The big Internet providers have little reason to upgrade their entire networks to fiber because there has so far been little pressure from competitors or regulators to do so, said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and author of “Captive Audience: Telecom Monopolies in the New Gilded Age.”There are signs of a growing movement for cities to build their own fiber networks and lease the fiber to retail Internet providers. Some, like San Antonio, already have fiber in place, but there are policies restricting them from using it to offer Internet services to consumers. Other cities, like Santa Monica, Calif., have been laying fiber during other construction projects.
“Mutually-assured destruction works,” said Justin Reich, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
While “constant, relatively low-grade probing, piracy and state-sponsored cyber-terrorism” will be the norm, no country will launch an all out assault, he said.
“We’ve been talking about the necessity of an Internet Bill of Rights for many years,” writes Rodotà in an email exchange with techPresident. As an example, he recalls the “institutional initiatives” by the 2005 UN World Summit on the Internet Society in Tunisia, the 2009 International Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro, and European Parliament in 2009. “The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard surveyed 87 declaration of rights from groups, associations and dynamic coalitions both in several countries and transnationally,” he explained.
“There are privacy concerns used to be an anonymous transaction now produces a data record,” said security technologist Bruce Schiener. Data could be shared with fusion centers, information sharing centers, or pieced together to reveal peoples’ daily routines.Privacy concerns around E-ZPass transponders aren’t new, but with the state’s new system, there will be a data trail around all cars at toll plazas, E-ZPass or no.“Removing the choice of privacy gives us fewer options to have privacy. It’s like making envelopes illegal and making us use postcards, or banning window shades,” said Schneier, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Bruce Schneier, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard who specializes in computer security and cryptography, says the most important thing a person can do is to agitate for political change, since it can eventually lead to legislative change. Of course, there are practical steps consumers should take to protect their data as well.
A basic premise of a democratic society gives its citizens rights to participate in debate and effect change by taking to the streets to demonstrate. In the U.S., this is enshrined in the Bill of Rights under the First Amendment.
But what happens when we all effectively live, work, shop, date, bank and get into political debates online? Because online, as Molly Sauter points out in her book The Coming Swarm, there are no streets on which to march. “Because of the densely intertwined nature of property and speech in the online space, unwelcome acts of collective protest become also acts of trespass.”
“The notion that it’s not a backdoor; it’s a front door — that’s just wordplay,” said Bruce Schneier, a computer security expert and fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. “It just makes no sense.”
In their new book, “The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance,” Stephen Goldsmith, the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government at Harvard Kennedy School HKS, and Susan Crawford, the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor in Intellectual Property at Harvard Law School HLS, offer a road map for managers who want to move beyond the traditional silos of urban government. By embracing the latest tools, like fiber connectivity and predictive data analytics, they posit, the city hall of the future could radically reshape how local government serves its citizens, improving both civic life and trust.
The study, authored by researcher Bruce Etling at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, is one of the first serious explorations of Russian, Ukrainian and English language social media content regarding the turmoil there over the last eleven months.
“Our general reading of newspapers and traditional media about the protests was that Russian speakers tended to disapprove [of the protests] and Ukrainian and English speakers tended to approve, and that would then just bleed into social media,” Etling said. “We wanted to see if that was what really happened.”
“The real risk here is the second-order effects,” Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said. “The Court may have established a perfectly reasonable test in this case. But then what happens if the Brazilians come along and say, ‘We want only search results that are consistent with our laws’? It becomes a contest about who can exert the most muscle on Google.” Search companies might decide to tailor their search results in order to offend the fewest countries, limiting all searches according to the rules of the most restrictive country. As Zittrain put it, “Then the convoy will move only as fast as the slowest ship.”