Skip to the main content

The Law of Cyberspace: Social Protocols - Fall 1998

MIT 6.805/STS085: Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier

Harvard Law School: The Law of Cyberspace: Social Protocols

Fall 1998

The semester is now over. White papers are being posted on the Web as we receive permission from the teams to post them. This is a joint subject between MIT and Harvard, with half of the class drawn from each school. The class will consider the interaction between policy and technology, or more specifically, between law and various architectures of cyberspace. We will cover topics including free speech, privacy, copyright, and encryption. With each, a team of students (half from each school) will explore policy and technology issues raised by that topic. The bulk of the grade will be determined by work on a team project, culminating in an extended paper and a presentation to be given at a public conference on Sunday, December 6. Admission is by permission of instructor.

Current announcements and assignments

The most recent announcement was posted on Sun, 14 Feb 1999.

Information on team papers is now available. Look here.

Calendar and weekly readings: Schedule of meetings, topics, and assignments, and links to weekly readings.

General course information: Course organization, enrollment information, required work, and grading policy.

Class presentations: Notes from presentations made in class.

Collected readings and source material: This is an archive assembled for the MIT class from 1994 through 1997. Specific readings for fall 1998 are identified in the weekly assignments, but you may find this archive useful for general background.

Student papers: Exemplary papers by students in the MIT class in previous terms.

Related Courses: Information about other courses that deal with legal/ethical issues in cyberspace.

"There's a real question as to whether our current social structures can accommodate (the Internet). As this century closes and we enter the first computational millennium, one of the great conflicts in civilization will be the attempt to reorder society, culture and government in a manner that exploits this digital bonanza yet prevents it from running roughshod over the checks and balances so delicately constructed in those palmy pre-computer years."

-- Steven Levy (Newsweek Magazine, Feb. 27, 1995)

Hal Abelson (
Joanne Costello (
Mike Fischer (
Larry Lessig (
Jonathan Zittrain (