The Future of the Internet
In a moderated discussion hosted by Jonathan Zittrain, Berkman Directors and Faculty Leads will be invited to reflect on the central themes emerging from the previous days, with a particular focus on the Internet’s future. Participants will engage one another regarding the next “big thing” – anticipated developments, opportunities, emerging issues, and risks within their particular area of research or interest. Foundational to the discussion will be the future of the Internet's generativity, including innovative and creative outputs and participatory input (the opportunity to connect with other people, work with them, and express oneself). Concerns regarding security, invasions of privacy, and other emerging issues may threaten that generative infrastructure; what are the potential costs? What are the visionary solutions?
Your Questions for the Future of the Internet Panel!
Please visit the Discussion Page and add your questions to the panel for discussion during the the Future of the Internet session!
Questions will be added below.
- Palfrey points out that “technical filtering is problematic both for censors, who must choose either overbroad or under-inclusive filtering, and citizens, who face challenges to creativity and innovation and a reduction of free expression and privacy.” How should this balance be struck, and what makes that option better than the alternatives? If a ﬁltering regime cannot be implemented in an accurate manner, should it be undertaken at all?
- Ethan Zuckerman explains that Global Voices has attempted to address the problem of selective global attention by providing an outlet for news stories from underrepresented countries. However, Zuckerman states that they have not been as effective in setting the agenda in such a way that these stories receive widespread readership. Is this sort of “agenda setting” desirable, or does deliberately emphasizing stories that are underrepresented in mainstream media merely exacerbate the problem of the media telling individuals what stories they should care about? How can we determine whether the right amount of audience attention has been achieved?
- If we accept the premise that some government regulation of the content of the internet is necessary (for example, to prevent distribution of child pornography), to what extent should a country’s legal and regulatory restrictions track those that govern similar prohibited offline conduct? Does the global reach of the internet call for stricter regulatory standards than more traditional modes of communication in order to protect the larger population that will be exposed to the information, or do the challenges of enforcing national regulations in the context of a border-transcending medium like the internet imply that governments should only attempt to enforce minimally restrictive requirements?
- To what extent can intensely focused people multiply their voices online to actually shift a public agenda? Is involvement by the mainstream media essential, and if so, what role does it play?
- How do you tease apart rebellion rooted in social media from a larger national public movement driven by factors greater than social media?
- Do decentralized networks run the risk of dispersing organizers as opposed to facilitating their collective action?
- Where is the law on the topic of social media and the Arab Spring? Equality sits at the core of social media and the Internet and so why is that the United States, which is founded on this notion of equality, seems to have so little to offer on how to structure democratic government after the rebellion?
- As the Internet and technologies increasingly blur physical boundaries, how should we address national differences in privacy law?
- For Prof. Burkert: How do economics and concerns about the market inform the conversation about privacy? Do cost-based concerns about data protection regulation get much traction (as they do in the US).
- What (if any) is the relationship between the strong, protection-of-personality privacy law that has arisen in Germany and the more limited use of e-commerce and social media in Germany than in the US? More generally, how and why have attitudes toward privacy developed differently in Germany and the US?
- Given the economic implications of privacy regulation for e-commerce, how should regulators and policymakers be thinking about the policy process around privacy?
Interesting Unanswered Questions from Twitter, the Question Tool, etc
Questions Discussion Page on any topic (including those that weren't covered)
- What is the next field for explosive growth or progress in the Internet?
- What kind of feasible projects should the Berkman Center, or students, take on next?
- What is the future of relatively closed and tethered platforms such as the iPhone? Could that model ultimately prevail?
- What is the current state of the software patent prosecution and litigation fields right now? What do you think needs to change? And, should we be worried about patent claims that cover "Method of exercising a cat" with a laser?
- How do we integrate power into our understanding of networked society? What are the limits of public action, and what are the limits of decentralized action, given power in the market, the state, real-world society and the network?