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Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Coordinates: 42°22′46″N 71°07′10″W / 42.37955°N 71.11957°W / 42.37955; -71.11957
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
Formation1998; 26 years ago (1998)[1]
TypeTechnology research center

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]

History and mission

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 was 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.[clarification needed] 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.[clarification needed][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.



Lumen, formerly Chilling Effects, is a collaborative archive created by Wendy Seltzer that allows recipients of cease-and-desist notices to submit them to the site and receive information about their legal rights and responsibilities.[15]

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[16] as of 2009,[17] to individuals and groups involved in online and citizen media.
  2. To ensure "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."[16]
  3. To facilitate the participation of citizens in online media.
  4. To protect the freedom of speech on the Internet.[18][19]

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."[17]

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.[20]



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.[21] In 2010, StopBadware became an independent entity supported by Google, PayPal, and Mozilla.[22]

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.[23]

Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence


In 2017, the BKC received a $27M grant with the MIT Media Lab to "advance artificial intelligence research for the public good"[24] and "to ensure automation and machine learning are researched, developed, and deployed in a way which vindicates social values of fairness, human autonomy, and justice."[25]



Fellows include or have included:

Faculty include:

The center also has active groups of faculty associates, affiliates[26] and alumni[27] 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. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
  2. ^ Bradt, Steve. "Harvard Gazette announcement of Berkman Center elevation to Harvard interfaculty initiative". News.harvard.edu. 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". harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 20 January 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Michael R. Klein LL.M. '67 supports future of cyberspace exploration and study - Harvard Law Today". Archived from the original on 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Berkman Klein Center FAQ. Berkman Klein Center. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "Timeline". Berkman Klein Center Timeline. Berkman Klein Center. Archived from the original on October 2, 2016. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  7. ^ "Harvard's Berkman Center Launches Publius Project". Schoollibraryjournal.com. May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on March 28, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  8. ^ "About Berkman Center". November 3, 2008. Archived from the original on April 27, 2011. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  9. ^ "Berkman Center People: Fellows". Cyber.law.harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  10. ^ "Advisory Board Notes". RSS Advisory Board. July 18, 2003. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2007.
  11. ^ László, Ropolyi (2006). Az internet természete - Google Books. Typotex Kft. ISBN 9789639664234. Archived from the original on July 27, 2020. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  12. ^ "Harvard, MySpace spearhead Internet safety task force". Ars Technica. 29 February 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  13. ^ Yochai Benkler (March 20, 2010). "Ending the Internet's Trench Warfare". New York Times Op-Ed. Archived from the original on March 24, 2017. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "Accountability and Transparency Review Team – Selection of Independent Expert and Update on ATRT Review". icann.org. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  15. ^ "About :: Lumen". www.lumendatabase.org. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  16. ^ 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]". EFF.org. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  17. ^ a b Benton, Joshua (2014-06-25). "The Digital Media Law Project is shutting down, but its most important projects will find new homes". NiemanLab.org. Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  18. ^ Anderson, R.; Warne, C. (2014). "Digital Media Law Project". Encyclopedia of Social Media and Politics. 4. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.: 398–399. doi:10.4135/9781452244723.n158. ISBN 9781452244716.
  19. ^ "Digital Media Law Project". Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  20. ^ "Internet and Democracy - Berkman Center". harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  21. ^ Mohammed, Arshad (25 January 2006). "Internet Coalition Sets Up Anti-'Badware' Site". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  22. ^ Miller, Mary Helen (28 January 2010). "StopBadware Spins Off From Harvard U. to Be a Stand-Alone Nonprofit Group". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on 4 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  23. ^ "About Us". Digital Public Library of America. Archived from the original on 2021-04-16. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  24. ^ "MIT Media Lab to participate in $27 million initiative on AI ethics and governance". MIT News. 10 January 2017. Archived from the original on 2019-12-22. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  25. ^ Williams, Oliver. "Why Tech Billionaires Are Spending To Restrain Artificial Intelligence". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2019-12-21. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  26. ^ "People". harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  27. ^ "People". harvard.edu. Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 29 October 2015.

42°22′46″N 71°07′10″W / 42.37955°N 71.11957°W / 42.37955; -71.11957