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.
The Berkman Klein Center has established the premier series of scholarly publications on matters related to the Internet, law, and society, which is jointly published with the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Below is a selected list of these works, which includes scholarly papers as well as books, written by Berkman Klein faculty and fellows. To be notified when new reports are added to this list, sign up for our reports release email list.
Pricing Review Shows They Provide Least-Expensive Local "Broadband"
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.
The paper reviews current societal, moral, and legal norms around explanations, and then focuses on the different contexts under which an explanation is currently required under the law. It ultimately finds that, at least for now, AI systems can and should be held to a similar standard of explanation as humans currently are.
AI-based systems are “black boxes,” resulting in massive information asymmetries between the developers of such systems and consumers and policymakers. In order to bridge this information gap, this article proposes a conceptual framework for thinking about governance for AI.
This 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.
The municipally owned fiber-optic network of Ammon, Idaho provides one model for U.S. public entities and policymakers seeking to increase service competition and innovation.
Workshop Paper & Research Agenda
The Role of Telcos, ISPs, & Technology Companies in Expanding Global Internet Access
A Primer on the Proposed U.S.-U.K. Agreement
A brief primer on how cross-border data access requests currently work, options for reform, and major challenges to reform ahead
In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. We document that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Donald Trump’s agenda.
This collection of short essays and opinion pieces on harmful speech online covers a broad spectrum of thought and ideas from the Berkman Klein community.
In this report, we examine the relationship between commonly used metrics and funding levels for investigators funded by the National Institutes of Health, the largest public funder of biomedical research in the United States, in the years 1985-2015. We find that funding inequality has been rising since 1985, with a small segment of investigators and institutes getting an increasing proportion of funds, and that investigators who start in the top funding ranks tend to stay there (which results in stasis, or lack of mobility).
An Uptake in Communications Encryption Is Tempered by Increasing Pressure on Major Platform Providers; Governments Expand Content Restriction Tactics
Documenting the practice of Internet censorship around the world through empirical testing in 45 countries of the availability of 2,046 of the world’s most-trafficked and influential websites, plus additional country-specific websites.
This study, conducted by the Internet Monitor project, analyzes the scope of government-sponsored censorship of Wikimedia sites around the world. The study finds that, as of June 2016, China was likely censoring the Chinese language Wikipedia project, and Thailand and Uzbekistan were likely interfering intermittently with specific language projects of Wikipedia as well. The report features insights into the state of access to Wikipedia content in 15 select countries.
Challenges & Opportunities Concerning Corporate Formation, Nonprofit Status, & Governance for Open Source Projects
A collection of case studies and organizational models for those who manage and participate in open source development initiatives to actively think about the communities they hope to create.
Effective data governance is a prerequisite for successful open data programs. This report codifies responsible privacy-protective approaches and processes that could be adopted by cities and other government organizations that are publicly releasing data.
In this case study, the authors describe the municipal smart grid and fiber-to-the-home Internet access project in the town of Concord, Massachusetts, and quantify early paybacks on the town’s investments.
After building a fiber optic network throughout its service territory, the city-owned electric utility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2010 became the first U.S. company to offer fiber-to-the-home Internet access at speeds of 1 gigabit per second. The fiber also serves as the backbone of a sophisticated smart grid which modernized the utility’s electricity infrastructure. This report from the Municipal Fiber Initiative examines paybacks on the smart grid.
for Reporting on U.S. Government Requests for User Information
Policy Positions on SOPA/PIPA Before and After the Internet Blackout
In this paper, researchers investigate the role that public attention plays in determining the effect that campaign contributions funded by interests groups have on legislators’ policy positions.
This briefing paper outlines preliminary issues that we noted while conducting a detailed study of hate speech laws in India. It teases out some of the major concerns that arise in the context of both online and offline hate speech, especially speech as potential incitement to violence.
This paper offers reflections and observations on the state of research related to harmful speech online. The perspectives outlined here are grounded in the lessons from a year of exploratory work in the field by researchers at the Berkman Klein Center and collaborating researchers and institutions.
This essay seeks to review some of the various attempts to define hate speech, and pull from them a series of traits that can be used to frame hate speech with a higher degree of confidence. In so doing, it explores the tensions between hate speech and principles of freedom of expression, both in the abstract and as they are captured in existing definitions.
Through interviews with leaders of civil society organizations (CSOs) and a review of existing literature, this study discusses efforts and interventions that CSOs have employed to counter racial stigma faced by the collective population of Afro-descendant youth in an attempt to understand and examine signs of impact related to hate speech in Brazil and Colombia, distinct from existing overarching studies of online hate speech.
This research briefing aims to translate findings from ongoing Berkman Klein Center privacy and cybersecurity research and activities into practical considerations and takeaways for key stakeholders and decision-makers.
There are a growing number of examples that point toward a change in the way public policy is made in the digital age. This new context, which we refer to as networked policymaking, involves a greater variety of actors and voices, often collaborating in formal and informal networks, taking part in a public consideration and debate of policy questions via digital media.
This research briefing builds upon student privacy research and activities, and aims to translate these into practical take-aways.
This research briefing offers a snapshot of recent developments in the open data and privacy landscape, outlines an action map of various governance approaches to protecting privacy when releasing open data, and identifies key opportunities for decision-makers seeking to respond to challenges in this space.
The Geographical Scope of Application of the EU Right to be Delisted
In this paper, Michel Reymond explores the extraterritorial effects of the Google Spain decision rendered in May 2014 by the European Court of Justice. Through a methodology inspired by private international law, the author examines the geographical reach of the so-called ‘Right to be Forgotten,’ which is more correctly identified as a ‘Right to be Delisted.’
This white paper explores NYPD's adoption of Twitter and an ideation platform called IdeaScale that was aimed at allowing community members to nominate "quality of life" issues for resolution by the police. It examines the department's pivot to Facebook as an interactive communications platform following its experience with IdeaScale...
An Overview of Federal Laws Impacting Student Information Collected Through Networked Technologies
Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, has prepared this guide to provide a high-level overview of two of the major federal legal regimes that govern the privacy of children’s and students’ data in the United States: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.