The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

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The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society is a research center at Harvard University that focuses on the study of cyberspace. Founded at Harvard Law School, the center traditionally focused on internet-related legal issues. On May 15, 2008, the center was elevated to an interfaculty initiative of Harvard University as a whole.[1] It is named after the Berkman family.[2] On July 5, 2016, the Center added "Klein" to its name following a gift of $15 million from Michael R. Klein.[3]

History and mission[edit | edit source]

The location at 23 Everett Street

The center was founded in 1996 as the "Center on Law and Technology" by Jonathan Zittrain and Professor Charles Nesson. This built on previous work including a 1994 seminar they held on legal issues involving the early Internet. Professor Arthur Miller and students David Marglin and Tom Smuts also worked on that seminar and related discussions. In 1997, the Berkman family underwrote the center, and Lawrence Lessig joined as the first Berkman professor. In 1998, the center changed its name to the "Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School."[4][5] Since then, it has grown from a small project within Harvard Law School to a major interdisciplinary center at Harvard University.[6] The Berkman Klein Center seeks to understand how the development of Internet-related technologies is inspired by the social context in which they are embedded and how the use of those technologies affects society in turn. It seeks to use the lessons drawn from this research to inform the design of Internet-related law and pioneer the development of the Internet itself.[7] The Berkman Klein Center sponsors Internet-related events and conferences, and hosts numerous visiting lecturers and research fellows.[8]

Research Sprints[edit | edit source]

In October 2020, the Center launched its first 'Research Sprint,' which was focused on the societal and ethical aspects of digital learning methods and technology precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis. As of December 2021, the Center has hosted or co-hosted three additional research sprints on various topics related to tech ethics and policy. The Research Sprint model developed by Berkman and its collaborators is a highly intensive 4 to 9 week period of seminars and workshops led by subject matter experts on an overarching thematic area of focus related to technology, ethics, and policymaking. In general, participants are early-career academics or practitioners who are tasked with working in small groups to develop outputs (e.g. white papers, data visualizations, policy playbooks) related to a set of questions or challenges.

On each of the sprint pages, you will find explanatory materials, links to external resources to explore, access to content and lectures created for sprint participants, and outputs produced by participants. Learners can explore it in sequence or just the modules that are most relevant (i.e. they are not entirely interdependent).

Research Sprint Topic(s) BKC Resources
Digital Ethics in Times of Crisis: COVID-19 & Access to Education and Learning Spaces Educational Technology
Digital Self-Determination Research Sprint Digital Self-Determination
BKC Clinic: Open Access Resources for AI in Schools Artificial Intelligence, Participatory Design
Alternative Data Futures: Cooperative Principles, Data Trusts, and the Digital Economy Platform Cooperatives

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bradt, Steve. "Harvard Gazette announcement of Berkman Center elevation to Harvard interfaculty initiative". Archived from the original on 2008-10-22. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  2. "Berkman Gift of $5.4 Million to Support Professorship for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies and Center for Internet & Society". Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  3. "Michael R. Klein LL.M. '67 supports future of cyberspace exploration and study - Harvard Law Today". Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  4. "Frequently Asked Questions". Berkman Klein Center FAQ. Berkman Klein Center. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  5. "Timeline". Berkman Klein Center Timeline. Berkman Klein Center. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. "Harvard's Berkman Center Launches Publius Project". May 19, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  7. "About Berkman Center". November 3, 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  8. "Berkman Center People: Fellows". Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved September 9, 2011.