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Posts filed under 'Zittrain and Lessig'

Radio Berkman 175: Lessig and Zittrain Take On…the Kill Switch

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg

In recent months citizens of the Middle East and North Africa have experienced widespread shutdowns of internet access, coinciding with revolutions to overthrow national leadership. The seeming ease with which the Internet has been silenced in Libya, Egypt, and other countries has raised questions about ethical issues behind an Internet “Kill Switch,” the idea of a single point of access by which any nation’s leadership could shutdown their internet access.

In the United States, debate over so-called “Kill Switch” legislation has focused on the free speech aspect. If it were technologically possible to shutdown internet access singlehandedly who is to say that power wouldn’t be exploited as it has been abroad?

But on the other side of the coin is the question of cyber security. With so much commerce, communication, and security dependent on a loose and non-standardized network infrastructure, it could actually make sense to have an easy way to quarantine a bug or massive cyber attack.

Today, hosts Lawrence Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain are joined by Andrew McLaughlin — a former Berkman Fellow and White House Deputy Chief Technology Office — and Brett Solomon — Executive Director of Access, a global movement promoting digital freedom. Together with an audience Lessig and Zittrain take on the Kill Switch.

What are your thoughts? Any compliments or criticisms? What topic would you like to see Jonathan and Larry take on next month? Share your ideas with us in the comments, or drop us a tweet. (more…)

3 comments March 16th, 2011

Taking Questions for Zittrain & Lessig on…Killswitches!!

In its first season Jonathan Zittrain & Lawrence Lessig took on Wikileaks, Competition, Net Neutrality, and Corruption.

To kick off a new season, Jonathan and Larry take on the Killswitch.

As ubiquitous and disparate as the internet seems, events from Burma to the Middle East have shown that web services can actually be suspended if the influence is strong enough. In the United States a bill is making its way through Congress that would give the White House the authority to effectively shut down the web under certain circumstances. The recent situation in Egypt and the progress of the US bill have raised a few questions: What kinds of impacts would an Internet killswitch have on civil liberties, on business, and on the health of the net? Is stopping the Internet even possible? Could an Internet killswitch even be a good idea?

Zittrain and Lessig will be joined by Andrew McLaughlin, Berkman alum and former Deputy CTO for the White House, and take questions from the audience.

Want to get your question in? Leave it here in the comments or submit it to us on Twitter @radioberkman!
Image CC-licensed by notionscapital

February 18th, 2011

Radio Berkman 171: Wikileaks and the Information Wars

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Our emails have been dinging off the hook here at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, with notes from journalists and concerned citizens trying to make some sense of the story-in-progress that is Wikileaks.

So today we pull together some of the brightest minds at the Berkman Center to talk about Wikileaks, with Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig moderating.

Zittrain, Lessig, and the Berkman Center Fellows explore many facets surrounding the Wikileaks imbroglio, including the values of transparency and freedom of speech; the legality and ethics of the Wikileaks data dump; the role of the news media; and the involvement of government and private tech organizations to take Wikileaks down.

Thanks so much to all the journalists, commenters, and tweeters who sent in their questions. See some additional resources below, including a full transcript for download.

10 comments December 8th, 2010

Now taking your WikiLeaks questions

Next week Larry Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain will moderate a discussion with some of the brightest minds at the Berkman Center to talk about the latest WikiLeaks release.

Our phone has been ringing off the hook with questions about WikiLeaks. Questions about the top secret diplomatic cables; the Amazon takedown; media complicity; the surrounding issues of transparency; and about Julian Assange, the man behind the project.

And there has been no shortage of opinions from fine folks within and outside the Berkman community.

We want to make this conversation as interesting and full of answers as possible.

PLEASE share any questions or comments you’re interested in hearing us respond to in the comments below, or via tweet to @radioberkman.

We’ll release this as a podcast shortly after.


11 comments December 3rd, 2010

Radio Berkman 170: Jonathan & Larry Take On…Corruption!!

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With the November elections behind us here in the US Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig take on the issue of money in politics, and investigate how campaign contributions sway candidates for office and influence policy.

In the face of a campaign finance system struggling to find a more ethical framework, Larry suggests a new basis for citizen funded elections, Democracy Vouchers. Jonathan inquires as to what a Democracy Voucher is and just how the heck such a system would work.

What are your thoughts? Any compliments or criticisms? What topic would you like to see Jonathan and Larry take on next month? Share your ideas with us in the comments, or drop us a tweet. (more…)

1 comment December 2nd, 2010

Radio Berkman 165: Jonathan & Larry TAKE ON… Net Neutrality!

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg

Net Neutrality.

What started out as a high level policy debate among internet service providers and telecommunications geeks has since blossomed into an all out war, with battle lines ostensibly drawn between those who value free expression and innovation on one side, and free market advocates on another.

The idea is that ISPs should not be allowed discriminate between any kind of content that comes over the wires to your home. The implication is that some regulator needs to step in to make sure this idea is enforced.

But as with any contentious debate there are subtleties, complications, and hints that the discussion should be steered in a completely different direction. And few have a better acuity for the nuances of such a geeky topic than Jonathan Zittrain and Larry Lessig.

Everything you wanted to know about net neutrality but were afraid to ask, in this month’s segment of Jonathan & Larry TAKE ON…!

Compliments or criticisms? What topic would you like to see Jonathan and Larry take on next month? Share your ideas with us in the comments, or drop us a tweet. (more…)

11 comments October 15th, 2010

Radio Berkman 162: Lessig & Zittrain Take On… Competition

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg
The year was 1998. Cher’s autotune anthem Believe was one of the year’s biggest hits, Titanic had swept the Oscars, and in some sterile software campus in the Northwest, Bill Gates was rehearsing a deposition.

It’s been over 12 years since Gates’ and Microsoft’s anti-trust battle with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission first hit the courts. It is still seen as a watershed for the management of technology companies in the dot com age.

But in the dozen years that have passed, people are still speculating whether the anti-trust case against Microsoft made any difference, and whether the software and technology companies of today are engaging in anti-competitive practices similar to or more risky than the ones that got Microsoft in trouble.

Who are the Microsofts of today? Facebook? Apple? Google? And how do we manage competition in the digital age?

Today, two of the leading minds on the internet and law, Jonathan Zittrain and Larry Lessig, take on competition.

This is just the pilot of a new monthly feature we hope to have with Jonathan and Larry. Any thoughts on the show? Compliments or criticisms? Share them with us in the comments. We’re also looking for a name for this series. If you have any brilliant ideas drop us a comment!

BONUS CONTENT: There was too much audio to fit into this one episode. If you’re eager for some more perspectives on competition in the digital age, give these pieces a shot.

• I Am Not A Lawyer: Producers Daniel Jones and Molly Sauter are joined by a number of experts from the field for some background on the competition issue, including Ken Auletta, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Gary Reback, Phil Malone, and Brian Chen. Listen.
• Uncut audio of our interviews:

Ken Auletta
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Gary Reback
Phil Malone
Brian Chen
Greg Hughes


11 comments September 9th, 2010



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