wants to be Free and the Don Weckstein Professor of Law at the University of San Diego, delves into the legal disputes between toy powerhouses to expose the ways IP is used as a sledgehammer in today’s innovation battles. YOU DON’T OWN ME is not just a thrilling story of business battles and courtroom drama, but the book brings a critical eye to our ideas about the American Dream, the rise of feminism, consumer psychology and the making of icons alongside betrayal, spying, and racism in the courtroom. Deeply researched, Lobel interviewed the major players, including the executives behind questionable corporate and legal strategies and the controversial appellate court judge Alex Koziniski. With compelling Michael Lewis style storytelling, Lobel shows that our current markets too often allow anticompetitive practices by the enforcement of draconian assignment contracts, NDAs, and covenant not to competes against employees and by overly expansive definitions of copyright, trademark and trade secrecy.

About Orly

Orly Lobel is the award winning author several books and numerous articles. She is a prolific speaker, commentators and scholar who travels the world with an impact on policy and industry. Her book Talent Wants to Be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids and Free Riding (Yale University Press 2013), is the winner of several prestigious awards, including Gold Medal Axiom Best Business Books 2014, Gold Medal Independent Publisher’s Award 2014, the 2015 Gold Medal of Next Generation Indie Books and Winner of the International Book Awards for Best Business Book. In 2016 Lobel was invited to Washington DC to present Talent Wants to be Free at the White House, a meeting which resulted in a presidential call for action.

Lobel is the author as well as two earlier books about employment and labor law and economics and numerous articles on behavioral law and economics, innovation policy, intellectual property, human capital, the sharing economy and the rise of the digital platform, regulation and governance. Lobel is the Don Weckstein Professor of Law and founding member of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Markets at the University of San Diego. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Lobel’s interdisciplinary research is published widely in the top journals in law, economics, and psychology. Lobel is currently writing a book about innovation battles and how policy has shaped the dynamics of competition and play in the toy industry forthcoming 2017.

Lobel’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Economist, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, The Sunday Times, Globe and Mail, Marketplace, Huffington Post, CNBC, and CNN Money. Her scholarship and research has received significant grants and awards, including from the ABA, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fulbright, and the Searle-Kauffman Foundation.

She is a member of the American Law Institute and served as a fellow at Harvard University Center for Ethics and the Professions, the Kennedy School of Government, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. She serves on the advisory boards of the San Diego Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society, the Employee Rights Center, and the Oxford Handbook on Governance.

A world traveler, Lobel has lectured at Yale, Harvard, University of California San Diego, University of San Diego and Tel Aviv University and is a frequent speaker at top research institutions, industry, and government forums throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. A celebrated author and scholar, Lobel’s writing has won several awards including the Thorsnes Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the Irving Oberman Memorial Award. In 2013, Lobel was named one of the 50 Sharpest Minds in Research by The Marker Magazine. Lobel lives in La Jolla, California, with her husband and three daughters.

Lobel is regularly interviewed featured in the nation’s leading media outlets, journals and radio, such as the New York Times, BusinessWeek, and NPR’s Marketplace. She is a sought after public speaker and is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review. Recently, she was invited to speak at leading associations and companies, such as Intel, Samsung, AlphaSights, ERE. Lobel is also active on Twitter and is a regular blogger. In May 2015, Lobel gave a fascinating TEDx talk entitled Secrets & Sparks about the expansion of secrecy and intellectual property in contemporary markets.

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by candersen at January 16, 2018 06:08 PM

January 12, 2018

John Palfrey
January 12 Community Letter

Today, I wrote to the Andover community with an update on new and ongoing initiatives to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.

My full message can be read online.

by jgpalfrey at January 12, 2018 08:27 PM

Jeffrey Schnapp
The 5 levels of Autonomy for Humans

Alongside our rethinking of Asimov’s Laws, the PFF team has also been actively engaged in rethinking SAE International’s “Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to On-Road Motor Vehicle Automated Driving Systems”: its six-level classification system to describe the levels of driver intervention and attention required to drive a vehicle. These extend from level 0 in which an automated system communicates with the driver without, however, assuming control of the vehicle, to level 5 in which no human intervention in involved.

The emphasis in this scale is on the gradual assumption of driver functions by the vehicle’s control and sensing systems within a setting that is assumed to be that of a highway or roadway. On might well call this “autonomy for machines” (or at least, machine intelligence). But what about the pedestrian realm: the realm of sidewalks, civic spaces, and walking-only streets that is essential to the fabric and quality of city life? What would such a scale look like if it were rewritten in the name of autonomy for humans? Here’s an answer, co-written with Greg Lynn (with help from Mitchell Weiss).

by jeffrey at January 12, 2018 07:22 PM

The 3 Laws of Human-Centered Robotics

Isaac Asimov’s 1950 classic I, Robot is remembered for many things, but especially for its formulation of the “Three Laws of Robotics”  (sometimes referred to as “Asimov’s Laws”). They run as follows:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

 
Asimov felt free to modify these “laws” in subsequent writings. Others did the same, re-writing them in the service of other ethical norms or standards of social responsibility. Whether in their initial form, or with additions or variants, they have endured and continued to shape the conversation regarding human-robot interaction.

The leadership team at Piaggio Fast Forward found itself thinking quite a bit about Asimov’s Laws as it set about developing Gita. Like its big brother Kilo, Gita is a functional and fun cargo droid designed to enable its human operator to move more, better, further, faster, more pleasurably, and more efficiently. It operates both indoors and outdoors, in either the “follow me” or autonomous mode. Whether you are a pedestrian lugging bags of groceries around the block; an office worker jogging to work; a delivery person transporting goods; or a utility worker who needs their hands to be free to perform useful tasks while trailing an intelligent toolbox, Gita is your movability helper, letting you walk or run instead of forcing you to drive.

  

Through vehicles like Gita, PFF promotes walkable, livable, and vibrant communities filled with enhanced transportation options that enrich the lives of everyone. It’s what my colleague Greg Lynn and I like to call granular urbanism: urbanism approached not on the scale of large structures and systems, but instead on the fine-grained, local scale of human locomotion, last mile deliveries, and everyday tasks that make up the fabric of everyday life.

It’s crucial to remember that the key thoroughfares for new vehicles types like Gita are likely to be sidewalks. And sidewalks are at once civic spaces and highways devoted to pedestrian use, built in harmony with human scales of motion, interaction, need, and use. So to envisage a future in which humans and robotic vehicles happily and productively co-exist in the public and private realms of the 21st century city means to think hard and long about how and why humans would decide to share their sidewalks with smart, networked, robotic agents. It’s not just a question of the potential harm that the latter could inflict, but also of the benefits that they could confer, particularly to portions of the population, like the disabled and the elderly, that have been poorly served.

It was within this framework that we set about drafting our own version of the Three Laws, informed by PFF’s human-centric approach to the design of robots.

by jeffrey at January 12, 2018 06:46 PM

January 11, 2018

Wayne Marshall
¡Antigua Vaina!

This mix amplifies the resonances between the music of 19th century composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk and the bedrock rhythm of reggaeton and a great deal of recent pop music — a/k/a, dembow. As much a tribute to Gottschalk’s faithful fantasias as to the numerous architects of dembow aesthetics, we hear in their juxtaposition how one particular Afrodiasporic beat has served as foundation for social music and dance across the Americas and across time. While it is tempting to interpret the recent ascent of dembow and other 3+3+2 “electronic tresillo” rhythms as part of a new wave of Afro-Caribbean influence on pop and club music, Gottschalk’s parlor proto-dembow of the mid-19th-century reveals this recent prominence as less a sea change than an old tide washing ashore once more — and, moreover, that the US is no exception in this pan-American history, no island unto itself.

This mix may be a novel confection, but the music here is more than a BRAND NEWWW NOW TING. It’s an ancestral wellspring. Not ¡NUEVA VAINA! but ¡ANTIGUA VAINA! — an ancient thing. Get hip already–

w&w, Louis Dembeau Gottschalk (¡Antigua Vaina!) [MP3 13:46 31mb]

tracklist:

Bamboula: Danse des Negres, Op. 2 (1849)
The Banjo (Grotesque Fantasie), Op. 15 (1854)
Ojos Criollos: Danse Cubaine, Op. 37 (1859)
Danza, Op. 33 (1857)
Souvenir de la Havane, Op. 39 (1859)
Souvenir de Porto Rico: Marche des Gibaros, Op. 31 (1860)
b/w “Panameña” (Colon/Lavoe, 1970)

Historical Context

170 years before “Despacito” made the dembow as ubiquitous as ever, an 18-year-old composer and piano virtuoso from New Orleans deployed the same Afro-duple rhythm to score a remarkable international hit of his own. Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s “Bamboula” took the Parisian salon scene by storm, and among others, Chopin sang his praises as the most impressive musician the United States had produced. Subtitled “Danse des Negres,” the composition was inspired by the songs and dances of Place Congo, or Congo Square, a public site where free and enslaved Africans would gather on Sundays to participate in a market and in collective singing and dancing. These gatherings began during French rule and continued for decades under the Spanish before New Orleans became US territory, and Place Congo remained a rare site where African and Afrodiasporic drumming and dancing were permitted even into the Anglo-American era.

Gottschalk’s oeuvre bears early witness to the popularity of certain Afrodiasporic rhythms that have become central to the entire world’s popular dance music. Fifty years before ragtime would popularize “syncopated” dance music and revolutionize the world of popular music and publishing, and 150 years before dancehall’s and reggaeton’s global pop insurgence, Gottschalk’s representations and “souvenirs” of the folk/dance music of New Orleans, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, et al., offer a wonderful sort of musical record — before audio recording was possible. In this sense, I’ve been using Gottschalk’s music in my classes to discuss the epistemological issues associated with recovering the musical past, and I like to compare him with the likes of Lomax, Gershwin, perhaps even a Diplo — as well as to Dvorak, Chopin, or Ellington for that matter.

His efforts were certainly received among his publics and contemporaries as of-a-piece with other attempts to use folk sources as the basis for art music. In some way, a composition like Bamboula is as close as we can get to hearing Congo Square — or at least echoes of the songs and rhythms that animated the dances there. The question of what Congo Square sounded like is what Ned Sublette, in The World That Made New Orleans, calls “the city’s great musical riddle” (121). It was in Sublette’s work, in fact, where I first began to learn about the significance of Gottschalk to American musical history (i.e., American in the broadest sense — not, as I joke with my students, the “greatest” sense). Incidentally, Sublette specifically invokes Gottschalk to discuss this great riddle. Allow me to quote Ned’s punchy prose at some length:

Congo Square occupies a central place in the popular memory and imagination of New Orleans. At the core of it is the city’s greatest musical riddle: what did it sound like? Since we don’t have recordings, we don’t exactly know. But we have some knowledge of the instruments that were played at Congo Square.

And I think I have a pretty good idea of at least one rhythm that was played there.

… It’s a simple figure that can generate a thousand dances all by itself, depending on what drums, registers, pitches, or tense rests you assign to which of the notes, what tempo you play it, and how much you polyrhythmacize it by laying other, compatible rhythmic figures on top of it. It’s the rhythm of the aria Bizet wrote for the cigarette-rolling Carmen to sing (though he lifted the melody from Basque composer Sebastián Yradier), and it’s the defining rhythm of reggaetón. You can hear it in the contemporary music of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico, to say nothing of the nineteenth-century Cuban contradanza. It’s Jelly Roll Morton’s oft-cited “Spanish tinge,” it’s the accompaniment figure to W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues,” and you’ll hear it from brass bands at a second line in New Orleans today. At half speed, with timpani or drum set, it was a signature rhythm of the Brill Building songwriters, and it was the basic template of clean-studio 1980s corporate rock. You could write it as a dotted eighth, sixteenth, and two eighths. If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, it’s the rhythm of the first four notes of the Dragnet theme. DOMM, DA DOM DOM.

It’s the rhythm the right hand repeats throughout “La Bamboula (Danse des Negres),” Op. 2, a piano piece composed in 1848 to international acclaim by the eighteen-year-old Domingan-descended New Orleanian piano prodigy Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1830-70). A stellar concert attraction of his time, and, in this writer’s opinion, the most important nineteenth-century U.S. composer, Gottschalk’s legacy is inexplicably neglected today in his home country. As a toddler, he lived briefly on Rampart Streetm about a half mile down from Congo Square, at a time when the dances were still active, and he would have, like other New Orleanians in the old part of town, been familiar with the sound of the square. Some have suggested that Gottschalk was not trying to evoke the sound of Congo Square literally in the piece. But I think Gottschalk was telling us something: when they danced the bamboula at Congo Square, they repeated that rhythm over and over, the way Gottschalk’s piano piece does, the way reggaetón does today–and over that rhythm, they sang songs everyone knew.

Frederick Starr identifies the basis for the main theme of Gottschalk’s “Bamboula” as a popular song of old Saint-Domingue, “Quan’ patate la cuite,” which Gottschalk learned from Sally, his black Domingan governess. Was Gottschalk, a programmatic composer, drawing a sound portrait of a dance at Congo Square? And might he be inadvertently telling us that the singing, drumming, and dancing circles put popular melodies into their own rhythms and style? (121-125)

Sounds a lot like reggaeton, dembow, and dancehall to me! And not just in conceptual terms — i.e., invoking familiar melodies over cherished rhythms. What is especially striking is that the rhythmic figures in question are, in essence, one and the same: that ol’ 3+3+2, especially in the form of a tresillo (A) or habanera / tango pattern (B) and/or as the slightly embellished, 5-strike form (C) that became a signature rhythm in ragtime (and appears in so many other styles since, including as a common 4th or 8th measure turnaround in reggaeton productions).

A:
B:
C:

Indeed, the words that may have underpin “Bamboula” as a Place Congo chant themselves appear to engender this 5-strike rhythm:

The word bamboula here, notably, sits at the crux of the dembow rhythm. You could imagine J Balvin saying it instead of “Beyoncé” or “C’est comme-ci … c’est comme-ça” or Wyclef subbing it in for “Bonita … Mi Casa” or Lionel Richie putting it in place of “Fiesta … Forever.” In other words, this figure’s been around, still underpins so much, and as such offers a wonderful way to counterpose seemingly disparate songs and styles.

And that’s how we arrive at this mix, at least conceptually. The technical aspects are another concern entirely. I’ll offer some discussion of those dimensions below for anyone who’d care to read further.

Technical Notes and General Poetics

I’ve sought to bring these two bodies of work — Gottschalk and dembow — together on each other’s terms as much as possible, honoring at once (while also inevitably violating) the aesthetic priorities of programmatic classical and reggae/ton.

Let’s talk about the violations first: in order to match up Gottschalk’s music with dembow loops, I have had to remove nearly all of the rubato elements — i.e., expressive tempo dynamics — from the performances of his work. I suppose I could have attempted to impose rubato effects on the drum loops, but I actually believe that the grooves that inspired Gottschalk were unlikely to feature as many timing variations as he builds into his compositions and his modern interpreters bring to bear on them — correctly so, given that many of these pieces invite such a capriccio treatment, leaving timing decisions to the whims of the performer. So I decided to “flatten” out this aspect of Gottschalk’s music, turning elastic tempos into entraining, locked-in dance grooves. (I also shifted the various tempi of his compositions so they all roll along at a rather reggaetony 100bpm.) This, of course, required meticulous, Ableton-abetted “warping” at the level of nearly every measure (and sometimes every beat), and it probably took up the largest chunk of time of any of the procedures involved in the production of this mix.

I have also, rather than honoring the full integrity of his composition, employed selective fragments of Gottschalk’s works — namely, the parts of his compositions that feature tresillo-style figures. This “sampling” strategy seems, to me, consistent both with reggae/ton practice and with Gottschalk’s own tendency toward a certain level of pastiche, quotation, and recontextualization.

Moreover, the drums here — that is, the dembow loops (including two of the most common “Dem Bow” pistas and a handful of Sly & Robbie loops, many titled “DembowLoop5,” etc.) — are as important and as prominent in the mix as the piano. This is a duet of sorts, and so I am necessarily bringing a strong reggae/ton presence to the proceedings, including the use of airhorns, sirens, winking samples, and other classic mixtape / DJ drops, as well as drums that punch aggressively through the texture.

On the other hand, I have attempted to honor and employ some of the affordances of classical music in the mix, and this includes manipulations of the dembow drum loops. For one, I have attempted to be mirror some of the intensity dynamics in Gottschalk’s music by lowering and raising the volume of the drums at appropriate times. More radically, I have chopped, layered, and rearranged the various drum loops to the point where they closely match and complement the rhythms of Gottschalk’s pieces. The drums in this mix sometimes sound less like loops than through-composed elements. In this sense, I am frequently following Gottschalk’s lead, even as I submit his music to a somewhat quantized groove.

While Gottschalk’s rhythmic vitality is what I’m mainly looking to harness and highlight here, the degree of melodic variation and harmonic transformation in his music offers a refreshing contrast to the more repetitive melodies and reduced harmonic structures of reggae and reggaeton. Notably, and usefully, Gottschalk often builds these variations in a manner that mirrors the additive and subtractive layering in a reggaeton track. This provides an opportunity to underscore, beyond their Afro-duple rhythms, other things these genres have in common despite the fair distance between them in terms of time and aesthetics.

Gottschalk’s works and reggaeton productions both tend toward clear demarcations of regular, sectional development. In reggaeton, this has tended to be marked with shifting snare samples, reflecting an earlier practice of swapping out favorite loops during maratón rap sessions. In the classical forms Gottschalk was working in — if often such permissive / vague forms as fantasie or caprice — we hear this approach more in terms of sectional melodic variation and harmonic development. Together in the mix, these parallels work strikingly well — as well, I think (and hope), as the fundamental rhythmic overlap that inspired this entire exercise.

Implications and Reflections

Formally speaking, Gottschalk favored fantasies and caprices, especially for his lively piano pieces, and I myself have made some capricious choices that I hope are in the spirit (both of Gottschalk and of reggae/ton). One of these involves bringing in an excerpt of Willie Colon’s and Hector Lavoe’s “Panameña” toward the end of the mix — a decision that posed substantial technical / aesthetic difficulties. (Because each piece takes a slightly different approach to re-harmonizing the song, I’ve settled on a slightly sour, “woozy chipmunk” attempt to make them mostly line up.)

Even though “Panameña” is in a different key than Gottschalk’s Souvenir de Porto Rico, I couldn’t resist putting them together as both cite the same Puerto Rican folk song, an aguinaldo often sung as “Si Me Dan Pasteles.” The reference appears in the montuno section of “Panameña” where it serves as a potent invocation of Puerto Rican identity amidst a broader message of pan-Latinidad. As Lavoe sings,

yo canto guajira
yo canto danzón

le canto un bolero
canto un guaguancó

pero no me olvido
del aguinaldo
pero nunca olvido
el aguinaldo

The sonero’s sentiments are affirmed as the chorus responds with a distinctively Boricua refrain, “lo le lo lay” — honoring Puerto Rican musical forms alongside the Cuban and pan-Latin forms that Lavoe cites.

One thing that I hope my mix does, which is one thing that I believe Gottschalk’s music does, is to extend this idea of the deep, audible, palpable connectedness of the Caribbean and Latin America — of the diaspora and the creolized New World — so that it also includes the United States, not as an outlier or an exception but as one node among many in a network, at once a source and a destination, a distinctive set of social and cultural contexts which are, nonetheless, enmeshed in hemispheric and trans-Atlantic connections.

Among other things, this mix is, then, a proposal that we hear the US’s own Afrodiasporic heritage as alongside and inextricable rather than exceptional — and inextricable because of the echoing legacies that are a consequence of slavery and the creole societies that follow in the wake.

This is, finally, simply, a souvenir, of Moreau and dembow both — for me and for anyone else with whom it resonates as something to think, sing, or even dance along with.

by wayneandwax at January 11, 2018 06:28 PM

January 10, 2018

Stuart Shieber - The Occasional Pamphlet
Four things I’ve learned

Four things that I’ve learned in some three decades as a student and professor at Harvard University:

  1. There are a lot of people at Harvard who are, like, really smart.
  2. Not everyone at Harvard is, like, really smart.
  3. The smart ones never say things like “I’m, like, really smart.”
  4. Instead, it becomes known by virtue of their saying things that are, actually, really smart.

by Stuart Shieber at January 10, 2018 08:24 PM

Berkman Center front page
Community-Owned Fiber Networks: Value Leaders in America

Pricing Review Shows They Provide Least-Expensive Local "Broadband"

Teaser

Our examination of advertised prices shows that community-owned fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in the United States generally charge less for entry-level broadband service than do competing private providers, and don’t use initial low “teaser” rates that sharply rise months later. 

Publication Date

10 Jan 2018

Thumbnail Image: 

by David Talbot, Kira Hessekiel, and Danielle Kehl

By one recent estimate, about 9.2 percent of Americans, or almost 30 million people, lack access to wired home broadband service, which the FCC defines as an Internet access connection providing speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Even where home broadband is available, high prices inhibit adoption; in one national survey, 33 percent of non-subscribers cited cost of service as the primary barrier. Municipally and other community-owned networks have been proposed as a driver of competition and resulting better service and prices.

We examined prices advertised by a subset of community-owned networks that use fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology. In late 2015 and 2016 we collected advertised prices for residential data plans offered by 40 community-owned (typically municipally-owned) FTTH networks. We then identified the least-expensive service that meets the federal definition of broadband (regardless of the exact speeds provided) and compared advertised prices to those of private competitors in the same markets. We were able to make comparisons in 27 communities and found that in 23 cases, the community-owned FTTH providers’ pricing was lower when the service costs and fees were averaged over four years. (Using a three year-average changed this fraction to 22 out of 27.) In the other 13 communities, comparisons were not possible, either because the private providers’ website terms of service deterred or prohibited data collection or because no competitor offered service that qualified as broadband. We also found that almost all community-owned FTTH networks offered prices that were clear and unchanging, whereas private ISPs typically charged initial low promotional or “teaser” rates that later sharply rose, usually after 12 months.

We made the incidental finding that Comcast advertised different prices and terms for the same service in different regions. We do not have enough information to draw conclusions about the impacts of these practices. In general, our ability to study broadband pricing was constrained by the lack of standardization in internet service offerings and a shortage of available data. 

Producer Intro

Authored by

by djones at January 10, 2018 04:15 PM

Justin Reich
A New Year's Perspective on Coding
Here are three important things to keep in mind as you envision and evaluate new ways to introduce your students to coding, computational thinking, and computer science.

by Douglas Kiang at January 10, 2018 02:53 PM

Feeds In This Planet