Student research seminars (presentations)

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23 Everett St. Conference Rooms:

HLAB (Harvard Legal Aide Bureau) = 1st Floor Conference Room

Berkman Center = 2nd Floor Conference Room

PF (Petrie Flom) = 3rd Floor Conference Room


Other rooms (not at 23 Everett):

AE = Austin East Classroom


Tuesday 7/17

  • Faculty: Jonathan Zittrain
  • Student: Michael Zimmer
    • Title: The Quest for the Perfect Search Engine: Values, Technical Design, and the Flow of Personal Information in Spheres of Mobility
    • Description: My presentation will include a quick overview of my dissertation research, as well as the "value-conscious design" methodology I am attempting to apply in order to pragmatically engage with the web search engine industry. I will also outline the "next steps" of the work, and my hope is that attendees can help me identify new avenues of exploration and solve some of the methodological and philosophical gaps in the project.
    • Links:
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 1:15-2:00


  • Faculty: Jonathan Zittrain
  • Student: Erica Johnson
    • Title: The Impact of Political Blogs on the American Electoral System
    • Description: As a first-year doctoral student, I'm still exploring my research area: blogs as a form of media influencing American democracy. I'm hoping that my presentation will allow me to get feedback on how to narrow down my research question, what methodology(-ies) to use, and how to avoid the "beginning stages" pitfalls that many of you have already experienced.
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 2:00-2:45


  • Faculty: Marcus Foth
  • Student: Julia Ahrens
    • Title:Internet and everyday life in Australia and Germany
    • Description: I will give an overview of my dissertation project, concentrating on the findings. My thesis compares the home internet use of couples in Australia and Germany, two countries with a different stage of Internet diffusion and asks for the social impacts of the internet use on e.g. the household running, time issues, the relationship. One of my research question is: How has the Internet been integrated into everyday life at home? I hope to be able to get feedback on my project and discuss with you some of the things I am "wrestling" with.
    • Links:
  • Location: Berkman Conference Room
  • Time: 2:00-2:45


Wednesday 7/18


  • Faculty: Bill McGeveran and John Kelly
  • Student: Karen McCullagh
    • Title: What is private data?
    • Description: It is often said that we have a righ to a private life, yet what this means remains unclear. This presentation reports 3 Phases of research:

1) How does the concept of private data interplay with the concept of sensitive data?

2) In the blog era what is private data? Is the technology changing perceptions and expectations?

3) Would a definition of private data be useful? How should it be defined?

    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 3:15-4:00


  • Faculty: Steve Schifferes and Dan Gillmor
  • Student: Daisy Pignetti
    • Title: The Post-Hurricane Katrina Blogosphere and its Ability to Heal, Inspire Recovery, and Celebrate the Rebirth of New Orleans
    • Description: When local citizens “go global,” in a phenomenon some refer to as placeblogging, the whole world can read about (see images or watch videos of) someone’s daily life, and in post-Katrina New Orleans, those days are saturated with loss. Via the burgeoning New Orleans blogosphere, we can read these accounts of witnessing, reacting to, and dealing with that loss and, more importantly, answer their calls to action. My dissertation begins by exploring the breakdown of communication I personally experienced during Hurricane Katrina then goes on to offer examples of online spaces since created by native, displaced, and “naturalized” New Orleanians that have encouraged new ways of creating knowledge and inspiring activism. My presentation will focus on the preliminary data I have collected from an interactive interview where New Orleans bloggers and myself discuss our reasons for going public with our opinions and reflect upon how that writing continues to help us work through the natural and man-made disaster we experienced in August of 2005.
  • Links:
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 2:30-3:15


  • Faculty: Steve Schifferes and Dan Gillmor
  • Student: Serena Carpenter
    • Title: U.S. Online Citizen Journalism and Online Newspaper Stories: A Content Analysis of Their Quality and Value
    • Description: Anyone with access to the internet can hypothetically become a ‘journalist’ for they can easily publish news content themselves instead of consuming content created by traditional news organizations. This transition in power has challenged the definition of what is considered journalism and who should be classified as a journalist. This research addressed assumptions being made regarding the quality of content produced by online citizen journalists and online newspaper journalists. To explore whether online citizen journalists and online newspaper journalists were producing ‘journalism,’ this paper identified story elements that are considered important by journalism scholars and journalists so to better understand each publication's value to society via a quantitative content analysis.
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 3:15-4:00


  • Faculty: Judith Donath and John Clippinger
  • Student: Fred Stutzman
    • Title: Social Technologies and Ongoing Relationship Management
    • Description: In this talk I will seek feedback on the potential framework of my dissertation. I am interested in the role social technologies play in the management of real-world social networks, particularly in the management of real world social networks in periods of transition.
    • Links: Vitae
  • Location: HLAB Conference Room
  • Time: 2:30-3:15


  • Faculty: Judith Donath and John Clippinger
  • Student: Karina Fitch
    • Title: Blogging in Russia is not Russian Blogging
    • Description: I'd like to get your input on my constantly evolving dissertation topic - how to proceed, methodology etc. I'll start with an overview of a current article on the American blogging site LiveJournal, its popularity among Russians, and the issues of censorship/communicative freedom and transnational identity that were raised by a recent licensing deal between LJ and a Russian company.
    • Links: SLIDES section from wiki home page or http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/sdp2007/Slides
  • Location: HLAB Conference Room
  • Time: 3:15-4:00


Thursday 7/19

  • Faculty: Brian Fitzgerald
  • Student: Lorraine Kisselburgh
    • Title: The social structure and discursive construction of privacy
    • Description: Westin (1967) identified four states of individual privacy: solitude, intimacy, anonymity, and reserve. Yet privacy is often framed in the context of secrecy and seclusion, a distinctly anti-social interpretation. In contrast, Westin and cohorts construe privacy as regulation of access to information about one’s self (Altman & Taylor, 1973; Petronio, 2002; Westin, 1967), a matter of agency and autonomy, but not social isolation. The aim of this (dissertation) research project is to examine the influence of privacy preferences on the social structure of networked communities (using social networking analysis), and enhance our understanding of the current meanings of privacy by examining contemporary discursive constructions of privacy. I begin, first, with a reconceptualization of privacy grounded in communication theory. Next, I discuss two studies I have proposed to study the discursive construction and social structure of privacy. I am seeking both conceptual suggestions as well as feedback on some methodological issues of these studies.
    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 3:00-3:45


  • Faculty: Brian Fitzgerald
  • Student: Ben Peters
    • Title: A Perestroika of Piracy: Toward a Comparative History of Copyright in Ukraine and Russia
    • Description: A scattering of thought on my recent attempts to address a lacuna in the critical English-language scholarship on copyright and the motivations for intellectual piracy in independent Ukraine and post-Soviet Russia. The US government actively imposes $75 million in trade sanctions upon Ukraine and WTO membership restrictions upon Russia for flagrant copyright violations. Yet no one seems to be writing (yet, myself included) on why some people pirate while others do not, or how these explanations differ by person and nation, culture and history. I hope to ask how an enriched understanding of cultural practice and context may help rethink and inform future cultural policies of copyright in hopes of developing a more history-informed understanding of the changing relationships among creative cultures, transition economies, and Ukrainian, Russian, and American societies. Teaser tidbits: what may Soviet resource stripping, Kazakh nomads, Gogol (or, if we must, Google), or Tetris have to do with our understanding of property?
    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 3:45-4:30


  • Faculty: David Weinberger and Wendy Seltzer
  • Student: Alla Zollers
    • Title: Emerging Motivations for Social Tagging
    • Description: In this presentation, I would like to look at the "social" aspects of social tagging. As more websites which were not originally designed for the storage and retrieval of personal resources - such as commercial, news, audio, and video websites - incorporate tagging into their systems, increasingly social motivations for tagging tend to emerge. In my preliminary survey of free-for-all tagging websites such as Amazon.com, Last.fm, and Slashdot.org, I have found the following social motivations for tagging: opinion expression, conversation, performance, and activism. For my dissertation I am hoping to utilize a mixed methods approach to identify the motivations for tagging, which includes user studies as well as social network analysis.
    • Links: Paper I wrote for the WWW07 workshop on emerging motivations for tagging paper
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 3:00-3:45


  • Faculty: David Weinberger and Wendy Seltzer
  • Student: Mena Ning Wang
    • Title: Impression management for the collective self -- conformity in web-based online fora
    • Description: This research endeavor emerges from the seemingly conflict between the existing literature about social influence in anonymous CMC and my own experience as an Internet user who participate in web based online discussion intensively. CMC is defined by many as a deindividuating condition in which one has depersonalized perceptions of self and other, perceives self as more similar to other in-groups and more different from other out-groups, and therefore is more susceptible to normative influence from in-groups. Out of my personal experience, I would say that my private self-awareness as an individual is quite strong while engaging in online discussions and I don’t feel a depersonalized perception of self. But on the other hand, I am well aware of the depersonalized perceptions others have of me, that is to say, I am perceived and evaluated as a member of certain group and the group I belong is made accountable for my IDs’ online behavior. Therefore, I want to raise the hypothesis that under certain CMC context, conformity level is higher when interacting with strangers than with in-groups for the purpose of impression management as a collective self. The method that I propose to use is 1) field-work experiment where variables are observed rather than manipulated and 2) online experiment.
    • Links:
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 3:45-4:30


  • Faculty: Phil Malone and Helen Margetts
  • Student: Seok-Jin Eom
    • Title: Building the New e-Government
    • Description: In this presentation, I would like to examine what factors made the different outcomes and performances of e-goverment. Focusing on the roles of consultant in private sector and the institutional arrangement through which their policy ideas and knowledge came into government and were fortified and spread, the Federal Enterprise Archietecture initiative in the U.S. federal government will be anlyzed.
    • Links:
  • Location: HLAB Conference Room
  • Time: 3:00-3:45


  • Faculty: Phil Malone and Helen Margetts
  • Student: Maria Gomez Rodriguez
    • Title: Ex ante or ex post Control: Net Neutrality in Europe
    • Description: In 2009-2010, the European communications framework will be modified, so that I would like to analyze the different possibilities to approach the control over access and over Internet service providers in Europe, mainly: (i) regulation and (ii) antitrust. The EU communications framework has been a solid base to implement regulation in the member States, however the real implementation of the framework has been dysfunctional, long and, in some cases, not correctly harmonized. The Internet and the telecommunication networks are essential facilities, thus antitrust authorities have jurisdiction to dictate measures to solve any abuse of these essential facilities. Therefore the net neutrality debate in Europe it can be constructed as a continuation of the European broadband jurisprudence, avoiding the problems telecommunication regulation has carried.
    • Links:
      • Tomorrow´s Framework [4]
  • Location: HLAB Conference Room
  • Time: 3:45-4:30


Monday 7/23

  • Faculty: Ralph Schroeder
  • Student: Ralph Lengler
    • Title: The impact of co-creation eliciting visuals on persuasion and meaning creation. The role of web 2.0 voting and annotation mechanisms as a possible facilitator in meaning creation processes.
    • Description: In this session I will first briefly show some of my works, namely our e-learning-project visual-literacy.org [5] with the periodic table [6] and the VizHall peer learning tool. If there's interest, I will gladly also show you one or two of my short-films as illustrative examples for the main section.
    • My main focus for the rest of the session will be on co-creation eliciting visual rhetorical figures, e.g. visual metaphors and how to research it. (Visual) rhetorical figures elicit a mental collaboration from the beholder (viewer) in the meaning creation process of persuasive messages. This research will be conducted via a triangulated methodology of a) re-analysis of market research data (quantitative), b) action-research oriented experimental methods, c) replication with neuroscientific imaging.
    • Links: Collected links on del.icio.us [7] and visual rhetorics working paper [8]
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 1:30-2:15


  • Faculty: Ralph Schroeder
  • Student: Karoline Lukaschek
    • Title: Imagined communities in cyberscape
    • Description: In this talk, I would like to show that the term "imagined communities" can be transferred to communities in cyberspace. Furthermore, I introduce "cyberscape" as a new building block of imagined worlds.
    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 2:15-3:00


  • Faculty: Lewis Hyde and Wendy Seltzer
  • Student: Peter Ryan
    • Title: Narrative Networks: How literary fiction affects ICT R&D culture
    • Description: In this session, I will first begin with five minutes of public relations for the Infoscape Lab at Ryerson University, and offer a description of our research tools for analyzing Canadian federal politics on-line. I have one particular question from this research that I would like to ask: how have people operationalized a statistically valid sample of blogs to track the investigation of politics that will please empirical researchers? Or, can we only at best be political climate forecasters doing on-line blog research?
    • My main focus for the rest of this session will be on my dissertation research topic: how literary fiction affects information and communication technology (ICT) research and development (R&D) culture. The research is conducted via a triangulated methodology of textual analysis, social networking visualization, and interviews and surveys with writers of literary fiction and ICT R&D professionals. My research has implications for North American “creative class” policy and intellectual property initiatives, and I will be asking the legal-minded of us for good examples of North American cases concerning e-publishing and ICT innovation.
    • If people have questions about sample size, survey design and implementation, or ethnography, then I would be glad to discuss these topics during this session as well.
    • Links: The Infoscape Lab [9] and dissertation survey on-line [10]
  • Location: Berkman Conference Room
  • Time: 1:30-2:15


  • Faculty: Lewis Hyde and Wendy Seltzer
  • Student: Balazs Bodo
    • Title:
    • Description:
    • Links:
  • Location: Berkman Conference Room
  • Time: 2:15-3:00

Tuesday 7/24

  • Faculty: Mike Best
  • Student: Benjamin Addom
    • Title: Network or Divide: Building Community Knowledge Infrastructure through E-Agriculture
    • Description: This is a proposal for a theory-driven Evaluation Research using Fourth Generation Evaluation Framework (FGE). The history of agricultural development reveals that agricultural technologies over the years have been bought, borrowed, or stolen and therefore should not necessarily be domestic. The model of diffusion of innovation especially has been applied in the transfer of these technologies to developing countries. TEEAL and AGORA are two initiatives that are transferring scientific knowledge from the North to the South. The proposed research tries to explore or assess or evaluate the merit of the initiative to the primary users (researchers, students and policy makers) and its worth to the secondary users (farmers) in Ghana. The concept of global and local knowledge, theory of absorptive capacity of “community”, community ties theory, and the technique of social network analysis are being proposed.
    • Links: FGE: http://www.wmich.edu/evalctr/checklists/constructivisteval.htm; TEEAL: http://www.teeal.org/; AGORA: http://www.aginternetwork.org/en/
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 2:30-3:15


  • Faculty: Mike Best
  • Student: Ismael Peña-López
    • Title: Unpeeling the layers of the digital divide: category thresholds and relationships within composite indices
    • Description: The goal of this research is to add reflection and knowledge to the belief that there is an important lack of tools to measure the development of the Information Society, specially addressed to policy makers aiming to foster digital development. We believe there is still an unexplored point of view in measuring the Information Society which goes from inside-out instead of outside-in. In other words, the main indices and/or reports focus either in technology penetration or in the general snapshot of the Information Society "as is". There is, notwithstanding, a third approach that would deal with working only with digital-related indicators and indices, thus including some aspects not taken into account by the technology penetration approach (i.e. informational literacy), and putting aside some "real economy" or "analogue society" indicators not strictly related to the digital paradigm. Relationships between subindices would also provide interesting insight for policy makers on which to ground the design of their initiatives.
    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 3:15-4:00


  • Faculty: Ethan Zuckerman
  • Student: Veronica Alfaro
    • Title: "“Action and Social Movements in the Virtual Public Sphere: the case of the Electronic Disturbance Theater”"
    • Description: In 1994, the Zapatista rebellion (in Chiapas, Mexico) became a public spectacle, a media event. Internet-based communications became fundamental fighting tools for the movement, as actions of support were orchestrated around the world, mediated through cyberspace.

In 1997, a group of activists known as the Electronic Disturbance Theater, developed a new kind of contentious activity: the virtual sit-in, an action of electronic civil disobedience that took place entirely in cyberspace. Since then, other movements have appropriated this virtual contentious repertoire to voice a variety of protests around the globe. This project is located between the macro sociological and the micro-individual studies, in the space of communities of practice that use technology as a tool and cyberspace as a space to construct meaningful social links. My research is devoted to communities that use the Internet as a tool for doing politics –the movements that use cyberspace as an agora, a virtual public sphere, and a field of struggle. Focusing on social movements, I critically analyze the virtual practices of Electronic Civil Disobedience (hacktivism, netwar, noopolitiks), through the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT).


  • Faculty: Ethan Zuckerman
  • Student: Joseph Wafula
    • Title:Kenya ICT Regulations Review and Analysis
    • Description:
    • There is a shift in public policy away from state ownership and state responsibility for the provision of services towards private ownership and private provision with enhanced state regulation. The three fundamental challenges faced by most regulatory bodies are namely: capacity, incentives and obtaining the necessary information in order to regulate effectively. An analysis of Kenya’s ICT regulation and the necessary reform proposals are presented. An attempt is made to stimulate debate on the extent to which the attributes of ‘good’ regulation can be realistically achieved in Kenya. This paper proposes application of a Regulatory Impact Assessment tool from the work of Malathy (2005) as a solution to the problem of obtaining the necessary information in order to regulate effectively. Malathy (2005) broadly defines RIA as “…an information-based analytical approach to assess probable costs, consequences, and side effects of planned policy instruments (laws, regulations, etc.)…[and] to evaluate the real costs and consequences of policy instruments after they have been implemented……a means to inform government choices: choices about policy instruments, about the design of a specific instrument, or about the need to change or discontinue an existing instrument.” There is a need for subjecting the Kenya ICT regulations to greater scrutiny than in the past in order to enhance the quality of public decision-making. The search for an appropriate regulatory impact assessment tool remains.


  • Faculty: Marcus Foth
  • Student: Adam Fiser
    • Title: Kuh-Ke-Nah (K-Net) means Everyone Together?
    • Description: A study of the development and control of a First Nations broadband network to assess the viability of a community-based model for ICT deployment in High Cost Serving Areas.
    • Links: http://knet.ca
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 2:30-3:15


  • Faculty: Marcus Foth
  • Student: Monica Barbovschi
    • Title: Risks and Effects of Internet Use among Children and Teenagers. Setting the basis for a multiple scientific approach
    • Description: The idea that the new communication technologies are able to give birth to new social practices has stirred up multiple controversies and side takings radically opposed. The tendencies in the recent evolution of CMC forms have led to the rejection of a rigid and strict technological determinism, although their influence on individual behavior / action and on some distinct social-demographic categories raises numerous problems in nowadays Romania. The present study proposes an inventory of types of Internet uses, with emphasis on youth behavior, one category that most certainly presents specific problems and risks. A number of theories will be the starting point of joint research approaches (sociology, social work, quantitative, qualitative), aiming to construct pertinent typologies of Internet use, but also a prevention model for the phenomenon of online victimization.
    • Links:
  • Location: AE
  • Time: 3:15-4:00

Wednesday 7/25

  • Faculty: Karim Lakhani
  • Student: Rachel Cobcroft
    • Title: Cultivating the Commons on Flickr.com: Community 2.0
    • Description: In his consideration of Verkeersbordvrij, Jonathan Zittrain poses the challenge of identifying the technical tools and social structures that inspire people to act humanely online. This presentation engages with the notions of philanthropy and gift giving in virtual communities, seeking to understand the factors that motivate members of Flickr.com to share their images under Creative Commons licensing. It seeks to identify the tipping point at which an individual’s focus is turned from their own ‘life blog’ towards participation in an online community, aspiring to collaborative, commons-based peer production. Investigating frameworks of P2P and integral theory and employing the methods of virtual ethnography, this research explores the way in which the wisdom of the crowd may be harnessed ethically and sustainedly, pointing towards best practice business models for web 2.0.
    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 1:15-2:00



  • Faculty: Karim Lakhani
  • Student: Cindy Shen
    • Title: The Social Structure of Open Source Developer Community
    • Description:

Two metaphors– “the cathedral and the bazaar” – are widely used to characterize the organizational structure of the development model of commercial software and that of OSS. While “cathedral” represents rigid hierarchy and centralized control, the “bazaar” model of OSS represents an egalitarian network of developers free of hierarchical structure. Powerful as they are, these two metaphors may help to spread a rather stylized image of the OSS. Empirical studies of OSS show highly skewed distribution and power law relationships of project sizes, project membership, and cluster sizes of the OSS community, but the underlying mechanisms of those power law relationships remain under explored.

This on-going project extends knowledge on OSS by empirically examining the social structure of the OSS community and the mechanisms of the developer network formation. Two research questions are asked: 1) To what extent is OSS community hierarchical? 2) What attributes of the developers are associated with network structure? A developer network was extracted from the SourceForge.net data archive, in which nodes represent developers and links are defined as co-participation in the same projects. In the presentation I will show some preliminary results from p* network analysis, and also plans for future research.

    • Links:
      • Working Paper [11]
      • Presentation at the 27th Sunbelt Social Network Conference [12]
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 2:00-2:45


  • Faculty: Urs Gasser
  • Student: Jaz Hee-Jeong Choi
    • Title: Being Mobile in Fantasy Reality: Trans-youth Mobile Culture in Korea
    • Description: The university entrance exam is a rite of passage for many young people in South Korea. This is the time when rigidity of their realities loosens and they are temporarily emancipated from the traditional trait of collective belonging. This is a social break when they are allowed to play in between “reality” and “fantasy.” The evolution of the mobile phone adds an interesting dimension to this, as the phone becomes an “extended limb” that is multi-functional and inter-operable. The fact that South Korea is one of the most technology-saturated countries in the world further intensifies the complexity of the situation. Given this context, this study explores the mobile play culture of urban youth in this time of in-between, whom I call trans-youth. Firstly, an extensive literature review will map out the existing techno-social environment on a macro-level. Secondly, the semi-structured interview and ethnographic observation will jointly present a microscopic empirical view on the culture of mobile play. Finally, an illustrative case study of a mobile media application will epitomise techno-social innovation as a result of cyclical creative interplay. Through this three-tier multi-disciplinary approach, the study will explore the mobile play culture of trans-youths, and implications of that culture for technological, socio-cultural, and media domains.
    • Links:
  • Location: Berkman Conference Room
  • Time: 1:15-2:00


  • Faculty: Urs Gasser
  • Student: Rebecca Herr Stephenson
    • Title: Mischief Managed: Developing Media Literacy through Fan Production in the Harry Potter Fandom
    • Description: Despite ongoing public debate over the content of the books and a history of conflict with the copyright holders, the Harry Potter fandom continues to grow as new generations of readers discover the series. Participation in this type of community facilitates the development of an emergent form of media literacy steeped in amateur culture and the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic. Particularly for children and teens, fan production is a unique opportunity to develop the skills and dispositions essential to understanding and navigating a complex and dynamic media environment. Focusing on the cultivation of media literacy through one particular type of production—podcasting—this paper investigates how consumption and production practices operate within the Harry Potter fandom and what young people learn through fan production. In addition, the paper raises questions about the costs and/or barriers to access youth face as participants in amateur culture.
    • Links:
  • Location: Berkman Conference Room
  • Time: 2:00-2:45

Thursday 7/26

  • Faculty: Jonathan Zittrain
  • Student: Daithí Mac Síthigh
    • Title: Legal (and non-legal) approaches: the regulation of "web media"
    • Description: In this seminar, I discuss my ongoing research topic on how media/brodcasting law is changed - or changes - in relation to new, Internet-based media. While this is not a new issue for scholars of the media or freedom of expression, the current 'transition period' is certainly a fertile one for the researcher. Acknowledging the range of recent publications and studies dealing with the US, I focus on the treatment of new media in Canada and the European Union. In this presentation, the relevant legislation, regulations and proposals for reform are discussed, and a range of theoretical approaches are highlighted; I touch on the role of technological determinism in the reformers' strategies, and note my ongoing engagement with the work of Harold Innis and its relevance to contemporary debates. I conclude with some general observations and questions on the challenges presented by this particular project.
    • Slides: http://www.lexferenda.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/macsithigh-sdp-slides.pdf
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 3:00-3:45


  • Faculty: Jonathan Zittrain
  • Student: Chintin Viashnav
    • Title: The End of Core: should disruptive innovation in telecom invoke discontinuous regulatory response?
    • Description: In a highly abstracted conceptualization, both the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the Internet consist of two components: the end-devices and the network that connects them. Traditional telecommunications regulation has assumed the presence of a network core that could be engineered to fulfill regulatory goals as well as a vertically-integrated industry structure that could meet regulatory obligations. In my dissertation, I propose to take the case of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the technology that enables voice communications over the Internet, and argue that disruptive trends in technology are eroding the control in the core that was traditionally possessed by network designers and owners. This eroding control in the core has the potential to render the current VoIP regulation inadequate and unsustainable, requiring that future regulatory response be discontinuous from that of the past. This study uses a system dynamics model to study the dynamic complexity surrounding the current VoIP regulation and to understand policy options for preventing undesirable outcomes. The model consists of four sectors: the consumer adoption sector for modeling demand, the industry structure sector for modeling supply, the regulatory compliance sector for modeling the level of compliance, and the innovation sector for modeling innovation trends.
    • Links:
  • Location: PF Conference Room
  • Time: 3.45-4:30


  • Faculty: Urs Gasser
  • Student: Sampsung Xiaoxiang Shi
    • Title: Copyright Law, Peer Production and the Citizen Media Age -an Old Regime in a New World
    • Description:

Copyright regime is commercial culture born and commercial culture bred, which has dominated how information and knowledge are produced, exchanged and consumed in the past centuries in the western commercial world. In the context of commercial culture, creativity and innovation are based on market and led by popular taste of the public. Encompassed by such a copyright legal framework, creative works generated by creators are marketed as products and property of media entrepreneurs.

The advent of the Internet triggered vigorous debates on whether copyright system could survive in the new digital environment, particular as the copying and distributing of copyrighted works was extremely effective and uncontrollable. In the age of “selling water without bottles”, John Perry Barlow argued: “almost everything we think we know about intellectual property is wrong”. Notwithstanding the foregoing doubts, in light of the successful cases brought by the major US-based entertainment companies against individuals and companies who uploaded copyrighted music files to the Internet or who facilitated the online distribution of such unauthorized works, as well as the subsequent legislations , “the resilience of copyright law in the digital online environment is now established”. It can be said that copyright regime successfully confronted this challenge brought about by the information technology (Technological Challenge).

However, recent years have witnessed another wave of tests, determining the vitality of this regime. They are presented by peer production, collaborative creativity and social networks which are spawned in the We-Media (Citizen Media) and interactive information environment. It is a new world, characterized by non-commercial culture and non-market based/ user-led innovation (Interactiveness Challenge). This article will examine to what extent the current copyright regime has been challenged by the power of the We-Media, and propose solutions.

  • Links:

The Chinese pop song: I don't want to say (by Yang Yuying),[13]

The parody song: I don't want to say I'm a chicken, [14]

  • Location: Berkman Conference Room
  • Time: 3:00-3:45


  • Faculty: Urs Gasser
  • Student: Joris van Hoboken
    • Title: Search Engine Freedom and Search Engine Accountability: Three Extreme Perspectives on Freedom of Expression in the Context of Web Search.
    • Description:

In my seminar I want to present the group three different perspectives on the application of freedom of expression to web search engines. In see the freedom of expression perspective as crucial to a better understanding of search engine governance. My goal is to get a reaction on the three perspetives, underying ideas and arguments. I will focus on conceptual issues and go into the legal context in a way that is accessible for the non-legal listener.

First I will give some examples of the relevance of the right to freedom of expression for search engines, search engine law and governance. Then I will say what my research question is, and give an current outline of my thesis. The remainder I will use for the three perspectives one could take on freedom of expression and search engines. I have made them extreme to show the tensions between the "freedom of expression interests" of the three parties involved in the context of web search. The online speaker, the online user and the search engine.