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Project

Privacy Initiatives

The Berkman Klein Center has long been home to a number of cross-disciplinary initiatives that investigate privacy and privacy-relevant questions in the digitally networked environment. We offer research, resources, teaching and learning materials, workshops, and other outputs focused on key privacy issues, aiming to pinpoint novel solutions to privacy problems that reconcile technological, legal, social, political, economic, and behavioral tensions and maximize capacity for innovative and effective uses of data and communications. More recent work in the privacy space includes the Youth and Online Privacy Initiative, the Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project, the Transparency Reporting Toolkit, and the Student Privacy Initiative.

Each of our efforts builds upon engagement with and outreach to diverse stakeholders for whom privacy questions are particularly relevant, including educators, policy makers, industry representatives, advocates, and other scholars. This interdisciplinary, multi-stakeholder model empowers our team to surface, identify, and analyze critical emerging questions and challenges, to support efforts to promote and preserve privacy rights, and to design and implement practical systems that allow research findings to benefit society.

Explore our YouTube page for a selection of talks, interviews, and discussions with academics, practitioners, journalists and others from some of our events and projects that touch on privacy opportunities and concerns.


Publications 20

Nov 1, 2018

Differential Privacy

A Primer for a Non-Technical Audience

This primer aims to provide a foundation that can guide future decisions when analyzing and sharing statistical data about individuals, informing individuals about the privacy… More

Oct 18, 2018

Is Privacy Privacy?

How have different technical and normative conceptions of privacy evolved? What are the practical challenges that these divergent approaches pose? More

Aug 21, 2018

Bridging the Gap between Computer Science and Legal Approaches to Privacy

A look at the gaps that exist between how privacy risks are conceptualized between the fields of law and computer science More

Mar 12, 2018

Practical Approaches to Big Data Privacy Over Time

This article analyzes how privacy risks multiply as large quantities of personal data are collected over longer periods of time. More

Dec 29, 2016

The Transparency Reporting Toolkit: Guide & Template

for Reporting on U.S. Government Requests for User Information

This guide provides a practical starting point for companies that want to create or improve their transparency reports. More

Sep 26, 2016

Student Privacy and Ed Tech (K-12) Research Briefing

This research briefing builds upon student privacy research and activities, and aims to translate these into practical take-aways.  More

Sep 26, 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… More

Sep 26, 2016

Privacy and Cybersecurity Research Briefing

This research briefing aims to translate findings from ongoing Berkman Klein Center privacy and cybersecurity research and activities into practical considerations and takeaways… More

Jun 29, 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… More

May 31, 2016

Towards a Modern Approach to Privacy-Aware Government Data Releases

Governments are under increasing pressure to promote transparency, accountability, and innovation by making the data they hold available to the public. Because the data often… More

Mar 31, 2016

Elements of a New Ethical Framework for Big Data Research

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce the publication of a new paper from the Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project team. In this paper, Effy Vayena, Urs Gasser,… More

Feb 16, 2016

Cloudy with a Conflict of Laws

How Cloud Computing Has Disrupted the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty System and Why It Matters

This paper describes how the fractal complexity of cloud computing’s physical geography has fractured the system of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) that arose during the… More

Feb 11, 2016

A Worldwide Survey of Encryption Products

In this paper, which is modeled on a similar effort in 1999 by researchers from George Washington University, Berkman Fellow Bruce Schneier and collaborator Kathleen Seidel… More

Feb 1, 2016

Don't Panic: Making Progress on the "Going Dark" Debate

This report from the Berkman Center's Berklett Cybersecurity Project offers a new perspective on the "going dark" debate from the discussion, debate, and analyses of an… More

Jan 12, 2016

Between Openness and Privacy in Genomics

In this report, which was published in PLOS Medicine, the authors examine the questions around access to genomic data. They argue that the real breakthrough in reconciling privacy… More

Jul 30, 2015

Student Privacy: The Next Frontier

Emerging & Future Privacy Issues in K-12 Learning Environments

Building off several prior working meetings which mapped and considered the implications of the new and rapidly evolving ecosystem of networked technology being used with… More

Mar 27, 2015

Integrating Approaches to Privacy Across the Research Lifecycle: When Is Information Purely Public?

This workshop report, the second in a series, identifies selected questions and explores issues around the meaning of “public” in the context of using data about individuals for… More

Dec 16, 2014

Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World

The Internet Monitor project's second annual report—Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World—is a collection of roughly three dozen short contributions that… More

Aug 3, 2014

Integrating Approaches to Privacy across the Research Lifecycle: Long-term Longitudinal Studies

This paper explores interdisciplinary approaches to privacy in long-term longitudinal studies of human subjects. Long-term longitudinal studies collect, at multiple points over a… More

Dec 11, 2013

Internet Monitor 2013

Reflections on the Digital World

Internet Monitor 2013: Reflections on the Digital World, the Internet Monitor project's first-ever annual report, is a collection of essays from roughly two dozen experts around… More


News 07

Harvard Law Today
Feb 20, 2019

Zittrain and Zuckerberg discuss encryption, ‘information fiduciaries’ and targeted advertisements

CEO visits with students from the University’s Techtopia program and Zittrain’s Internet and Society course

Should Facebook be considered an “information fiduciary” when it comes to the privacy of its clients? More

ITS Rio
Feb 5, 2019

Do Not Panic: Vigilance and Obscurantism now in Portuguese

Do Not Panic: Vigilance and Obscurantism is now available in Portuguese after translation by ITS Rio More

Royal Society
Aug 6, 2018

Is privacy privacy?

On the differing and evolving notions of privacy across normative and technical perspectives More

The Boston Globe
Jun 15, 2018

What Facebook can learn from academia about protecting privacy

The death of privacy is not inevitable. More

Jan 20, 2016

Privacy Tools Project submits comments on proposed revisions to the Common Rule

On January 6, 2016, members of the Privacy Tools for Sharing Research Data project submitted comments in response to the September 2015 notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the… More

Jun 24, 2015

Radio Berkman 220: Trusting the Platform

We are more and more comfortable engaging with and sharing our data with digital platforms — from Fitbit, to Facebook, to Wikipedia, to even our own schools and employers. But how… More

Jul 25, 2013

RB211: Bruce Schneier on Surveillance and Security

Bruce Schneier discusses the positives and perils of surveillance and privacy violation. More


Community 03

Just Security

A Legislative Shot at Internet of Things Security

A recently unveiled proposal for regulating the Internet of Things in the US falls short in some areas, but could make some significant strides towards advancing the status quo

Mar 19, 2019
Annals of Internal Medicine

Are Requirements to Deposit Data in Research Repositories Compatible With the GDPR?

The requirements of the GDPR are increasingly coming into conflict with the requirements of research communities

Feb 19, 2019
Silicon Republic

Inside the Harvard research hub chronicling our relationship with the internet

In this story featuring conversation with Senior Researcher David O'Brien, Ellen Tannam writes, "The Berkman Klein Center has been at the heart of the cyberspace conversation…

Sep 27, 2018

Events 07

Mar 5, 2019 @ 12:15 PM

Privacy’s Blueprint

The Battle to Control the Design of New Technologies

PODCAST & VIDEO: The dominant model for regulating privacy focuses on giving people control over their information and regulating data practices. This focus ignores the role that… More

Feb 19, 2019 @ 12:00 PM

The Smart Enough City

Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future

VIDEO & PODCAST: Why technology is not an end in itself, and how cities can be “smart enough,” using technology to promote democracy and equity. More

Dec 3, 2018 @ 3:30 PM

The State of Online Speech and Governance

Featuring Monika Bickert & Jonathan Zittrain in conversation

VIDEO & PODCAST: The State of Online Speech and Governance: Featuring Monika Bickert & Jonathan Zittrain in conversation More

Apr 3, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

The Right of Publicity

Privacy Reimagined for a Public World

Jennifer E. Rothman discusses her book, The Right of Publicity: Privacy Reimagined for a Public World (Harvard University Press 2018). She challenges the conventional story of the… More

Oct 27, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

National Security, Privacy, and the Rule of Law

Through a concrete hypothetical--ripped from tomorrow's headlines, if not today's--we explore the difficult decisions to be made around these issues, including actors from… More

Sep 29, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

How to Watch Them Watching You

Researching Social Media, Online Platforms, and Algorithmic Systems From the Outside

Join us at the University of Michigan for a discussion with Eric Gilbert, Cedric Langbort, Jeff Larson, Casey Pierce, and Christo Wilson on how researchers can navigate and… More

Nov 10, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

Bridging the gap between computer science and legal approaches to privacy

with Kobbi Nissim and Alexandra Wood

Can lawyers and computer scientists bridge their very different notions of privacy? More


People 10

Point of Contact

Team