Anonymity also allows Internet users to engage in interactions that mirror those in the real world. “Online, using pseudonyms is actually more like our ordinary face-to-face experience,” Judith S. Donath, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, wrote in Wired. “Face to face, we develop relationships in separate contexts — and the things we talk about, the jokes we make, the secrets we reveal — vary tremendously.”
The event was capped off with a talk by security expert Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and the chief technology officer at Co3 Systems.Schneier noted three trends he’s currently tracking. First, he said, we are losing control of our IT infrastructure. Second, cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. And third, he found that the increasing involvement of governments in cyberspace is blurring the lines between public and private data.“It used to be that our data was on our computers, under our control,” Schneier said. “But that is no longer true; our data is now on networks being run by Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.” Schneier said this lack of control, which also extends to our devices, has great security implications.
Some scholars said the program could spark a new paradigm in higher-education as schools figure out how to incorporate the Internet into the classroom.
“A shared course allows for interactions not possible within a single physical classroom…cultivating a healthy diversity of viewpoints,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard Law School professor who co-founded the school’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Jonathan Zittrain, law professor and co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, talks about body-worn cameras and how technology might change the relationship between police officers and communities.
It’s rare in the world of tech or politics when gurus go back and remind us of their early predictions and then admit how wrong they were. So Micah Sifry’s book, “The Big Disconnect: Why the Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet),“ is a refreshing read. In it, he looks back to 2004 and revisits all the exciting, optimistic things people were saying about how the Web would change politics. His big reveal: It just hasn’t happened.
Sifry was at the Harvard Berkman Center this week to talk about his book and give us a less euphoric, but still optimistic view of how technology and politics will support us in the future.
“The options for getting facts and personal information removed once it’s been posted online in the U.S. are fairly limited,” says Christopher T. Bavitz, managing director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School. “It’s very challenging to regulate the spread of this kind of information, but it’s challenging for very good reasons. The first good reason is the First Amendment.”