Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

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.[2] It is named after the Berkman family.[3] On July 5, 2016, the Center added "Klein" to its name following a gift of $15 million from Michael R. Klein.[4]

Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
BKC Ltd Horz RGB
MottoExploring cyberspace, sharing in its study & pioneering its development.
TypeTechnology research center

History and mission

Berkman Center
The location at 23 Everett Street

The center was founded in 1996 as the "Center on Law and Technology" by professors Jonathan Zittrain and 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".[5][6][1] Since then, it has grown from a small project within Harvard Law School to a major interdisciplinary center at Harvard University.[7] 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.[8] The Berkman Klein Center sponsors Internet-related events and conferences, and hosts numerous visiting lecturers and research fellows.[9]

Members of the center teach, write books, scientific articles, weblogs with RSS 2.0 feeds (for which the Center holds the specification[10]), and podcasts (of which the first series took place at the Berkman Klein Center). Its newsletter, The Buzz, is on the Web and available by e-mail, and it hosts a blog community of Harvard faculty, students, and Berkman Klein Center affiliates.[11]

The Berkman Klein Center faculty and staff have also conducted major public policy reviews of pressing issues. In 2008, John Palfrey led a review of child safety online called the Internet Safety Technical Task Force.[12] In 2009, Yochai Benkler led a review of United States broadband policy.[13] In 2010, Urs Gasser, along with Palfrey and others, led a review of Internet governance body ICANN, focusing on transparency, accountability, and public participation.[14]

Projects and initiatives

The Berkman Klein Center's main research topics are Teens and Media, Monitoring, Privacy, Digital art, Internet Governance, Cloud Computing and Internet censorship. The Berkman Klein Center supports events, presentations, and conferences about the Internet and invites scientists to share their ideas.

Digital Media Law Project

The Digital Media Law Project (DMLP) was a project hosted by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. It had previously been known as the Citizen Media Law Project. The purposes of the DMLP were:

  1. To provide resources and other assistance, including legal assistance[15] as of 2009,[16] to individuals and groups involved in online and citizen media.
  2. To "ensur[e] that online journalists, media organizations, and their sources are allowed to examine and debate network security and data protection vulnerabilities without criminal punishment, in order to inform citizens and lawmakers about networked computer security."[15]
  3. To facilitate the participation of citizens in online media.
  4. To protect the freedom of speech on the Internet.[17][18]

In 2014, Berkman Klein Center announced that it would "spin off its most effective initiatives and cease operation as a stand-alone project within the Berkman Klein Center."[16]

Internet and Democracy Project

The Berkman Klein Center operated the now-completed Internet and Democracy Project, which describes itself as an:

initiative that will examine how the Internet influences democratic norms and modes, including its impact on civil society, citizen media, government transparency, and the rule of law, with a focus on the Middle East. Through a grant of $1.5 million from the US Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative, the Berkman Center will undertake the study over the next two years in collaboration with its extended community and institutional partners. As with all its projects, the Berkman Center retains complete independence in its research and other efforts under this grant.

The goal of this work is to support the rights of citizens to access, develop and share independent sources of information, to advocate responsibly, to strengthen online networks, and to debate ideas freely with both civil society and government. These subjects will be examined through a series of case studies in which new technologies and online resources have influenced democracy and civic engagement. The project will include original research and the identification and development of innovative web-based tools that support the goals of the project. The team, led by Project Director Bruce Etling, will draw on communities from around the world, with a focus on the Middle East.[19]


In 2006, the Center established the non-profit organization StopBadware, aiming to stop viruses, spyware, and other threats to the open Internet, in partnership with the Oxford Internet Institute, Google, Lenovo and Sun Microsystems.[20] In 2010, StopBadware became an independent entity supported by Google, PayPal, and Mozilla.[21]

Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America is a project aimed at making a large-scale digital public library accessible to all.


Fellows include or have included John Perry Barlow, danah boyd, John Clippinger, Tamar Frankel, Benjamin Mako Hill, Reynol Junco, Rebecca MacKinnon, James F. Moore, Mayo Fuster Morell, Doc Searls, Amber Case, Wendy Seltzer, Peter Suber, Jimmy Wales, David Weinberger, Dave Winer, Yasodara Cordova and Ethan Zuckerman.

Faculty include Yochai Benkler, William "Terry" Fisher, Urs Gasser, Lawrence Lessig, Charles Nesson, John Palfrey, and Jonathan Zittrain.

The center also has active groups of faculty associates, affiliates[22] and alumni[23] who host and participate in their projects each year.

See also


  1. ^ a b Swartz, Jon (10 June 2008). "Berkman Center pioneers steer the course of cyberspace". USA Today. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Berkman Gift of $5.4 Million to Support Professorship for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies and Center for Internet & Society". Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Michael R. Klein LL.M. '67 supports future of cyberspace exploration and study - Harvard Law Today". Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Berkman Klein Center FAQ. Berkman Klein Center. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "Timeline". Berkman Klein Center Timeline. Berkman Klein Center. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Harvard's Berkman Center Launches Publius Project". May 19, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  8. ^ "About Berkman Center". November 3, 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  9. ^ "Berkman Center People: Fellows". Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  10. ^ "Advisory Board Notes". RSS Advisory Board. July 18, 2003. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
  11. ^ Az internet természete - Google Books. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  12. ^ "Harvard, MySpace spearhead Internet safety task force". Ars Technica. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  13. ^ Yochai Benkler (March 20, 2010). "Ending the Internet's Trench Warfare". New York Times Op-Ed.
  14. ^ "Accountability and Transparency Review Team – Selection of Independent Expert and Update on ATRT Review". Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  15. ^ a b Walsh, Kit; Hermes, Jeffrey P.; Sellars, Andrew F. (2013-07-08). "Brief of Amicus Curiae Digital Media Law Project in Support of Defendant-Appellant [Andrew Auernheimer]". Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  16. ^ a b Benton, Joshua (2014-06-25). "The Digital Media Law Project is shutting down, but its most important projects will find new homes". Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  17. ^ Anderson, R.; Warne, C. (2014). "Digital Media Law Project". Encyclopedia of social media and politics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 4: 398–399. doi:10.4135/9781452244723.n158.
  18. ^ "Digital Media Law Project". Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  19. ^ "Internet and Democracy - Berkman Center". Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  20. ^ Mohammed, Arshad (25 January 2006). "Internet Coalition Sets Up Anti-'Badware' Site". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  21. ^ Miller, Mary Helen (28 January 2010). "StopBadware Spins Off From Harvard U. to Be a Stand-Alone Nonprofit Group". The Chronicle of HIgher Education. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  22. ^ "People". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  23. ^ "People". Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 29 October 2015.

External links

Coordinates: 42°22′46″N 71°07′10″W / 42.37955°N 71.11957°W


BKC may refer to:

Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline

The Bandra-Kurla complex in Mumbai, India

Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

BlitzkriegCommander, a tabletop wargame

Buckland Airport (IATA: BKC), an airport in Alaska

Burger King, whose NYSE stock symbol was formerly BKC

Esra'a Al Shafei

Esra'a Al Shafei is a Bahraini civil rights activist, blogger, and the founder and executive director of Majal (Mideast Youth) and its related projects, including Al Shafei is a senior TED Fellow, an Echoing Green fellow, and has been referred to by CNN reporter George Webster as "An outspoken defender of free speech". She has been featured in Fast Company magazine as one of the "100 Most Creative People in Business." In 2011, The Daily Beast listed Al Shafei as one of the 17 bravest bloggers worldwide. She is also a promoter of music as a means of social change, and founded Mideast Tunes, which is currently the largest platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa.Al Shafei is a recipient of the Berkman Award for Internet Innovation from Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2008 for "outstanding contributions to the internet and its impact on society." In 2012, she received a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship for her work on the open source platform She is also the recipient of the Monaco Media Prize, which acknowledges innovative uses of media for the betterment of humanity. In 2014, she was featured in Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" list of social entrepreneurs making an impact in the world. The World Economic Forum listed her as one of "15 Women Changing the World in 2015."

That same year, she won the "Most Courageous Media" Prize from Free Press Unlimited. Al Shafei was selected as a 2017 Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. In 2018 she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.Al Shafei was a keynote speaker at Wikimania 2017. In December of the same year, she was appointed to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.

Eszter Hargittai

Eszter Hargittai (born 1973 in Budapest, Hungary) is a communication studies scholar and Professor at the University of Zurich. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Smith College and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University where she was a Wilson Scholar.

Before moving to Zurich, she was Delaney Family Professor of Communication Studies and Faculty Associate of the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) at Northwestern University where she is still affiliated as Adjunct Professor and Fellow at IPR.

She was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford (2006–07), a fellow at the Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin (2007), and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society (2008-09) where she is now on the Faculty Advisory Board.

She is a member of the group blog Crooked Timber (since 2003).Her research focuses on the social and policy implications of information technologies with a particular interest in how IT may contribute to or alleviate social inequalities. She has studied the differences in people's Web-use skills, the evolution of search engines and the organization and presentation of online content, political uses of information technologies, how IT are influencing the types of cultural products people consume, and geocaching.

Her work is regularly featured in the media. She was interviewed about the Internet and its social implications on CNNfn's The Flip Side on April 29, 2004. Her work on the international spread of the Internet was referenced by Wired News

and cited in a United States Senate hearing. Other coverage includes BBC News

as well as

the Chicago Tribune

the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and

several other publications.

Global Network Initiative

The Global Network Initiative (GNI) is a non-governmental organization with the dual goals of preventing Internet censorship by authoritarian governments and protecting the Internet privacy rights of individuals. It is sponsored by a coalition of multinational corporations, non-profit organizations, and universities.

Jeffrey Schnapp

Until joining the Harvard University faculty in 2011, Jeffrey Schnapp was the director of the Stanford Humanities Lab from its foundation in 1999 through 2009. At Stanford University he occupied the Pierotti Chair in Italian Literature and was professor of French & Italian, Comparative Literature, and German Studies. Though primarily based in the field of Italian studies, he has played a pioneering role in several areas of transdisciplinary research and led the development of a new wave of digital humanities work. His research interests extend from antiquity to the present, encompassing the material history of literature, the history of 20th-century architecture and design, and the cultural history of science and engineering. Trained as a Romance linguist, Schnapp is the author or editor of twenty five books and a large corpus of essays on authors such as Virgil, Dante, Hildegard of Bingen, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and on topics such as late antique patchwork poetry, futurist and dadaist visual poetics, the cultural history of coffee consumption, glass architecture, and the iconography of the pipe in modern art. His book Crowds was the recipient of the Modernist Studies Association prize for best book of 2006.

At Harvard, he is the Carl Pescosolido Professor of Romance and Comparative Literatures, teaches on the faculty of the Department of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design, and serves as faculty co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. He is the founder/faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard: an "idea foundry, knowledge design laboratory, and production studio" founded in early 2011.

Schnapp was the co-editor of the Johns Hopkins University Press quarterly Modernism/modernity, the official journal of the Modernist Studies Association, up through the end of 2014. He is also a guest curator who has collaborated with several leading museums: among them, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Cantor Arts Center, the Wolfsonian-FIU, the Triennale di Milano, and the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio. His Trento Tunnels project — a 6000 sq. meter pair of superhighway tunnels at the entrance to the Northern Italian city of Trent, repurposed as an experimental history museum, has undergone several editions since 2008: among them, "I Trentini e la Grande Guerra (Il popolo scomparso/la sua storia ritrovata)" (2008-2009), "Storicamente ABC" (2010-2011), and "Ski Past" (2012). "Panorama of the Cold War," carried out with Elisabetta Terragni (Studio Terragni Architetti) and Daniele Ledda (XY comm), was exhibited in the Albanian Pavilion of the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture and in Erasmus Effect – Architetti italiani all’estero / Italian Architects Abroad at the MAXXI (Dec. 2013-April 2014). He also served as exhibition project consultant for BZ ’18-’45, a documentation center built under Marcello Piacentini’s Bolzano Victory Monument open to the public since July 2014.Effective June 2015, he assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Piaggio Fast Forward, a Cambridge-based company devoted to developing innovative solutions to the transportation challenges of the contemporary world. Piaggio Fast Forward is a subsidiary of the Milan-based Piaggio Group, known throughout the world for iconic vehicles like the Vespa and iconic brands like Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. Piaggio Fast Forward’s first generation of robotic vehicles has received extensive worldwide coverage on radio and television, including in forums such as the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Wired, TechCrunch, Gizmodo, CNN Tech, SlashGear, Dezeen, and Endgadget.

John Perry Barlow

John Perry Barlow (October 3, 1947 – February 7, 2018) was an American poet and essayist, a cattle rancher, and a cyberlibertarian political activist who had been associated with both the Democratic and Republican parties. He was also a lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He was Fellow Emeritus at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, where he had maintained an affiliation since 1998.

Jonathan Zittrain

Jonathan L. Zittrain (born 24 December 1969) is an American professor of Internet law and the George Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School. He is also a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, a professor of computer science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and co-founder and director of Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Previously, Zittrain was Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute of the University of Oxford and visiting professor at the New York University School of Law and Stanford Law School. He is the author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, as well as co-editor of the books, Access Denied (MIT Press, 2008), Access Controlled (MIT Press, 2010), and Access Contested (MIT Press, 2011).

Zittrain works in several intersections of the Internet with law and policy including intellectual property, censorship and filtering for content control, and computer security. He founded a project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society that develops classroom tools. In 2001 he helped found Chilling Effects, a collaborative archive created by Wendy Seltzer to protect lawful online activity from legal threats. He also served as vice dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard.

Lumen (website)

Lumen, formerly Chilling Effects, is a collaborative archive created by Wendy Seltzer and founded along with several law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to protect lawful online activity from legal threats. Lumen is a "project" of the Berkman Klein Center. Its website, Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, allows recipients of cease-and-desist notices to submit them to the site and receive information about their legal rights and responsibilities.

Majal (organization)

Majal is a regional not-for-profit organization focused on amplifying voices of dissent throughout the Middle East and North Africa via digital media. Founded in Bahrain, the organization "creates platforms and web applications that promote freedom of expression and social justice."The network's activity is driven by the passion for civil engagement, freedom of speech, tolerance, supporting religious and ethnic minorities, raising awareness, and employing innovative solutions to these pervasive and persistent problems due to censored media, thus breaking the boundaries between the MENA nations and giving room for critical free thinking and exchange of information between people via the internet, connecting them to one another.

Majal, which relies on open source platforms, like WordPress and Ruby on Rails, was launched in 2006 by Esra'a Al Shafei as a simple group-blogging idea. However, it has changed course to focus on the development of unique applications and tools.The platforms have a growing amount of media coverage worldwide.

Nieman Fellowship

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard awards multiple types of fellowships.


Openlaw is a project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School aimed at releasing case arguments under a copyleft license, in order to encourage public suggestions for improvement.

Berkman lawyers specialise in cyberlaw—hacking, copyright, encryption and so on—and the centre has strong ties with the EFF and the open source software community.

In 1998 faculty member Lawrence Lessig, now at Stanford Law School, was asked by online publisher Eldritch Press to mount a legal challenge to US copyright law. Eldritch takes books whose copyright has expired and publishes them on the Web,

but legislation called the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act extended copyright from 50 to 70 years after the author's death, cutting off its supply of new material.

Lessig invited law students at Harvard and elsewhere to help craft legal arguments challenging the new law on an online forum, which evolved into Open Law.

Normal law firms write arguments the way commercial software companies write code. Lawyers discuss a case behind closed doors, and although their final product is released in court, the discussions or "source code" that produced it remain secret. In contrast, Open Law crafts its arguments in public and releases them under a copyleft. "We deliberately used free software as a model," said Wendy Seltzer, who took over Open Law when Lessig moved to Stanford. Around 50 legal scholars worked on Eldritch's case, and Open Law has taken other cases, too.

"The gains are much the same as for software," Seltzer says. "Hundreds of people scrutinise the 'code' for bugs, and make suggestions how to fix it. And people will take underdeveloped parts of the argument, work on them, then patch them in." Armed with arguments crafted in this way, OpenLaw took Eldritch's case—deemed unwinnable at the outset—right through the system to the Supreme Court. The case, Eldred v. Ashcroft, lost in 2003.

Among the drawbacks to this approach: the arguments are made in public from the start, so OpenLaw can't spring a surprise in court. Nor can it take on cases where confidentiality is important. But where there's a strong public interest element, open sourcing has big advantages. Citizens' rights groups, for example, have taken parts of Open Law's legal arguments and used them elsewhere. "People use them on letters to Congress, or put them on flyers," Seltzer says.

Oxford Internet Institute

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) is a multi-disciplinary department of social and computer science dedicated to the study of information, communication, and technology, and is part of the Social Sciences Division of the University of Oxford, England. It is housed over three sites on St Giles in Oxford, including a primary site at 1 St Giles, owned by Balliol College. The department undertakes research and teaching devoted to understanding life online, with the aim of shaping Internet research, policy, and practice.

Founded in 2001, the OII has tracked the Internet's development and use, aiming to shed light on individual, collective and institutional behaviour online. The department brings together academics from a wide range of disciplines including political science, sociology, geography, economics, philosophy, physics and psychology.

Professor William H. Dutton served as Director of the OII from 2001 to 2011. Professor Helen Margetts occupied the Directorship between 2011 and 2018. The current director is Professor Philip N. Howard.

Peter Suber

Peter Dain Suber (born November 8, 1951) is a philosopher specializing in the philosophy of law and open access to knowledge. He is a Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, and Director of the Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP). Suber is known as a leading voice in the open access movement, and as the creator of the game Nomic.

Quentin Palfrey

Quentin Palfrey (born April 29, 1974) is an American lawyer, policymaker, and political candidate. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) North America and is the Co-Director of the Global Access in Action project at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.During President Obama’s first term, Palfrey worked as Senior Advisor for Jobs & Competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In that role, he served as lead policy staffer on reform efforts and also coordinated White House input into a report to Congress on the national strategy for innovation and competitiveness. He has written and spoken widely on innovation, poverty, and evidence-based policy.Palfrey was the Democratic candidate in the 2018 Massachusetts election for Lieutenant Governor, running with gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez against the incumbents, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito of the Republican Party. The Baker/Polito ticket won the November general election by a margin of 1,781,341 votes to 885,770 cast for the Democrats.

Reynol Junco

Reynol ("Rey") Junco is an American psychologist and education and social media researcher. He is known for his pioneering work on using social technologies in higher education. He is a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

Sasha Costanza-Chock

Sasha Costanza-Chock is a communications scholar, participatory designer, and activist. They are Associate Professor of Civic Media at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Faculty Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Costanza-Chock is author of numerous publications about information and communication technologies and social movements, including the book Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets! Transmedia Organizing and the Immigrant Rights Movement. Costanza-Chock is regularly cited in print and web media as an academic expert on issues involving media and activism.


Sealioning (also spelled sea-lioning and sea lioning) is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility. It may take the form of "incessant, bad-faith invitations to engage in debate." The troll pretends ignorance and feigns politeness, so that if the target is provoked into making an angry response, the troll can then act as the aggrieved party. Sealioning can be performed by a single troll or by multiple ones acting in concert. The technique of sealioning has been compared to the Gish gallop and metaphorically described as a denial-of-service attack targeted at human beings.

Tressie McMillan Cottom

Tressie McMillan Cottom is an American writer, sociologist, and professor. She is currently an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and a faculty associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. McMillan Cottom is the author of Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy and Thick: And Other Essays, a co-editor of For-Profit Universities and Digital Sociologies, and an essayist whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. She is frequently quoted in print and television media as an academic expert in inequality and American higher education.

Yochai Benkler

Yochai Benkler (born 1964) is an Israeli-American author and the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He is also a faculty co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.

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