Harvard Law School Berkman Center for Internet & Society The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School

Berkman Center Website Privacy Policy

The Berkman Center is an academic institution engaged in experimental research, primarily related to online activity. As such, many students, fellows and other personnel may engage in active online research projects that collect information of various kinds from users. The Center is committed to respecting and protecting personal privacy. We are also committed to conducting our work in as open and transparent a process as possible. Almost all of our content is publicly accessible, including email addresses and other information supplied by participants in online forums. Those users who do not wish to expose any personal information should not provide it, or should consider using anonymizing services where possible.

Personal Information

The amount of personal information collected by the Berkman Center varies, depending on the particular project. A privacy policy that applies to any specific project will always supersede this general policy, so be sure to check whether a project has its own policy. A good example of this situation is our Blogs initiative, found at http://blogs.law.harvard.edu, which has its own Privacy Policy specific to information related to that project. Otherwise, the following is true in general: the Berkman Center collects and records information about you to perform research, improve usability of the site, and to administer mailing lists, online communities, events and conferences. Depending on the context, this information may include, but is not limited to, personal names, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, occupation, and payment information such as credit card or bank account numbers. We do not sell or rent your personal information to anyone. We may share your personal information with third parties for purposes of performing services on your behalf. These services include, but are not limited to, credit card verification, payment processing, and event planning.

Usage Data

When you browse, read or download information on our website, we only collect limited, anonymous data. For instance, our web server may record the numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer you are using; information about your browser and operating system; date and time of access; and the internet address and page which linked (referred) you to our site. If you search the site, your search requests may be logged. We use this information to measure the number of visitors to different sections of the site, diagnose and correct system errors, perform research, and improve the usability of the site


Some projects hosted by the Berkman Center use web cookies. Cookies are a mechanism by which a web server and a web browser can jointly “remember” information within or between browsing sessions. The web server sends a cookie containing some information to your browser, which may record it on your hard drive. When you next visit the website, that cookie is sent back to the web server. Cookies are useful because they can be used to improve the user experience. However, cookies have been subject to criticism because they can be used as a mechanism for invisibly gathering information about user’s browsing habits for marketing purposes.

The Berkman Center uses cookies to improve the user experience within the context of a single browser session. Cookies may contain a “key,” so that you do not need to login every time you visit a new page. Remember, if you are using a public computer, and you fail to log out or quit the browser after you finish your session, another person may be able to access your account.

Links to Independent Websites

Pages hosted by the Berkman website may link to independently-run web sites outside of the law.harvard.edu domain. Harvard is not responsible for the privacy practices or content of such web sites.

Disclosure of Information to Harvard University Administration and to Law Enforcement

Available log records, and all stored data may be accessed by our system administrators. The system administrators may produce these records and data to the Administrative Dean, Dean of Students, or the Administrative Board, upon request or suspected violation of our terms of use. It is Harvard’s policy to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the detection, investigation, and prosecution of unlawful activity. If we receive a warrant or subpoena for user information, we may disclose requested records to law enforcement authorities or outside parties seeking information through the legal process.

In the event that we are required by law (including a court order) to disclose the information you submit, we will provide you with notice (unless we are prohibited) that a request for your information has been made so that you may object to the disclosure. We will send this notice by email to the address you have given us. We prefer to independently object to over-broad requests for access to information about users of our site, but we cannot assure you that we will be able to do this in all cases. If you do not challenge the disclosure request yourself, we may be legally required to turn over your information.

Children’s Privacy

Berkman Center website content is intended for adults and we will not knowingly collect personal information from children under 13 years old. If you are a parent or legal guardian of a child under age 13 who you believe has submitted personal information to a site hosted by the Berkman Center, please contact us immediately.

Changes to this Policy

We retain the right to make changes, in our sole discretion, to this Privacy Policy. We will post any updated policies to the Berkman Center’s primary web site in an accessible place.

Contacting Us

If you have any questions about this privacy statement or the general terms of use of the site, you may contact us by email at director@cyber.law.harvard.edu or by post to:

Executive Director
Berkman Center for Internet & Society
23 Everett Street, Second Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138