Skip to the main content
Past Project

Publius Project

This project brings together a distinguished collection of Internet observers, scholars, innovators, entrepreneurs, activists, technologists and still other experts, to write short essays, to foster an on-going public dialogue, and to create a durable record of how the rules of cyberspace are being formed, potentially impacting their future incarnation. We take our inspiration from the Publius authors, but our goal is to highlight a variety of perspectives on this evolutionary process, rather than to sway popular opinion towards a particular policy end. The early American context and perspective is supplanted by our modern, global and diverse experience. The notion of a singular constitutional moment is replaced with a vision of multiple forces shaping the structures that both open and constrict the online space, requiring our active attention and engagement. Participants will be asked to reflect on the various elements of this loosely-joined architecture.

This collection will highlight asynchronous moments occurring in high profile settings and at the edges of cyberspace that link to formulate the norms and realities of decision-making on the web. Through this series of essays, we hope to generate a discussion among global stakeholders and netizens regarding rule-making and governance on the net, and in the process, to envision the net of the future. We will cast fundamental questions that will intrigue both experts and laypeople, by asking who should (or shouldn’t) control cyberspace? Can it be governed? Who decides?

Through this process, we will consider how best to protect our common resources, how to balance individual freedoms with community rights, public action with private activity, national security with personal expression, intellectual property protections with open access. In echoing historical dilemmas, we will ask how cyberspace stimulates innovative thinking regarding authority and rules and how those ideas might shape the future “constitutions” of the net. It will be a thought-provoking and illuminating journey, and we very much hope that you will join us.

Support for this project was provided by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. 

Our Work 17

Oct 22, 2009

Amicus: Net-based scholarship on civil rights and civil liberties

Via John Palfrey: In the spirit of Open Access week and otherwise, Harvard's Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review is today launching a new online publication, Amicus...

May 1, 2009

Open Translation Tools 2009

"the polyglot Internet"

Via Open Education News: "Open Translation Tools 2009 will be held from 22 to 24 June, in Amsterdam...The event will be followed by an Open Translation 'Book Sprint' which will…

Apr 20, 2009

Publius: new essay on "Realising the Value of Public information"

For the Publius project, Professor Richard Susskind, IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, has written a timely essay, sounding out the future of public…

Feb 13, 2009

Publius gets a makeover!

Publius--the project that brings together a distinguished collection of Internet luminaries to write short essays, foster a public dialogue, and create a durable record of how the…

Dec 10, 2008

Publius: new essays on the Internet and politics

The Publius project has launched a new cluster of essays on "Internet and Politics 2008: Moving People, Moving Ideas," including a working hypothesis and responses that evaluate…

Nov 3, 2008

US presidential campaign & election '08

We've assembled a sampling of recent Internet and politics-related activities and writings from the Berkman community...

Oct 23, 2008

Voter deception 2.0

With less than two weeks remaining before the US presidential election, the Publius project has released a timely essay on the danger of vote suppression tactics potentially…

Oct 9, 2008 @ 7:00 PM

The Uncertain Internet: Core Net Values for the [TBD] Administration

Jonathan Zittrain (Professor, Harvard Law School), Susan Crawford (Professor, University of Michigan Law School), Rich Miner (Mobile Platforms, Google; co-Founder of Android) and Alec Ross (Tech Policy Advisor to Obama)

Now is a critical moment for defining and reinforcing the best features of our communications platforms. What do we value about the internet and what should be the focus of the…

Jul 18, 2008

Thinking through section 201 of the Global Online Freedom Act

Over on the Future of the Internet blog, Berkman summer intern Brendan Ballou takes a look at the Global Online Freedom Act being considered by Congress...

Jul 8, 2008

Rebooting America: Ideas for Resdesigning American Democracy for the Internet Age

Personal Democracy Forum has released Rebooting America, including essays from Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Gene Koo, David Weinberger, and many more.

Jun 20, 2008

Supernova's Publius Panel

On Tuesday, we hosted a lively session on the Publius Project at Supernova. The conversation was a great fit for this year’s theme, “Challenges for the Network Age”...

Jun 17, 2008

Beyond Broadcast and Supernova, conversations coast to coast

Berkman Fellows and friends are bookending the U.S.A. for two great conferences today - Beyond Broadcast in Washington D.C. and Supernova in San Francisco.

Jun 16, 2008

New Publius essays!

the Open Access conversation continues, plus a look at net neutrality and the right to communicate

John Willinsky, Jean-Claude Guedon, and Daithí Mac Síthigh respond to current Publius essays...

Jun 9, 2008

Publius: Suber and Hagemann on open access, Pignetti on Lessons in Literacy from the NOLA Blogosphere

The Publius project, launched in conjunction with Berkman@10, published three new essays last week.

May 16, 2008

Publius: fourth batch of essays now live

Our newly launched Publius project has been rolling out batches of essays all week in conjunction with Berkman@10. Today, a final batch for the week that parallels some of the…

May 14, 2008

Publius: more on "Tacit Governance"

As promised, we are pleased to announce the continuation of our Publius conversation on Rules and Governance with new pieces by David Johnson, JP Rangaswami, Wendy Seltzer, and…

May 13, 2008

Launching Publius: first essays now live!

As part of the lead up to our Berkman@10 conference and gala (this Thursday and Friday!), we are pleased to announce the launch of a new project: Publius. Publius brings together…