Publications

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.

(For additional writings and blog posts from Berkman community members and projects, which are not included in this series, see our aggregated community blog feed and our Medium collection)

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

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.

9 Nov 2017

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

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. We document that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Donald Trump’s agenda.

Authored by
  • Rob Faris
  • Hal Roberts
  • Bruce Etling
  • Nikki Bourassa
  • Ethan Zuckerman
  • Yochai Benkler

16 Aug 2017

On the Biomedical Elite: Inequality and Stasis in Scientific Knowledge Production

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).

11 Jul 2017

The Shifting Landscape of Global Internet Censorship

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.

Authored by
  • Justin Clark
  • Rob Faris
  • Ryan Morrison-Westphal
  • Helmi Noman
  • Casey Tilton
  • Jonathan Zittrain

29 Jun 2017

Analyzing Accessibility of Wikipedia Projects Around the World

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.

Authored by
  • Justin Clark
  • Rob Faris
  • Rebekah Heacock Jones

1 May 2017

Organization & Structure of Open Source Software Development Initiatives

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.

Authored by
  • Christopher Bavitz
  • Kira Hessekiel
  • Dalia Topelson Ritvo

22 Mar 2017

Open Data Privacy Playbook

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.

27 Feb 2017

Smart Grid Paybacks: The Chattanooga Example

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.

6 Feb 2017

Defining Hate Speech

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.

Authored by
  • Andy Sellars

8 Dec 2016

Grassroots Perspectives on Hate Speech, Race, and Inequality in Brazil and Colombia

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.

Authored by
  • Niousha Roshani

8 Dec 2016

Privacy and Open Data Research Briefing

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.

Authored by
  • Alexandra Wood
  • David O'Brien
  • Urs Gasser

26 Sep 2016

Networked Policy Making Avenues: Assessing the Role of Academics in Digital Policy

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.

Authored by
  • Amar Ashar
  • Rob Faris
  • Urs Gasser

26 Sep 2016

Hammering Square Pegs into Round Holes

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.’

15 Sep 2016

Culture Change and Digital Technology: The NYPD under Commissioner William Bratton, 2014-2016

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...

12 Sep 2016

Privacy and Student Data

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.

Authored by
  • Dalia Topelson Ritvo

29 Jun 2016

#IranVotes

Political Discourse on Iranian Twitter During the 2016 Parliamentary Elections

#IranVotes: Political Discourse on Iranian Twitter During the 2016 Parliamentary Elections” maps and analyzes the content and structure of the Iranian Twittersphere over the course of the 2016 legislative elections in order to identify the communities that developed around various political, social, and cultural issues and to assess the influence of online political campaigning on the platform.

Authored by
  • John Kelly
  • Rebekah Heacock Jones

22 Jun 2016

Public Opinion toward Internet Freedom in Asia: A Survey of Internet Users from 11 Jurisdictions

The purpose of the study is to understand the public opinion toward issues related to Internet freedom in Asia. This report provides a basic overview of the opinions and behaviors on a number of topics related to Internet freedom, including but not limited to Internet censorship and the adoption and use of circumvention, anonymization, and encryption tools.

Authored by
  • Fei Shen
  • Lokman Tsui

4 May 2016

Maximizing K-12 Fiber Connectivity Through E-Rate: An Overview

An evaluation of self-construction, dark fiber, and lit fiber options for school districts following recent enhancements to E-rate

This new toolkit provides school system leaders the guidance to understand and leverage the federal E-rate program, which provides up to $3.9 billion annually to subsidize the provision of high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries.  

14 Apr 2016

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